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Table of Content
    Volume 25 Issue 5
    20 May 2017

    The special feature in this issue including four papers highlights the outstanding universal value of Shennongjia World Natural Heritage Site, its exceptional biodiversity, and unique biological and ecological processes in the world. The picture shows the Hubei subspecies of the Sichuan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana hubeiensis), a representative species in Shennongjia, which has been listed as an endangered species by IUCN. Shennongjia World Natural Heritage Site is the o

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    All Papers in This Issue
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (5):  0-0. 
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    Red List of Ecosystems (RLE): progress and challenges
    Keping Ma
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (5):  451-452.  doi:10.17520/biods.2017160
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    Research advances and challenges in the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems
    Jianbo Tan, Ainong Li, Guangbin Lei, Guoke Chen, Keping Ma
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (5):  453-463.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016134
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    The Red List of Ecosystems is a growing toolbox for assessing risks to biodiversity at the ecosystem level, which is complementary to the Red List of Threatened Species and important for the protection of key species’ habitats. The IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Criteria was adopted as an official global standard for assessing the risks to ecosystems by the IUCN Council. With the revision and extension of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Criteria, this framework is gradually improved, which plays an important role in biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management. However, it faces challenges in ecosystem mapping, the concepts of ecosystem collapse and practical application. This paper reviews the development of the Red List of Ecosystems and introduces the five criterions in the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems protocol (declining in distribution, restricted distribution, abiotic degradation, biotic degradation and quantitative estimates of risk of ecosystem collapse) and how it is used. While focusing on the challenges in the assessment with the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Criteria, we also discuss the potential solutions to these problems based on remote sensing and ecological models. We points out that the explicit definition of ecosystem collapse and the classification system of ecosystems is essential for applying the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Criteria; the scale effects have great impacts on the results of assessment; assessment at hierarchical scales may be a potential method to provide spatial information for the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems; incorporating remote sensing and ecological models into this framework is an important way to study the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Criteria in the near future.

    Beta-diversity partitioning: methods, applications and perspectives
    Xingfeng Si, Yuhao Zhao, Chuanwu Chen, Peng Ren, Di Zeng, Lingbing Wu, Ping Ding
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (5):  464-480.  doi:10.17520/biods.2017024
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    Beta diversity describes the variation in species composition among communities within a region and it is determined by two antithetic processes: species turnover (or species replacement), and nestedness (or difference in richness). Beta-diversity partitioning aims to separate these two processes when examining species composition among communities, and to reveal their underlying mechanisms. Since 2010, the partitioning methods were proposed following two dominant frameworks: the BAS method proposed by Andrés Baselga in 2010 (partitioning overall beta diversity into turnover and nestedness components) and the POD method proposed by János Podani and Dénes Schmera in 2011 and José C. Carvalho et al. in 2012 (partitioning overall beta diversity into species replacement and richness difference components). With the continuous debate on the nature of the BAS and POD methods, studies on beta-diversity partitioning have developed rapidly worldwide. We reviewed journal articles in the field of beta-diversity partitioning since 2010. Results showed that the number of publications and citations using the BAS method were greater than those using the POD method (75% vs. 20%). In those publications, most of study sites were located in Europe (45%) and research taxa were dominated by animals (64%). Here, we introduce the history and development of beta-diversity partitioning, potential applications in studying biodiversity distributions across spatial-temporal scales (latitudinal/altitudinal gradients, habitat fragmentation, seasonal and annual dynamics), multiple-faceted diversity (taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity), and comparisons among various biological taxa. We point out the following directions in the field of beta-diversity partitioning in the future: (1) the synthesis and comparative analysis of the methods of beta-diversity partitioning; (2) examining patterns of overall beta diversity and its components by incorporating species abundance; and (3) testing the generality of results yielded from beta-diversity partitioning across large scales.

    Parallel effects of environmental properties on genetic diversity and species diversity
    Wumei Xu, Xiuqin Ci, Jie Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (5):  481-489.  doi:10.17520/biods.2017006
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    Genetic diversity and species diversity are the two basic levels of biodiversity; recent studies have indicated the parallel effects of environment properties on these two levels of biodiversity. Here we introduce the species-genetic diversity correlation model regarding the parallel effects of environment properties on genetic diversity and species diversity. Based on the four basic processes in community ecology and population genetics (i.e. mutation and speciation, selection, drift, dispersal), we further discuss the theoretical foundations of the parallel effects of environment properties on these two levels of biodiversity. The studies conducted on these effects have shown significant importance in ecology and conservation biology, especially in the age of global change; however, few studies consider these two levels of biodiversity together but most consider only one in the biodiversity research so far. Therefore, we review the recent progress and outline the future directions in the study of the parallel effects of environmental properties on genetic diversity and species diversity. We hope this will benefit and promote the related studies in China.

    Special Feature: Shennongjia World Natural Heritage Site
    The outstanding universal value and conservation of the Shennongjia World Natural Heritage Site
    Zongqiang Xie, Guozhen Shen, Youbing Zhou, Dayong Fan, Wenting Xu, Xianming Gao, Yanjun Du, Gaoming Xiong, Changming Zhao, Yan Zhu, Jiangshan Lai
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (5):  490-497.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016268
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    World Natural Heritage site is recognized globally as the pinnacle of natural protected areas that are the cornerstones of biodiversity conservation. The World Natural Heritage of Shennongjia represents one of the worldwide biodiversity hotspots. But, until now, it has not been clear how outstanding the universal value of Shennongjia is worldwide, and this study presents one of the most compelling challenges to conservation efforts. Here, we compiled literature and conducted additional field surveys in the Shennongjia region to illustrate the outstanding universal value of Shennongjia World Natural Heritage Site using World Heritage criteria (ix) and (x), following the operational guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention. Results show that the heritage of Shennongjia offers an outstanding example of the ongoing ecological processes occurring in the development of intact subtropical mixed broad-leaved evergreen and deciduous forests in the Northern Hemisphere. This region presents a typical example of mountain altitudinal biological zones in the Oriental Deciduous Forest Biogeographical Province. Shennongjia is also a vital origin location for global temperate flora, and harbors the highest concentration of global temperate genera of trees. Moreover, the heritage of Shennongjia displays exceptional biodiversity and is a key habitat for numerous relic, rare, endangered and endemic species. The richness of deciduous woody species in Shennongjia is the highest in the world. Our study provides great insight into protecting, monitoring and managing the outstanding world heritage in the Northern Hemisphere.

    Diversity and representativeness of deciduous woody plants in Shennongjia World Natural Heritage Site, China
    Dayong Fan, Xianming Gao, Yanjun Du, Guozhen Shen, Wenting Xu, Gaoming Xiong, Changming Zhao, Youbing Zhou, Zongqiang Xie
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (5):  498-503.  doi:10.17520/biods.2017004
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    Shennongjia World Natural Heritage Site (Shennongjia) is of global significance in biodiversity and its habitat, as well as the biological and ecological processes, and its flora is extremely rich in deciduous woody plants. In this study, the genus and species richness of deciduous woody plants in Shennongjia was analyzed, aiming to identify the outstanding universal value of Shennongjia, as well as providing a theoretical basis for its scientific management. The northern temperate deciduous forest has the most abundant species of deciduous woody plants in the world. We selected 82 representative genera widely distributed in the northern temperate deciduous forest, and a comparative analysis of their distribution (including the number of species within a genus) in the world, China, Europe, North America, Shennongjia, Great Smoky Mountains, and Japan Ogawa Forest Reserve, was carried out. It was found that Shennongjia had 62 genera, accounting for 86% of that in China, and 76% of that in the world. Shennongjia had 225 species in the 62 genera, accounting for 21% of that in China, and 7% of that in the world. In terms of deciduous species diversity, Great Smoky Mountains and Japan Ogawa Forest Reserve are also representative of the northern temperate deciduous forest. However, the two areas had significantly fewer deciduous genera and species than Shennongjia. The evidence shows that the Shennongjia is one of the most concentrated distribution areas of deciduous woody plants in the world, which is an important embodiment of its outstanding universal value. The warm and humid climate due to the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau, the complex topography, and the close connection to subtropical and tropical flora in terms of deciduous components, contribute to the exceptional richness of deciduous woody plants in Shennongjia.

    The effectiveness of Shennongjia National Nature Reserve in conserving forests and habitat of Sichuan snub-nosed monkey
    Cuiling Wang, Zhenhua Zang, Yue Qiu, Shuyu Deng, Zhaoyang Feng, Zongqiang Xie, Wenting Xu, Lei Liu, Quansheng Chen, Guozhen Shen
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (5):  504-512.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016349
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    Nature reserves are a cornerstone of global conservation. Although the network of global protected areas has expanded substantially over the last few decades, many protected areas are not effective and the use of protected areas as a conservation tool has been criticized due to its inefficiency. Understanding which institutional conditions of protected areas are effective is therefore a key research priority. Shennongjia National Nature Reserve offers a fascinating case to investigate the effectiveness of protected areas in China. This reserve is exceptionally important for conservation as it harbors the remaining subtropical mixed broadleaved evergreen and deciduous forests in the northern hemisphere, numerous endemic and endangered species, and viable populations of the snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana hubeiensis). From an institutional perspective, Shennongjia Nature Reserve experienced a heavily exploited deforestation period and forest cover rebounded since the establishment of the reserve and the implementation of the Natural Forest Conservation Program (NFCP) and the Sloping Land Conversion Program (SLCP). We assessed the effectiveness of the Shennongjia Nature Reserve in conserving forests and habitat of the snub-nosed monkey based on landuse datasets of 1980, 1990, 2010 and 2015, respectively; combining DEM, distribution and behavioral characteristics of the snub-nosed monkey, and constructing the criterion of the survival function of the snub-nosed monkey and metapopulation capacity. Results showed that the forest area increased by 34.27% and forest coverage increased 16.42%, of which 82.77% of the newly gained forest recovered from shrubs and sparse forests since the establishment of the reserve. The area of the most suitable habitat for the snub-nosed monkey increased 17.70%, and metapopulation capacity of the habitat increased 515.17%. Furthermore, since the implementation of NFCP and SLCP, the forest area and forest coverage increased 23.24% and 12.77%, respectively, the most suitable habitat area for the snub-nosed monkey increased 14.29%, and the metapopulation capacity increased 367.20%. Our results indicate that the Shennongjia Nature Reserve is efficient for forest conservation and snub-nosed monkey habitat provision.

    Original Papers
    A catalogue of animal type specimens from the Shennongjia World Natural Heritage Site, China
    Youbing Zhou, Xiaolin Yu, Nan Wu, Guozhen Shen, Gaoming Xiong, Wenting Xu, Dayong Fan, Changming Zhao, Zongqiang Xie
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (5):  513-517.  doi:10.17520/biods.2017032
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    Type specimens provide the taxonomic basis for publishing and naming new species, and thus have scientific importance. Mt. Shennongjia is the highest mountain in Central China, and its unique fauna and flora have attracted global attention and interest from naturalists for centuries. Based on historical literature, we provide an updated catalogue of animal type specimens from the Shennongjia World Natural Heritage Site, where a total of 275 species of type specimens belonging to 3 phyla, 5 classes, 22 orders, 91 families, and 170 genera have been collected. The first catalogue of type specimens in Shennongjia occurred in 1960, with two subsequent peaks in collection occurring in 1977-1986 and in 2009. The time delay between collection and publication varied from 0 to 34 years, however, most type descriptions were published within 10 years of collection (222, 80.73%). Species were published in 163 scientific papers, mostly authored by domestic scholars (245, 89.09%). These type specimens are currently deposited across 62 institutions and in private collections. Our comprehensive and integrative curation of these animal type specimens meets the requirements of the World Heritage Centre, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, to further improve site management and conservation. Recent publications described several new species, suggesting that the number of species in the Shennongjia World Natural Heritage Site may have been underestimated and further surveys should be undertaken in the future.

    Original Papers: Plant Diversity
    Genetic diversity of Crataegus songorica in Xinjiang
    Fang Sheng, Shuying Chen, Jia Tian, Peng Li, Xue Qin, Shuping Luo, Jiang Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (5):  518-530.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016369
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    The aim of this study is to reveal the genetic diversity of different populations of Crataegus songorica and to provide a scientific basis for its protection and sustainable utilization. The experimental materials included 92 samples, which were selected from Daxigou, Huocheng County in Xinjiang and analyzed by combining the analysis of phenotypic trait variation and the SSR marker. Results showed that there was considerable genetic variation in the phenotypic traits of different C. songorica populations, as the variation coefficient varied from 2.96% to 71.32%, and the phenotypic variation was mainly caused by the variation within population, as the mean phenotypic differentiation coefficient was 13.90% among populations and 86.10% within population. A total of 739 loci were detected from five populations by 43 SSR primers, and the polymorphism loci ratio was 90.53% at the species level. Nei’s diversity index, Shannon’s diversity index (I), the gene diversity within population (Hs), the total population genetic diversity (Ht), genetic differentiation coefficient and gene flow were 0.2377, 0.3712, 0.1635, 0.2023, 0.1916 and 2.1116, respectively. Comprehensive analysis suggested that the total genetic diversity of C. songorica was higher in Daxigou, and the genetic differentiation among populations was smaller. The results of UPGMA clustering showed that five populations formed two sub-types, and the differences in different habitats were the main causes of the discrepancy among populations. We conclude that the genetic diversity of C. songorica of different populations was high both at phenotypic and molecular levels in Daxigou, and there was a visible genetic differentiation within population, moreover differentiation trends had regional characteristics. Therefore, in situ conservation is supposed to be an effective method to protect C. songorica.

    Characteristics of the orchid trade at public markets and implications for conservation in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China
    Yaqiong Song, Zhilong Liu, Sophie Willian, Jiangyun Gao
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (5):  531-539.  doi:10.17520/biods.2017022
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    The Xishuangbanna region is one of the orchid hotspots in China. To understand the characteristics and trends of the orchid trade in the region, we surveyed six public markets in 2015. We identified and recorded 107 orchid species, belonging to 38 genera. Among them, 87.9% of the species were epiphytic. Apart from Dendrobium officinale, all species were collected in the wild. Among the 106 wild-harvested species, 93.4% were originally distributed to Xishuangbanna, and represented a quarter of the total species found in the area. The record frequencies of most species were very low. Only 14 species were recorded more than ten times, suggesting that the collection and trade of wild orchids was not systematic. Most of the sellers were local people. Collecting wild orchids for sale was not their main economic activity, and none of them collected or traded orchids across international borders. The highest abundance of orchids was recorded between April and June. Dendrobium species were traded the most. In total, 35 Dendrobium species were identified, representing 32.7% of all the recorded species. Dendrobium species had also the highest recorded frequencies. Although recently the area has seen rapid development of commercial cultivations of medicinal Dendrobium orchids, this development does not seem to have reduced the harvesting pressure on wild Dendrobium species and on the contrary, may have encouraged it. Based on market surveys, we make several conservation suggestions targeting orchids in the area.

    Original Papers: Animal Diversity
    Genetic diversity of local chicken breeds in East China based on mitochondrial DNA D-loop region
    Xiaoxu Jia, Xiujun Tang, Yanfeng Fan, Junxian Lu, Shenghai Huang, Qinglian Ge, Yushi Gao, Wei Han
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (5):  540-548.  doi:10.17520/biods.2017012
    Abstract ( 509 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (1148KB) ( 831 )   Save
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    The objective of this study was to determine the origin and evolution of chickens in Eastern China by assessing the genetic diversities and structures of 11 local chicken breeds. The complete D-loop region of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of 319 chickens from 11 local breeds were sequenced and analyzed together with published data for the red junglefowl. These sequences were then used in a neighbor-joining method to construct the phylogenetic tree of these breeds and the red junglefowl. The D-loop regions of the local breeds were characterized by 1,231 and 1,232 bp; the 1,231 bp haplotype had 196 sequences, while the 1,232 bp haplotype had 123 sequences, with a base C deficiency from the 859 bp site in the 1,231 bp haplotype. A total of 37 mutation sites were detected in the 319 individuals. The average haplotype diversity, nucleotide diversity, and nucleotide difference were 0.901 ± 0.009, 0.005 73 ± 0.000001 and 6.833, respectively. A total of 35 haplotypes were identified which belonged to four previously published clades, i.e. Clades A, B, C, and E, which contained 11, 10, 9, and 5 haplotypes, respectively. Median-joining network profiles of the haplotype indicated the 11 local breeds were divided into four maternal clades containing 100, 118, 47, and 54 sequences. The cluster of five subspecies of the red junglefowl and 11 local breeds were divided into four distinct groups. Gallus gallus jabouillei was grouped alone. Haplotype C and four subspecies of junglefowl were clustered in one group. Haplotype E and two subspecies of junglefowl were clustered in another group. Haplotypes A, B, and Gallus gallus spadiceus were clustered in another group. Chickens from eastern China revealed abundant genetic diversity in the mtDNA D-loop region, except for the Langshan and Silky breeds. No breed-specific matrilineal clade was observed. We conclude that chicken breeds from eastern China likely share four common maternal lineages, and that some chicken populations may have been mixed with exotic lineage chickens.

    Morphology, ontogeny and molecular phylogeny of Euplotes aediculatus Pierson, 1943 (Ciliophora, Euplotida)
    Xue Zhang, Yurui Wang, Yangbo Fan, Xiaotian Luo, Xiaozhong Hu, Feng Gao
    Biodiv Sci. 2017, 25 (5):  549-560.  doi:10.17520/biods.2017045
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    Euplotids are the most complex and highly differentiated group of ciliates. In order to further explore the species diversity of euplotids, the morphology and morphogenesis of Euplotes aediculatus, collected from Small West Lake of Qingdao, were investigated using live observations, protargol, and silver nitrate impregnation. Based on the detailed morphological and morphogenetic data, the small subunit ribosomal rDNA (SSU rDNA) was sequenced for E. aediculatus. The species is characterized by the following features: nine frontoventral, five transverse, two left marginal, and two caudal cirri, eight dorsal kineties, and a silverline system of the double-eurystomus type. The main morphogenetic features during division are as follows: (1) the oral primordium of the opisthe develops de novo within a pouch beneath the cortex, the parental adoral zone of membranelles is entirely kept by the proter; (2) fronto-ventral-transverse cirral anlagen (FVTA) II-VI form cirri in the mode of 3:3:3:2:2; (3) frontal cirrus I/1 of the proter and opisthe is generated from the anlage formed de novo; (4) marginal cirri anlagen are formed de novo; (5) the primary dorsal kinety anlagen are from the dedifferentiation of several bristles in the middle of each parental dorsal kinety; (6) the right-most two dorsal kinety anlagen and parent dorsal kineties contribute to two caudal cirri for the proter and the opisthe, respectively. All of these features showed the high conservation of the ontogenetic process in the genus Euplotes. Sequence comparison and phylogenetic analyses based on SSU rDNA revealed a close relationship among Euplotes aediculatus, E. eurystomus, E. amieti, and E. woodruffi, which is consistent with their similar morphology.

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