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Table of Content
    Volume 24 Issue 8
    20 August 2016

    Huangshan, a high mountain in eastern China, lies in the transitional zone of north-south flora. It is considered as a refuge of flora and fauna during the Quaternary maximum glaciation. Ding et al (see pages 875–887 of this issue) analyzed the community characteristics of a 10.24-ha of Huangshan forest dynamics plot established in 2014 based on the first field survey. The picture shows the inflorescences of Castanopsis eyrei, a constructive species in the plot. (Photographed by

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    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (8):  0-0. 
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    Orginal Article
    Taxonomic and phylogenetic α and β diversities of major subtropical forest community types in Zhejiang Province
    Yuexia Wang, Yi Jin, Chuping Wu, Dongming Wong, Lixing Ye, Deliang Chen, Jianping Yu, Jinliang Liu, Lei Zhong, Mingjian Yu
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (8):  863-874.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016114
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    Knowledge of taxonomic and phylogenetic α and β diversities of different forest types is critical to improving our understanding of forests and their structure, which can guide forest management and biodiversity conservation. In this study, we investigated the taxonomic and phylogenetic α (Shannon-Wiener index and PSV (phylogenetic species variability) diversity, respectively) and β (Chao’s index and PCDp (phylogenetic community dissimilarity among nonshared species) diversity, respectively) diversities of four main forest types, including evergreen broad-leaved forest (EBLF), evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved mixed forest (EDBLF), deciduous broad-leaved forest (DBLF), and coniferous and broad-leaved mixed forest (CBLF) in Zhejiang Province. α diversity represents biodiversity within a single forest plot; β diversity is divided into two levels. One is the β diversity between forest plots within a single forest type (intra-forest type β diversity), and the other the β diversity between forest plots from different forest types (inter-forest type β diversity). We found that the taxonomic and phylogenetic α diversities differed among forest types. However, when the geographical and topographical variables were taken into account, these differences largely disappeared. We also found the intra- and inter-forest type β diversities greatly differed, and the overall intra-forest type β diversity was lower than inter-forest type β diversity, regardless of whether geographical and topographical variables were controlled. These results suggest the controlling factors of taxonomic and phylogenetic α and β diversities differ in the studied subtropical forest types. Geographical and topographical variables may play critical roles in influencing forest taxonomic and phylogenetic α diversities, whereas forest type is largely responsible for forest taxonomic and phylogenetic β diversities.

    Community characteristics of a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest in Huangshan, Anhui Province, East China
    Hui Ding, Yanming Fang, Xinhu Yang, Fayin Yuan, Liheng He, Jianfei Yao, Jun Wu, Bin Chi, Yao Li, Shuifei Chen, Tingting Chen, Haigen Xu
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (8):  875-887.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016108
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    Located in the subtropical monsoon climate zone, Huangshan is one of the high mountains in eastern China and lies in the transition zone of north-south flora. It is considered a refuge of flora and fauna during the Quaternary maximum glaciation. Zonal vegetation is classified as evergreen broad-leaved forest with a vertical distribution pattern. It is not only one of China’s Biodiversity Conservation Priority Areas, but also one of the World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites and a world famous scenic spot. In 2014, we established a large-scale forest dynamics plot with an area of 10.24 ha in Huangshan based on international protocols (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Center for Tropical Forest Science, CTFS) and completed the first field survey. The investigation aimed at revealing community characteristics by analyzing species composition, flora characteristics, diameter class structure, and spatial distribution patterns. We recorded 191 species of vascular plants, belonging to 59 families and 129 genera, in the plot. Among these, trees (DBH ≥ 1 cm) belonged to 46 families, 97 genera and 153 species. The number of family and genera with tropical distributions accounted for 65.79% and 45.36% of the total taxa, respectively, while those with temperate distributions accounted for 34.21% and 51.55%, respectively. A number of rare and endangered species occurred in the plots, including six species classified as Class II of State Key Protected Wild Plants, seven threatened species (VU) from the China’s Biodiversity Red List: Higher Plant, one species defined in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) (Appendix II), and 64 endemic species to China, indicating their values for protection and research. We also found that the number of species increased sharply with increasing scale when the scale was less than 2,150 m2, while at a higher resolution its rate of increase decreased significantly. When the scale was larger than 57,950 m2, the rate of increase declined slightly. Rare species (N = 69, less than 1 ind./ha) reached 45.10% of the total number of individuals. Members of Fagaceae and Ericaceae comprised more than half of the total importance values (IV). The IV of Castanopsis eyrei, a constructive species, was 26.25%, and followed by Eurya nitida (7.63%), Rhododendron ovatum (7.6%), Pinus massoniana (6.29%) and Loropetalum chinense (4.83%). The mean DBH for all the individuals was 4.10 cm, and small sized trees dominated the plot. The emergent layer was divided into two sub-layers, individuals of C. eyrei were dominant in both layers, while P. massoniana was a subdominant species. Castanopsis eyrei, E. nitida, R. ovatum and P. massoniana had a significant clustered distribution.

    Species identification and phylogenetic relationship of Thryssa species in the coastal waters of China
    Jing Zhang, Yuan Li, Na Song, Longshan Lin, Tianxiang Gao
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (8):  888-895.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016079
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    Six Thryssa species were collected from Chinese coastal waters for morphological description and phylogenetic relationships analysis. Results indicated that the position of maxillary extend and number of lower gill rake in the first gill rake were the main morphological characteristics for the identification of six Thryssa species. Mitochondrial COI gene fragments were amplified and sequenced for thirty individuals of Thryssa species. A 525 bp sequence was obtained, containing 175 variable sites, which determines 172 parsimony informative sites, 3 singleton sites, no indels/deletions, 182 transitions, and 57 transversions. An obvious anti-G biasness was noted from the base composition of A and T higher than that of G and C. Comparing homologous sequences from GenBank with our study validates that there are variations among Thryssa species based on the COI sequence. Moreover ten absolute groups were also identified in all sequences based on genetic differences in amino acids and genetic distances between groups. However, this requires further investigation to determine whether there are uncovered cryptic species. The NJ tree indicated that T. setirostris was the first species derived from the genus, and sequences of T. mystax were disorderly clustered with that of T. vitrirostris. The divergence date of Thryssa species presented here is early Miocene. It is suggested that more molecular markers be needed to clarify variations in T. mystax and T. vitrirostris in the future.

    Demersal nekton community structure of artificial reef zones in Laoshan Bay, Qingdao
    Hongyan Liu, Chaojie Yang, Peidong Zhang, Wentao Li, Xiaolong Yang, Xiumei Zhang
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (8):  896-906.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016111
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    A field survey of the artificial reef and the control zones in Laoshan Bay, Shandong Province was performed from May 2015 to January 2016. We analyzed the community structure and biodiversity of demersal nekton by using Margalef’s species richness index, Shannon-Wiener diversity index, Pielou’s evenness index, abundance-biomass comparison curves, clustering analysis, SIMPER (similarity percentage) analysis, and Non-metric Multi Dimensional Scaling (NMDS). A total number of 61 species of nekton belonging to 34 families were captured during the surveys, including 36 species of fish, 22 species of crustaceans and 3 species of cephalopods. Charybdis japonica, Sebastes schlegelii, Hexagrammus otakii, H. agrammus and Conger myriaster were the dominant species, of which C. japonica and S. schlegelii were the dominant species by weight (26.91% and 26.74%, respectively). The highest monthly mean catch per unit effort (CPUE) in the investigated zones appeared in May 2015, and reached up to 735.74 g· net-1·d-1. It was noted that the diversity indices were higher in July and August, but there were no significant differences in community structure parameters between the artificial reef and the control zones (P>0.05). The abundance-biomass curves (ABC) of the nekton community indicated that the community was seriously disturbed in May and June 2015, but was stable by November 2015 and January 2016. Cluster analysis showed that similarities were high in different months and different zones, except January 2016, and the highest similarity appeared in the artificial reef of the Sanmuqian zone between May and June 2015, when it reached 86.21%.

    Effects of soil biota influenced by long-term organic and chemical fertilizers on rice growth and resistance to insects
    Linhui Jiang, Ling Luo, Zhenggao Xiao, Daming Li, Xiaoyun Chen, Manqiang Liu, Feng Hu
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (8):  907-915.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016100
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    Fertilization plays an important role in soil quality, food supply and security. Although promoting soil biological development is considered as one of the most critical components that organic fertilizers exert on soil compared with chemical fertilization, less attention has been paid to the fertilization-derived influence on crop growth and insect-resistance via soil biota. Understanding the role of soil biota in crop growth and resistance to insects would not only help explain the biological mechanisms of the fertilization effects on soil functions, but also help identify integrative management techniques for soils and crops. Soil suspension was extracted from long-term organically fertilized soils and chemically fertilized soils. Then, the soil suspension was sterilized or non-sterilized to investigate the soil biota’s effects on rice growth and insect-resistance through a soil-free cultured method. Results showed that soil biota and fertilization significantly affected soil nutrient status (P < 0.01). Soil biota decreased soil ammonium content, rice biomass, shoot nitrogen content and the biomass of Nilaparvata lugens, but increased soil nitrate content, rice root-shoot ratio and the contents of root nitrogen, soluble sugar and phenolics (P < 0.05). Meanwhile, soil biota from organically fertilized soils promoted the synthesis of shoot soluble sugar and shoot phenolics. With the addition of Nilaparvata lugens, soil biota significantly reduced rice nitrogen uptake and promoted phenolic synthesis (P < 0.05). Collectively, soil biota, especially from organically fertilized soils, promoted rice resistance traits by altering the nutrient allocation of rice between aboveground and belowground, and by increasing the root-shoot ratio and the synthesis of phenols.

    Distribution characteristics of ant mounds and correlating factors across different succession stages of tropical forests in Xishuangbanna
    Shaojun Wang*, Hong Wang, Jihang Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (8):  916-921.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016088
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    In order to understand the distribution characteristics of ant mounds and influencing factors in tropical forests, we surveyed ant species, density, coverage and spatial distribution patterns of ant mounds in three successional stages of tropical forests in Xishuangbanna and analyzed correlations between these variables with soil physico-chemical properties. We found that (1) ant species richness, density and coverage of ant mounds in the three successional stages of tropical forests were ranked as: Musa acuminata community > Mallotus paniculatus community > Mellettia leptobotrya community; (2) successional forest type significantly impacted ant species richness and density of ant mounds but had no significant effects on ant mound coverage; (3) ant species richness and nest density was significantly and positively correlated with total soil organic carbon and soil hydrolysis nitrogen, but negatively correlated with soil bulk density and soil moisture content, besides, there were no significant correlations between soil physico-chemical properties and mound coverage. The spatial patterns of ant mounds indicated a random distribution. We conclude that the successional vegetation types and soil properties may exert a crucial effect on ant species richness and settlement density in secondary tropical forests of Xishuangbanna.

    Plant functional traits, functional diversity, and ecosystem functioning: current knowledge and perspectives
    Lingjie Lei, Deliang Kong, Xiaoming Li, Zhenxing Zhou, Guoyong Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (8):  922-931.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015295
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    Increasing attention has recently been focused on the linkages between plant functional traits and ecosystem functioning. A comprehensive understanding of these linkages can facilitate to address the ecological consequences of plant species loss induced by human activities and climate change, and provide theoretical support for ecological restoration and ecosystem management. In recent twenty years, the evidence of strong correlations between plant functional traits and changes in ecosystem processes is growing. More importantly, ecosystem functioning can be predicted more precisely, using plant functional trait diversity (i.e., functional diversity) than species diversity. In this paper, we first defined plant functional traits and their important roles in determining ecosystem processes. Then, we review recent advances in the relationships between ecosystem functions and plant functional traits and their diversity. Finally, we propose several important future research directions, including (1) exploration of the relationships between aboveground and belowground plant traits and their roles in determining ecosystem functioning, (2) incorporation of the impacts of consumer and global environmental change into the correlation between plant functional traits and ecosystem functioning, (3) effects of functional diversity on ecosystem multifunctionality, and (4) examination of the functional diversity-ecosystem functioning relationship at different temporal and spatial scales.

    Application of metabarcoding technology in studies of fungal diversity
    Yun Cao, Wenjing Shen, Lian Chen, Feilong Hu, Lei Zhou, Haigen Xu
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (8):  932-939.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016096
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    Fungal diversity is threatened by climate change, land-use change, and environmental pollution, and requires urgent conservation action. Construction of the fungal species database is an important prerequisite for the study and conservation of fungal diversity. Recently developed DNA barcoding and metabarcoding technologies can provide accurate, rapid, and highly efficient identification on a large scale, and to a large extent compensate for the defects of traditional identification methods. In this paper, we review the application of metabarcoding in fungal species diversity assessment, the study of mechanisms underlying fungal diversity, and the reconstruction of fungal palaeoecology. We emphasize that the application of metabarcoding technology in fungal diversity studies is still in the primary phase, and greater efforts are needed in the construction of reliable reference databases, the optimization of experimental procedures, and updates of bioinformatics tools. Hence, we suggest enhancing cooperation among fungal taxonomists, ecologists, and computer technicians. They should work together to address problems in fungal diversity studies via metabarcoding, which would provide more sound scientific evidence for fungal diversity conservation on a large scale.

    Examination of edge effects in a Cryptomeria fortunei plantation in Zhougong Mountain, western Sichuan
    Deyi Wang, Jianfeng Hao, Yan Li, Jinqiu Qi, Zengli Pei, Yujia Huang, Qian Jiang, Ya Chen
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (8):  940-947.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015349
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    To investigate edge effects on community structure, species composition and diversity in an artificial forest, research was conducted on Zhougong Mountain, a forest park in western Sichuan, and a large fragmented plantation of Cryptomeria fortunei was selected as the sample plot. The average DBH (diameter at breast height), average height, average density, richness index (D) and Shannon-Wiener index (H) were used to evaluate edge effects. Based on a field survey, 5 transects (width = 10 m) were established from the edge to interior forest (gradient 1 to gradient 5), and 4 small plots (10 m × 10 m) were chosen in each transect using a random sampling method. Results showed that 111 species, belonging to 96 genera and 54 families were recorded in 20 small plots with a total area of 2,000 m2. The following results were also found in this investigation: (1) The number of species decreased away from the edge to forest interior. (2) In terms of community structure, a decrease of average DBH was found in the tree layer with the increase of edge gradients. Average density followed the opposite pattern and no significant differences were found in average height. In the shrub layer, average density decreased with the increase of edge gradients and no significant differences were found in average height. Average density and height both decreased from the edge to interior forest in the herb layer. (3) Based on the analysis of species diversity, richness index (D) and Shannon-Wiener index (H) of the plantation, decreased values were generally found with an increase of edge gradients, and were much more obvious in the shrub and herb layer. Moreover, the number of common species and Sørensen’s similarity coefficient between edge gradients in the forest interior and edge 1 both showed a decreasing trend from the edge to interior forest. (4) Based on a comprehensive analysis, a clear change of community was found between edge 2 and edge 3, indicating that edge effects can reach 20 m into the fragmented patch of the Cryptomeria fortunei plantation.

    Status of vascular plant species on Hainan Island
    Yukai Chen, Xiaobo Yang, Donghai Li, Wenxing Long
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (8):  948-956.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016002
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    Maintaining plant diversity on tropical islands is a priority for biodiversity conservation. Hainan Island, located in the northern tropics, is the second largest island in China with high plant diversity. Several updated plant lists of local flora have been published after decades of field investigations. In this paper, we investigated the plant diversity on Hainan Island by conducting extensive field surveys and a literature review. Results indicated that, as of December 2015, there were 6,036 vascular plants recorded on Hainan Island with voucher specimens or practical materials. Among these species, 1,220 species were revised as synonymously, 4,579 species were wild (including 483 endemic and 512 rare and endangered species), 163 were naturalized species (including 57 invasive species) and 1,294 species were cultivated species. Since the publication of Flora Hainanica in 1964-1977, a large proportion of newly recorded species were mainly wild or introduced species, and accounted for 35.9% and 75.9% of their corresponding totals, respectively.

    A revised bat (Mammalia: Chiroptera) checklist for Guizhou, China
    Tianyou Yang
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (8):  957-962.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015360
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    Based on The Mammalian Fauna of Guizhou, historical literature, and the latest research on taxonomy and phylogeny of bats, we provide an updated checklist on the diversity and distribution of bat species in Guizhou Province, China. A total of 51 bat species belonging to 7 families and 17 genera have been recorded in Guizhou as of 2015, which represents 38.1% of bat species (51 of 134 species) in China. Among these, 8 species are endemic to China, and 2 species only occur in Guizhou. When compared to bat species records in The Mammalian Fauna of Guizhou, we added 14 species, excluded 3 species, and renamed 10 species in this revised checklist. According to the animal geographical regions of China, 42 species belong to the Oriental Realm, 2 species are classified in the Palaearctic Realm, and the rest of species are considered widespread. Forty-four recorded species are listed in the endangered categories of the IUCN Red List, whereas 48 species are ranked in the Red List of China’s Vertebrates.

    On the legal protection of wild animals’ habitats
    Zhigang Jiang
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (8):  963-965.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016155
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    How did nucleus and sexual reproduction come into being?
    Ping Xie
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (8):  966-976.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016057
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    The origin of eukaryote is a fundamental, forbidding evolutionary puzzle, and the popular scenarios of eukaryogenesis are far from being clear. So far, there have been various theories (e.g., syntrophic model, autogenous model, viral eukaryogenesis model, exomembrane hypothesis), but few explain why. I observed that C-value (the amount of DNA contained within a haploid nucleus) increased by 3.5 orders of magnitude from prokaryote to eukaryotes, which is inconceivably close to the packing ratio of DNA in extant eukaryotes. Thus, it is never convincing to explain eukaryogenesis solely by using accident phagocytosis, symbiosis or parasitism (the influential endosymbiont theory unfortunately took the wrong turning!), but what is important is to explain why genome increased so sharply. This may be mainly related to DNA replication errors or polyploidization, of course not completely ruling out the possible contribution from lateral gene flow or genetic integration between individuals of different species. It is above suspicion that successful packing of DNA (finally into chromosome) was a key step towards eukaryogenesis, of course also accompanied with structural differentiation in cell and development of more subtle and complex cell division, and so on. This paper presents “packing and structurization hypothesis” to explain eukaryogenesis. In addition, from a molecular genetic point of view, sexual reproduction is never a mystery as it is just a process to merge two individual genomes, by which diverse genetic information of the species are dispersed into its individuals. On the other hand, from an ecological point of view, the original motivation of “sex” was accidently coupled with dormancy.


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