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Table of Content
    Volume 31 Issue 2
    20 February 2023

    Water body in Karst region of southwest China is an important distribution and diversity center for the genus Ottelia, harboring extremely high cryptic diversity. In this issue, Li et al (22394) identified the cryptic Ottelia species in China using molecular data and proposed conservation suggestions. The picture shows flowers of Ottelia acuminata in full bloom at Erhai Lake in Dali, Yunnan Province. (Photo provider: Wang Jicheng, The Association of Dali’s New Media)

    Original Papers: Plant Diversity
    Driving effects of forest stand structure of a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest on species composition variation: From local to regional scales
    Xin Yang, Zhiliang Yao, Bin Wang, Handong Wen, Yun Deng, Min Cao, Zhiming Zhang, Zhenghong Tan, Luxiang Lin
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22139.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022139
    Abstract ( 768 )   HTML ( 228 )   PDF (1532KB) ( 940 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Aim: The variation of species composition can be partitioned into two components which are explained by environment and space, and can be used to further explore the niche process and neutral process of community assembly. Forest stand structure characterizes the light availability and heterogeneity under forest canopies, and it is a major driving factor in the variation of species composition for forest communities. However, few studies have applied forest stand structure to explain the variation of species composition within forest communities. In this study, we sampled 19 separate 1-ha forest dynamics plots established among grids of 1 km2 (regional scale) near the 20 ha subtropical mid-mountain moist evergreen broad-leaved forest dynamics plot (local scale, less than 1 km2) in Ailao Mountains as a research platform. Using forest stand structure, environmental factors, and spatial structure variables as the explanatory variables for the species composition variation. We resolved the driving forces of species composition variation at local and regional scales, with an emphasis on the role of forest stand structure in driving the variation of species composition.

    Methods: Based on a long-term community survey and airborne LiDAR data, we used redundancy analysis (RDA) and variance partitioning to analyze how environment, spatial structure, and forest stand structure were related to species composition variation in a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest at both local and regional scales. To explore the main factors driving the variation of species composition, we analyzed the relative importance of individual explanatory variables using commonality analysis and hierarchical partitioning method.

    Results: Inclusion of forest stand structure as an explanatory variable increased the response rate of the variation of species composition at both local and regional scales. However, inclusion of forest stand structure as an explanatory variable resulted in a significant decrease in the rate of spatial structure at the local level. The cumulative contribution of forest stand structure and environment to the variation in species composition was 41.0% at the local level. At the regional scale, forest stand structure and environment contributed a cumulative explanatory rate in species composition was 23.0%.

    Conclusions: This study confirms that, for subtropical broad-leaved evergreen forests, forest stand structure characterizing the light environment is an important driver of the variation in species composition, which deepens our understanding of the role of environmental filtering in driving the variation in species composition and remedies the traditional under-consideration of environmental factors. From local to regional scales, the role of purely spatial structure declines sharply to negligible levels. However, the relative importance of environmental filtering is significantly enhanced from the local to the regional scale. Light availability may have a strong effect shaping species composition below the forest canopies. This new relationship between forest stand structure on species composition warrants future studies to explore the causal mechanisms of how forest stand structure drives species composition variation in subtropical broad-leaved evergreen forests.

    Spatial distribution pattern and mechanism of sapling regeneration in karst seasonal rainforest in southwestern Guangxi
    Ruixia Ma, Yili Guo, Dongxing Li, Bin Wang, Wusheng Xiang, Fuzhao Huang, Fang Lu, Shujun Wen, Jianxing Li, Shuhua Lu, Xiankun Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22251.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022251
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    Aims: Saplings are an important component of maintaining the species diversity of forest ecosystems. Their diversity is related to forest community structure and growth dynamics. Therefore, it is very important to study the spatial distribution pattern and potential mechanism of sapling regeneration for forest community dynamics. To strengthen the understanding of the dynamic changes of the northern tropical karst seasonal rainforest, we will study the spatial distribution pattern and mechanism of sapling regeneration in 15 ha northern tropical karst seasonal rainforest dynamics plot in Nonggang, southwestern Guangxi.

    Methods: Based on the survey data from 2011 to 2016, the individual number, spatial pattern characteristics, and influencing factors of new saplings (DBH ≥ 1 cm) in five years were analyzed by spatial point pattern and redundancy analysis.

    Results: A total of 101 species of new saplings were observed, accounting for 45.3% of the surveyed species in 2011, and the sapling density was 196.5 ind./ha. The newly increased saplings showed aggregated distribution at 0-7 m and 10-16 m scale, and random distribution above 16 m scale. Altitude is the main factor affecting the regeneration of saplings, followed by topographic wetness. Biological factors had a weak impact on sapling regeneration. The number of saplings was negatively correlated with increasing altitude, and positively correlated with topographic wetness. Moderate positive correlation between adult tree individuals and young tree regeneration was observed.

    Conclusion: In this karst seasonal rainforest, sapling regeneration and spatial distribution pattern are synergistically affected by various influencing factors, which may be related to limited seed dispersal and habitat heterogeneity.

    Altitude-related environmental factors shape the phenotypic characteristics and chemical profile of Rhododendron
    Renxiu Yao, Yan Chen, Xiaoqin Lü, Jianghu Wang, Fujun Yang, Xiaoyue Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22259.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022259
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    Aims: Interactions between plants and the environment drive the diversity of plant phenotypes and secondary metabolites. Abiotic factors in the environment are known to vary with altitude, but it remains unclear how this variation affects plant characters and secondary metabolite composition, including whether secondary metabolites differ among different tissues and organs within a plant.

    Methods: We took samples of Rhododendron virgatum, R. decorum, and R. rubiginosum from three different altitudes. We measured environmental factors at each altitude, including temperature, relative humidity, and relative light intensity. We also measured vegetative traits, characteristics of plants’ reproductive organs, and nectar features (nectar volume, sugar concentration, nectar components). We used UPLC-Qtof methods to analyze the levels and composition of secondary metabolites in the stems, leaves, petals, pollen, and nectar of populations from different altitudes.

    Results: As altitude increased, the temperature, relative humidity, and relative light intensity decreased. The heights, corolla sizes, and anther volumes of the sampled plants decreased significantly, while the branch diameters and pistil and stamen lengths increased significantly. The floral nectar volume and sugar concentration at the highest altitude (altitude C) were significantly higher than at altitudes A and B, the lowest and middle altitudes. The nectar sucrose content in Rhododendron was also significantly higher at altitude C than at the lower altitudes. The secondary metabolites of the Rhododendron samples did not differ significantly at different altitudes—at every altitude, the plants were dominant in flavonoids, steroids, terpenoids, phenylpropanoids, and alkaloids, and there were significant correlations among these components. However, the secondary metabolites did vary between different organs of the plants: nectar and pollen had significantly lower levels of metabolites than branches, leaves, and petals. Additionally, PCA results showed that Rhododendron plants at altitudes A and B were relatively similar in character and metabolites. It also revealed that the flavonoid components of plants at altitude C were different from those at altitudes A and B.

    Conclusion: Our results reveal a degree of adaptive variation in phenotypic characteristics and metabolite composition of Rhododendron plants at different altitudes. However, phenotypic traits vary much more than the composition and relative contents of secondary metabolites. We conclude that environmental factors present at different altitudes are much more likely to shape the external characteristics of plants than to change their internal metabolic profile.

    Cryptic diversity of the genus Ottelia in China
    Zhizhong Li, Shuai Peng, Qingfeng Wang, Wei Li, Shichu Liang, Jinming Chen
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22394.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022394
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    Aims: In the past 20 years, with the rise of molecular biology, there is more and more evidence that extensive cryptic species occupy a high proportion of undiscovered biodiversity. Accurate assessment of endangered taxa diversity is beneficial to better understand the speciation in biodiversity patterns and the process of heterogeneity. It can also contribute to the effective protection and management of biodiversity. Ottelia, grade II plants in the List of the National Key Protected Wild Plants in China, is a pan-tropical aquatic plant group, the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau and its adjacent areas is an important centre of species diversity in the genus. Due to its high phenotypic plasticity and lack of unambiguous identification characteristics, the taxonomy of the genus has not been well described, greatly limiting the formulation of relevant protections.

    Methods: Based on extensive sampling of Ottelia populations in China, we used a Bayesian coalescent method for species delimitation using the multi-locus data set (8 plastid regions and nrITS).

    Results: We showed with molecular evidence that in at least 14 Ottelia species in China, all three varieties of O. acuminata should be treated at the species level. Also, there were cryptic species found in O. acuminata and O. jingxiensis. We speculate that the heterogeneous habitats in the karst region and the geographical isolation between the water systems in southwest China may explain the rapid speciation of endemic Ottelia taxa in China.

    Conclusion: According to our results, we propose that each taxon (including cryptic species) should be protected as independent protected units.

    Vascular plant diversity of National Key Protected Wild Plants, threatened species, and endemic species ex situ conserved in botanic gardens of China
    Lisong Wang, Qingqing Zhan, Jingping Liao, Hongwen Huang
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22495.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022495
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    Background & Aims: As one of the mega-biodiverse countries in the world, China has implemented in situ and ex situ biodiversity conservation programs through the national parks and the national botanic gardens system respectively to responsibly study and conserve this diversity. We aimed to provide a baseline reference for the current national botanic garden system program.

    Methods: We assessed the ex situ conservation profile in Chinese botanic gardens of plants from three categories: National Key Protected Wild Plants (NKPWP), threatened species, and endemic species. Statistical and comparative analyses of integrated data sets show that there are 7,141 species of vascular plants that have been conserved ex situ in botanic gardens of China. These species span 1,271 genera and 265 families, accounting for 76% of families, 42% of genera, and 23% of species of vascular plants in China.

    Results: Among the 7,141 species, 743 species are National Key Protected Wild Plants, 2,095 species are threatened, and 5,957 species are endemic to China, accounting for 72%, 59% and 37% of the total number of species catalogued for these categories in China, respectively. These species include 2,555 trees, 1,025 shrubs, 3,117 herbs, 419 climbers, and 25 aquatic plants. The phylogenetic diversity is variable among these gardens, with a low proportion of shared species across gardens.

    Original Papers: Animal Diversity
    Avian and mammal diversities and their altitudinal and seasonal distribution patterns in Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, China
    Xiangying Shi, Xueyang Li, Chunyue Wei, Ge Sun, Zhen Liu, Xiang Zhao, Jiading Zhou, Jian Fan, Cheng Li, Zhi Lü
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22491.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022491
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    Aims: Due to its altitude and limited human development, the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon area boasts high degree of biodiversity and intact ecosystems. These conditions, have been favorable to the study and discovery of new species in recent years. In this study, we present the results of a comprehensive camera trap survey method implemented throughout the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon area that shows the distribution patterns of the surveyed species.

    Methods: From October 2020 to November 2021, infrared remote cameras were set in the Medog County, Bomi County, and Milin County of Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon area to determine degree of biodiversity. Camera traps were placed in 116 sites in seven monitoring areas with different altitudes ranging from 646 m to 4,360 m. With a total survey effort of 24,741 camera days, 12,010 independent detections were obtained and relative abundance index (RAI) were calculated. Shannon-Wiener diversity index in different altitude bins and Pianka index were used to analyze the species altitudinal distribution. Seasonal distribution patterns of dry season (October 2020 to March 2021) and rainy season (April 2021 to September 2021) were also compared using seasonal RAI at different camera trap sites.

    Results: In total, 37 mammal species, which belong to 4 orders and 14 families, and 99 bird species, which belong to 9 orders and 28 families, were identified. Of these, 51 of the identified species were classified as State Key Protected Species. Ten species were documented with the use of camera for the first time in Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon area. These species were the forest musk deer (Moschus berezovskii), alpine musk deer (Moschus chrysogaster), brown bear (Ursus arctos), Asian badger (Meles leucurus), Siberian weasel (Mustela sibirica), grey-headed flying squirrel (Petaurista caniceps), particolored flying squirrel (Hylopetes alboniger), Chinese giant flying squirrel (Petaurista xanthotis), Sclater’s monal (Lophophorus sclateri) and Blyth’s tragopan (Tragopan blythii). Species like the dhole (Cuon alpinus), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), Asian golden cat (Catopuma temminckii) and wild boar (Sus scrofa) had higher RAI during the dry season than in the rainy season.

    Conclusion: This study reveals high degree of biodiversity in the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon area, with high heterogeneity of the altitudinal and seasonal distribution pattern of carnivore and ungulates. The result of this survey provides a biodiversity baseline and a scientific basis for the protection and management of the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon area.

    Diel activity, habitat utilization, and response to anthropogenic interference of small Indian civets (Viverricula indica) in Shanghai urban areas based on camera trapping
    Yihan Wang, Qianqian Zhao, Yixin Diao, Bojian Gu, Yue Weng, Zhuojin Zhang, Yongbin Chen, Fang Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22294.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022294
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    Aims: Rapid urbanization processes have brought great challenges to the conservation of urban biodiversity. The small Indian civet (Viverricula indica) is a national first-class key protected wild animal, yet ecological research about its wild populations in urban environments is rare. The aims of this study are to: (1) understand how small Indian civets respond to stray cats and human activities in time and space in urban landscapes; (2) investigate the habitat characteristics of small Indian civets in a human-dominated landscape; and (3) evaluate habitat changes of small Indian civets during the time period of 2000-2020.

    Methods: We used infrared camera traps to investigate the small Indian civets in the urban environment. From June 2020 to October 2021, we conducted camera trap surveys at 25 sites in the Xinjiangwan area, Yangpu District, Shanghai. We conducted individual identification, and then analyzed species diel activity pattern and measured the overlapping index and calculated the avoidance-attraction ratios between small Indian civets and stray cats and humans, respectively. In addition, we calculated the relative abundance index (RAI) of humans, stray cats, and birds, and used an independent sample t-test to test the site differences where small Indian civets were detected and not detected. Lastly, we utilized remote sensing data to analyze the landscape changes of small Indian civet habitat during the time period of 2000-2020.

    Results: We have achieved a sampling effort of 1,581 camera days, and obtained 65 independent small Indian civet detections at night sites. We identified 5 small Indian civet individuals. The diel activity pattern of small Indian civet was strictly nocturnal, with two nighttime activity peaks around 21:00 and 02:00. The temporal overlap index of small Indian civet and human activities was 0.15, and that of stray cats was 0.66. The avoidance-attractive ratio between small Indian civet and stray cats was 9.94 ± 7.84. Human activity at sites where small Indian civets were detected was significantly less than that of the sites where the species was not undetected (t = -2.539, P = 0.021). Landscape analysis results indicated that most of the green space was replaced by artificial landscapes, and the degree of fragmentation and isolation increased during the past two decades.

    Conclusion: Small Indian civets demonstrate spatial and temporal avoidance to human activities and stray cats. The existing landscapes that are potentially suitable for small Indian civet are fragmented, and immediate actions are needed to conserve the remaining small Indian civet population in urban landscapes.

    Community structure and functional diversity of fishes in the Three Gorges Reservoir
    Wei Zhang, Dongdong Zhai, Fei Xiong, Hongyan Liu, Yuanyuan Chen, Ying Wang, Chuansong Liao, Xinbin Duan, Huiwu Tian, Huatang Deng, Daqing Chen
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22136.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022136
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    Aims: The functional characteristics of species are the key factors linking community structure and function. Studies on functional diversity seeks to understand the important relationship between community structure and function. The Three Gorges Dam is currently the world’s largest hydropower project. The dam’s construction blocked fish migration, altered river habitats, and dramatically changed fish species and distribution. Our study contributes to understanding of the spatial pattern of fish community structure and diversity after the impoundment of the Three Gorges Reservoir and clarifies the relationship between species diversity and functional diversity.

    Methods: In order to explore the spatial pattern of fish community structure and functional diversity, field investigations were conducted in the main stream and tributaries of the Three Gorges Reservoir area from 2019 to 2020. The main stream includes Zigui, Yunyang and Banan which are located in the upper, middle and lower reaches of the reservoir, respectively. The tributaries contain Xiakou (downstream of Xiangxi River), Gaoyang (downstream of Xiaojiang River) and Hechuan (downstream of Jialing River). They are located at the head, middle and end of the reservoir, respectively. We analyzed the structure and diversity of fish communities and explored the spatial patterns of functional diversity of fish by three characteristics: food acquisition, locomotion and reproduction.

    Results: A total of 78 species belonging to 6 orders, 15 families and 56 genera were collected in the Three Gorges Reservoir. Eurytopic and limnophilic fish species dominated the reservoir. The limnophilic species, such as Coilia brachygnathus and Hemiculter bleekeri, had higher relative abundance in the Zigui, Xiakou and Gaoyang sections. In Yunyang, Banan and Hechuan river sections, the relative abundances of eurytopic species such as Saurogobio dabryi and Pelteobagrus nitidus were high. Non-metric multidimensional scales (NMDS) and Bray-Curtis dissimilarity index analyses indicated that differences in fish community structure were greatest between Hechuan and Zigui, and most similar between Xiakou and Gaoyang. Margalef richness index (D), Shannon diversity index (H') and Pielou evenness index (E) gradually increased from Zigui, through Yunyang to Banan in the main stream of the reservoir. In the tributaries, species diversity was highest in Xiakou, with lower diversity in Gaoyang and lowest in Hechuan. The spatial variation of functional diversity related to fish food acquisition, locomotion and reproduction were relatively consistent throughout the study area. The highest value was observed in Zigui and lowest in Hechuan. The total functional diversity had a consistent spatial variation with community species diversity in the Three Gorges Reservoir. The diversity indices gradually increased in the main stream from Zigui to Banan. In the tributaries, diversity indices were the highest in Xiakou, followed by Gaoyang and Hechuan.

    Conclusion: Overall, there are evident spatial differences in fish community structure and diversity in the Three Gorges Reservoir area. Functional diversity is more sensitive than species diversity to changes in fish community.

    Insect diversity in different stand types of urban forest: A case study at the southern foot of Zijin Mountain, Nanjing
    Chufei Tang, Cheng Ge, Ye Cao, Hongyi Cao, Xiaoxiao Song, Huaijian Liao
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22357.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022357
    Abstract ( 858 )   HTML ( 26 )   PDF (8998KB) ( 834 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Aims: This research aimed to clarify the correlation between various environmental factors, such as anthropogenic impacts, and the insect diversity in urban forests, which can lead to the elucidation of key factors that can affect insect diversity in urban forests. Furthermore, this could result in the development and implementation of more efficient conservation guidelines and conservation strategies for the protection of urban species diversity.

    Methods: From late July 2020 to early July 2021, with the use of sweeping method and Malaise traps, we collected insects from six habitats with different stand types from Zijin Mountain, Nanjing, including greenway in artificial broadleaf forest, greenway in broadleaf-conifer mixed forest, wetland in broadleaf-conifer mixed forest, as well as woodlands in artificial coniferous forest, broadleaf-conifer mixed forest, and broadleaf mixed forest. Insects were identified using morphological guides from taxonomic monographs. Shannon-Wiener diversity index, Pielou evenness index, Margalef richness index, and Simpson diversity index were used to evaluate α-diversity. Differences between insect diversity in different habitats and taxonomic orders were evaluated by Kruskal-Wallis analyses. Insect diversity in different habitats was estimated by rarefaction and extrapolation analyses. Bray-Curtis distance was calculated to evaluate the similarity of insect diversity and richness between different habitats. The influence of different environmental variables, both abiotic and biotic, on insect diversity was evaluated by redundancy analysis and Pearson correlation. Both samplings of the whole year and a part of summer were used.

    Results: A total of 59,648 insects belonging to 145 species in 78 families and 9 orders were collected. Among these, the orders Lepidoptera, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera, and Diptera had the highest number of species and relative abundance. Most species were captured between July and September. Rarefaction and extrapolation analyses showed that the collections of specimens can represent the insect communities of each habitat. The α-diversity analyses indicated that woodland in broadleaf mixed forest had the highest insect diversity among sampled habitats, while woodland in artificial coniferous forest had the lowest. Although most habitats do not differ significantly in α-diversity, in terms of species composition, only the wetland in broadleaf-conifer mixed forest was moderately similar to the woodland in broadleaf mixed forest. Other habitats were all moderately dissimilar or very dissimilar to each other. The redundancy analyses showed that artificial interference of vegetation, pedestrian volume, altitude, temperature, sunshine duration, and precipitation were the major variables that significantly impacted insect diversity at the southern foot of Zijin Mountain. In addition, Pearson analyses indicated that most variables are correlated to insect diversity. Despite the different effects environmental variables have on the α-diversity of major insect orders, artificial interference of vegetation had the most significant effect, as our results showed that insect diversity significantly decreased with the increase of artificial interference of vegetation. Considering the correlations between insect diversity and other variables that can be attributed to artificial interferences, we determined that vegetation structure was the variable that has the highest degree of influence on insect diversity in urban forests.

    Conclusion: This study clarifies key factors affecting insect diversity in urban forests. This could potentially provide theoretical guidance in urban species diversity conservation. Scientific planning and management of vegetation structure may be the key to preserving insect diversity in urban forests. It is thus suggested that more research on the dominant factors affecting the diversity of the major insect groups be carried out. This, even at a smaller scale according to local conditions, could greatly benefit the dynamic management of urban forests.

    Diversity of cavity-nesting Hymenoptera and their parasitoids in subtropical forests, southeastern China
    Shikun Guo, Mingqiang Wang, Pengfei Guo, Jingting Chen, Zeqing Niu, Arong Luo, Juanjuan Yang, Qingsong Zhou, Chaodong Zhu
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22060.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022060
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    Backgruound & Aims: Cavity-nesting Hymenoptera are both predators and pollinators and provide key services for ecosystem functioning. Previously, there have been few studies on cavity-nesting Hymenoptera in subtropical forests. Yet this study aims to better understand the diversity and biology of cavity-nesting Hymenopterans in subtropical forest in China.

    Methods: Trap nests were used to study the biology, life history, diversity and ecology of solitary bees and wasps. We used this method to collect cavity-nesting Hymenoptera in 88 plots. Based on five years of long-term monitoring and sampling on Biodiversity-Ecosystem Functioning Experiment China (BEF-China) platform, we recorded the species diversity of cavity-nesting Hymenoptera and relevant occurrence patterns of solitary bees and wasps.

    Results: We found 3 orders, 25 families and 128 species in the trap nest system. Pollinators accounted for 26.6% of the diversity, mainly including Colletidae and Megachilidae with 12 species in 2 families. Predators represented 73.4% of the diversity, mainly including Eumeninae, Sphecidae, Pompilidae and Crabronidae with 44 species in 4 families. There were 72 species of parasitoids in 19 families, mainly including Sarcophagidae, Bombyliidae, Chrysididae, Trigonalyidae, and Eulophidae.

    Conclusion: For species composition, we found the diversity of pollinators was significantly less than that of predators. Meanwhile, we noted the protandry was common in cavity-nesting Hymenoptera and more obvious in overwintering individuals. In addition, we also found variable occurrence patterns in different species. The occurrence time of Megachilidae and Crabronidae were more concentrated than that of Eumeninae and Pompilidae. Finally, by constructing the interaction relationship between host and parasitoids, we explained the abundance and richness of parasitoids to be regulated by the bottom-up effect of lower trophic hosts. Ultimately, a greater understanding of these organisms will help to better protect the resources wild cavity-nesting Hymenoptera use for their ecological services.

    Spatial distribution of species diversity of solitary wasps (Vespidae) and its responses to environmental factors in the Chebaling National Nature Reserve, Guangdong Province
    Muqing Lin, Yingming Zhang, Fang Ouyang, Zufei Shu, Chaodong Zhu, Zhishu Xiao
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22310.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022310
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    Aims: In order to better guide the functional zoning of nature reserves, it is necessary to conduct scientific investigation and assessment of basic biodiversity data from each nature reserve and its surrounding areas. Solitary wasps are important natural predators of agricultural and forestry pests and are also important environmental biological indicators. In this study, we aimed to assess the relationship between spatial distribution of species diversity on solitary wasps (Vespidae) and functional zoning in the Chebaling National Nature Reserve, Guangdong Province.

    Methods: From 2018 to 2020, we investigated the diversity and distribution of Vespidae wasps and their driving factors in a typical subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest in Nanling using artificial trap-nests and km-grid protocols (a total of 100 survey grids with a grid size of 1 km × 1 km) across the whole region and its surrounding areas in the Chebaling National Nature Reserve.

    Results: In this study, a total of 4,156 wasp trap-nests and 9,973 brood cells were obtained, and 9 wasp species were identified, distributed in 89 grids, and the distribution map of their species richness and abundance was drawn. The results indicated that elevation, the distance to the nearest settlement, and enhanced vegetation index (EVI) may act as the key environmental factors affecting species richness, abundance, and distribution of the wasp community. Species richness, the nest number, and brood cells of Vespidae wasps decreased significantly with increasing elevation, and species richness and abundance were much higher when the sites were closer to the settlement. However, the α diversity index of the wasp community demonstrated a pattern with an initial increase and then decrease with EVI. The overall β diversity, species turnover, and the nestedness of the wasp community was 0.21, 0.05, and 0.16, respectively, which indicated that the nestedness was the main distribution pattern of the wasp community in the nature reserve. Distance redundancy analysis demonstrated that species turnover was significantly influenced by elevation, whereas the nestedness was not affected by any environmental factor involved in this paper. The abundance of nests or brood cells outside the nature reserve were significantly higher than those in the other three functional zones, while all α diversity indices (species richness, Shannon diversity, Simpson diversity, and Pielou evenness) indicated no significant differences amongst the four functional zones. This suggested that the wasp communities had similar species composition and no obvious distribution boundary across all the functional zones in this nature reserve.

    Conclusion: Based on the grid survey in the Chebaling National Nature Reserve, this study mapped the spatial distribution of wasp diversity and then revealed the relationship between the wasp diversity and the functional zoning in the Nanling subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest. Our study provides a scientific basis for the long-term monitoring and conservation management of insect biodiversity in protected areas.

    Original Papers: Microbial Diversity
    Bacterial diversity and community assembly responses to precipitation in the Gurbantunggut Desert
    Fang Du, Xiaoying Rong, Peng Xu, Benfeng Yin, Yuanming Zhang
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22492.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022492
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    Aims: (1) To study effects of mean annual precipitation (MAP) on the diversity and community assembly of bacterial communities in the Gurbantunggut Desert; (2) Further our understanding of how bacterial communities respond to desertification.

    Methods: We conducted the high-throughput sequencing data of bacterial communities from 30 soil samples (0-10 cm depth) collected from the Gurbantunggut Desert, where the MAP ranges from180 mm to 230 mm. We investigated the effect of MAP on the diversity of three defined categories of bacterial communities (whole, abundant and rare), and compared the compositions of the bacterial communities. Finally, we assessed the relative importance of deterministic and stochastic processes of the bacterial community assembly using the null model method.

    Results: The results showed that MAP had no significant influence on the richness and Shannon index of whole and abundant bacterial taxa (P > 0.05). However, the indices of richness and Shannon diversity of rare bacterial taxa were significantly decreased with MAP reduction (P < 0.05). Moreover, MAP had a noticeable effect on the community composition of the whole, abundant and rare bacterial communities, with the rare bacterial taxa having the highest levels of community variation and spatial turnover followed by whole and abundant bacterial communities, respectively. The results indicated that the whole, abundant, and rare bacterial taxa in the Gurbantunggut Desert responded differently to MAP. Rare bacterial taxa showed strong sensitivity to regional precipitation differences, whereas whole and abundant bacterial taxa were resistant to MAP variation. The null model analysis showed that dispersal limitation dominated the bacterial community assembly process in the Gurbantunggut Desert (> 73.0%). In contrast, the rare desert bacterial taxa were subject to heterogeneous selection (43.0%), indicating that the desert precipitation differences enhanced the environmental selection or species competition of the rare bacterial taxa. In addition, spatial distance and MAP determined the whole bacterial community construction, and the abundant and rare taxa respectively. Particularly, MAP played an essential role in balancing the relative importance between deterministic and stochastic processes of the rare bacterial taxa.

    Conclusion: Small-scale MAP differences in the Gurbantunggut Desert significantly alter the composition and assembly processes of the bacterial community. The community composition and turnover of rare bacterial taxa were affected strongly by MAP, which help mitigate the lag in the response of desert bacteria to environmental changes. Dispersal limitation isa stronger determinant of β diversity for whole and abundant bacterial taxa than for rare bacterial taxa, indicating that geographic distance explained more species turnover for desert whole and abundant bacterial taxa than for rare bacterial taxa, while the diversity distribution and ecological niche preference of desert rare bacteria were more precipitation-dependent than spatial geographic scale.

    Soil microbial community structure of Larix gmelinii forest in the Aershan area
    Wen Zhao, Dandan Wang, Mumin Reyila, Kaichuan Huang, Shun Liu, Baokai Cui
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22258.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022258
    Abstract ( 445 )   HTML ( 197 )   PDF (11694KB) ( 343 )   Save
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    Aims: Soil microorganisms play an irreplaceable role in the energy flow and material cycle of forest ecosystems. Larix gmelinii is the dominant tree species in the Greater Khingan Mountains of China, and the Aershan area is the southernmost point of its distribution in China, which is significantly affected by climate warming. Exploring the soil microbial community structure under L. gmelinii forest is of great significance to understand and maintain the stability of forest ecosystem in Northeast China.

    Method: In this study, we collected soil samples from Bailang Town and Tianchi Town in the Aershan area and used high-throughput sequencing technique to analyze the soil bacterial and fungal communities in two forest stands.

    Results: The results showed that (1) 5,163 bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and 2,439 fungal OTUs were obtained according to a 97% sequence similarity level. The diversity of bacteria was higher in the Tianchi area than in the Bailang area, but no significant difference in fungal diversity between the two sites. (2) The dominant phyla of bacteria were Actinobacteriota, Proteobacteria, Verrucomicrobiota, Chloroflexi, and Acidobacteriota, and the dominant phyla of fungi were Basidiomycota and Ascomycota. The dominant bacterial genus was Candidatus_Udaeobacter, and the dominant genera of fungi were Inocybe, Sebacina, Piloderma and Tomentella. (3) The correlation analysis indicated that soil pH and cation exchange capacity were the main factors driving soil bacterial species diversity, and soil total nitrogen and organic carbon were the main factors driving fungal species diversity. (4) Soil total nitrogen, organic carbon, available phosphorus and cation exchange capacity were important factors affecting soil bacterial community composition, while fungal community composition was not significantly affected by the physical and chemical properties of the soil. (5) The relative abundance of Chloroflexi was significantly correlated with pH; the relative abundance of Basidiomycota was significantly correlated with soil total nitrogen and organic carbon, while that of Ascomycota was significantly correlated with soil total nitrogen, organic carbon and cation exchange capacity.

    Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that soil physicochemical properties have a significant impact on the soil microbial community structure in L. gmelinii forest within the Aershan area, and the diversity of bacterial and fungal communities also plays an integral role in maintaining the soil ecology and functional environment in this area.

    Spatial patterns of rice paddy microbial communities and the associated drivers in Qianjiangyuan National Park system pilot
    Yuzhan Yang, Jianping Yu, Haiyuan Qian, Xiaonan Chen, Shengwen Chen, Zhilin Yuan
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22392.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022392
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    Aims: The establishment of national parks is crucial in protecting the integrity of natural ecosystems and biodiversity. As one of the first ten pilots, the Qianjiangyuan National Park system pilot (hereafter referred to as Qianjiangyuan) has developed the easement-inspired adaptive management and achieved remarkable outcomes. However, it remains unclear how this creative management might influence the soil microorganisms and systematic evaluation is in need.

    Methods: We took Qianjiangyuan as the study area and collected surface soils from rice paddies in the different districts and under different management types. Four management types were included, namely, reformed land within the park, abandoned land within the park, unreformed land within the park, and unreformed land outside the park. We employed high-throughput sequencing techniques to characterize the community composition and structure of both bacteria and fungi. We then analyzed the driving forces behind the spatial patterns of bacterial and fungal communities.

    Results: Compared to the other three types of lands, contents of soil nitrogen and phosphorus and heavy metals were relatively low in the abandoned land, but they were similar in the other three types. The bacterial communities were dominated by Proteobacteria (48.57%) and Acidobacteria (31.62%), while the fungal communities were dominated by Ascomycota (78.31%) and Basidiomycota (16.28%). Bacterial communities varied largely in lands under different management types, with significant difference between abandoned land and other three types, while the other three types were similar. Fungal communities showed slight variation, with significant difference being identified only between abandoned land and outside unreformed land. We found significant correlation between soil environmental factors and spatial variation of bacterial communities. The most important five factors driving bacterial spatial patterns were pH, chromium, total nitrogen, available phosphorus, and organic matter. However, no significant correlation was detected between fungal communities and soil environmental factors. Analysis of neutral community models found that neutral processes played an important role in the spatial distribution of both bacterial and fungal communities.

    Conclusion: Based on these findings, we conservatively conclude that no significant impacts have been produced by land reforming policy so far. In contrast, the abandoned land may have begun rewilding. Therefore, long-term monitoring is needed to comprehensively assess whether and how ecological protection easement will impact the recovery of rice soils.

    Original Papers: Ecosystem Diversity
    Spatial distribution characteristics of soil potassium, calcium, and magnesium and their influencing factors in a northern tropical karst seasonal rainforest in southwestern Guangxi
    Jiaqi Li, Yili Guo, Dongxing Li, Bin Wang, Wusheng Xiang, Fuzhao Huang, Fang Lu, Shujun Wen, Jianxing Li, Shuhua Lu, Xiankun Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22352.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022352
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    Aims: Mineral elements are important determinants of soil nutrients and are related to forest community composition and nutrient cycling. There is high terrain heterogeneity in karst seasonal rainforest local scale, but there is still lack of research on how terrain and other abiotic and biotic factors affect the spatial distribution of soil mineral elements in karst area.

    Methods: In this study, we set up 100 litter fall traps along the elevation gradient in the 15 ha northern tropical karst seasonal rainforest dynamics plot in Nonggang, southwestern Guangxi, and conducted soil sampling at the litter fall trap sites. We tested soil samples for the content of mineral elements such as K, Ca, Mg. We performed quantitative analysis of the association between ecological factors and soil K, Ca, Mg in karst seasonal rainforests based on methods such as spatial regression models and variation partitioning.

    Results: Soil K, Ca and Mg in the study area were all spatially autocorrelated, with Ca significantly positively correlated with elevation and convexity (P < 0.05), mainly clustered in the hilltop; K significantly positively correlated with topographic wetness index, mainly clustered in low-lying land; Mg showed clustering characteristics in the hillside. Variation partitioning shows that ecological factors drove the spatial distribution of soil K, Ca and Mg more than spatial structure. Elevation was the highest predictor variable among the individual ecological factors, and abiotic factors were higher than biotic factors in general, and species richness was the highest among biotic factors, while the aggregation of Mg elements was accompanied by a higher level of species richness.

    Conclusion: In this study, the soil K, Ca and Mg in the 15 ha northern tropical karst seasonal rainforest dynamics plot in Nonggang have spatial autocorrelation, and the spatial distribution of the three soil elements was significantly different. In the karst seasonal rainforest in southwestern Guangxi, ecological factors such as altitude have a strong driving effect on the spatial distribution of soil K, Ca and Mg. However, in terms of the accuracy of the analysis results, adding more ecological factors and expanding soil sampling points may further enhance the interpretation of ecological factors and spatial variables on the spatial distribution of soil elements.

    Diversity of amphibians and reptiles in Yunnan region of the Yunling Mountains
    Dongmin Hou, Hong Hui, Dongru Zhang, Nengwen Xiao, Dingqi Rao
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22316.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022316
    Abstract ( 849 )   HTML ( 44 )   PDF (3721KB) ( 667 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Aims: The Yunling Mountains are located in the northwest region of Yunnan Province, southeast of the Tibet Autonomous Region and southwest of Sichuan Province. It’s an important mountain range in the Hengduan Mountains, and it is also in the watershed of the Lancang River and Jinsha River. To better understand the amphibian and reptile biodiversity, potential threats, and promote regional protection, we conducted an assessment of amphibian and reptile diversity in Yunnan region of the Yunling Mountains.

    Methods: In 2019 and 2020, amphibians and reptiles were sampled along 239 line-transects and supplemented by other field meander surveys.

    Results: In total, 37 species of amphibians, belonging to 22 genera, 10 families, 2 orders, were observed, along with 44 species of reptiles, belonging to 25 genera, 10 families and 2 orders. The results of the diversity analysis showed that the number of species of amphibians and reptiles in Yunnan region of the Yunling Mountains were less than those in hot spots such as Xishuangbanna. In addition, reptiles were more abundant than amphibians, which may be due to elevation restrictions or missing the breeding period. More amphibian and reptile species were recorded at elevation of 2,200-2,300 m, suggesting more diversity of amphibians and reptiles at medium and high elevations. Habitat destruction and human disturbance were the main factors threatening the survival and reproduction of amphibians and reptiles in the non-protected areas of the Yunling Mountains. In addition, the non-native amphibian and reptile species need to be further monitored in order to develop invasion control measures.

    Conclusion: This study has documented the number of species of amphibians and reptiles in the Yunnan region of the Yunling Mountains identified population threats, and provided basic data for the protection of amphibian and reptile diversity in the area.

    Assessing advances in taxonomic research on Chlorellaceae (Chlorophyta)
    Huiyin Song, Zhengyu Hu, Guoxiang Liu
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22083.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022083
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    Background & Aims: Species of the Chlorellaceae family have been found in freshwater, marine, and terrestrial habitats all over the world. Organisms in the Chlorellaceae family are important in a variety of ecosystems, and because of important scientific and applied value, considerable research has been conducted on this family. The morphological characteristics of Chlorellacean members have been difficult to distinguish due to their small size, similar morphological structures, and strong phenotypic plasticity. This has resulted in difficulties in species identification and taxonomic research.

    Advances: With the application of DNA-based research methods, taxonomists have made a series of revisions to the taxonomy of the Chlorellaceae family, and members have changed considerably. There are now 48 genera and 258 species in the Chlorellaceae family. Taxonomists have identified additional issues, such as the uncertain taxonomic status of some genera and species, the polyphyletic origin of some genera, and the necessity to classify some new clades, that require additional research.

    Prospects: This article reviewed the history and current status of taxonomic research on the Chlorellacean family, existing taxonomic problems, as well as the status of genome data sequencing and its potential application for taxonomy, with the goal of providing a reference for future taxonomic research and utilization.

    The effect of foliar fungal pathogens on plant species coexistence: Progress and challenges
    Xiang Liu, Mu Liu, Yao Xiao
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22525.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022525
    Abstract ( 459 )   HTML ( 17 )   PDF (525KB) ( 411 )   Save
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    Background & Aims: Understanding how species coexist is a core question in community ecology that has long intrigued ecologists. Under the contemporary coexistence theory, the mechanisms that promote species coexistence are categorized into stabilizing and equalizing mechanisms. However, we know little about how foliar fungal pathogens affect stabilizing and equalizing mechanisms, despite being abundant and important.

    Progresses & Challenges: In this review, we briefly introduce the experimental evidence of how foliar fungal diseases promote plant species coexistence through conspecific negative density dependence (via stabilizing mechanisms) and growth-defense tradeoffs (via equalizing mechanisms), as well as how community-level foliar fungal pathogen removal affects plant species richness. We then discuss controversies surrounding this topic. These controversies mainly focused on the relative importance of foliar fungal pathogens in driving species coexistence compared to other factors, host specificity of foliar fungal pathogens, and methodological issues in related studies.

    Prospects: We highlight some open questions for future studies on this topic, including how climate change and soil nutrients affect the relationship between foliar fungal pathogens and species coexistence, the interactions between foliar fungal pathogens and other high trophic biomes impact upon species coexistence, inferring the effects of foliar fungal pathogens on plant community assembly based on phylogeny, and incorporating plant life histories into related studies.

    Conservation and Governance
    Nature-based solutions for addressing biodiversity loss and climate change: Progress, challenges and suggestions
    Jinzhou Wang, Jing Xu
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22496.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022496
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    Aims and Methods: Nature-based solutions (NbS) is a hot synergy approach to address the global environmental challenges, such as biodiversity loss and climate change, but there are controversies surrounding the negotiation of relevant conventions. Here we reviewed the resolutions and decisions on NbS of the World Conservation Congress (WCC), the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), and the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as well as the formal statements of the main Parties. We aimed to analyze the major progress and challenges of NbS implementation at global and national levels, and to propose countermeasures based on China’s national conditions.

    Review Results: By the active promotion of international organizations such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Parties such as European Union and its member states, the WCC and the UNEA have made positive progress in defining NbS and creating standards. However, during the negotiation process related to the CBD and the UNFCCC, Parties have different views on the implementation of NbS to synergistically address biodiversity loss and climate change. The technical explanation is the lack of a concrete and universal definition of NbS and its pathways agreed to by all Parties. Other possible reasons are that large developing country Parties prevent developed country Parties from (1) restricting the exploitation of natural resources and development of biological industries by defining the pathways of NbS; (2) transitioning the responsibility for “mitigation” from the UNFCCC to the CBD and shifting it to biodiversity-rich developing countries; (3) blurring the boundaries between climate and biodiversity action and funding, and thus reducing the opportunities for developing countries to seek international public funding for biodiversity conservation. As an active practitioner of NbS, China has incorporated NbS into national policies related to addressing climate change, and has carried out NbS practices such as ecological protection and restoration for decades. However, these policies and practices mainly focused on domestic ecological and environmental issues, which still lag behind China’s leadership in the global environmental governance and the expectations of the international community.

    Suggestions: In this regard, we suggest to (1) strengthen the cross-sectorial cooperation and improve the local NbS policies and practices; (2) promote the research of NbS pathways and define national standards; (3) carry out comprehensive evaluation of NbS to support natural financing and green trading; and (4) strengthen international exchanges and cooperation with NbS, balancing the concerns of all Parties.

    Progress of the Panama Meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
    Yan Zeng, Tuo He, Kun Zhang, Jing Liao, Jiang Zhu
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (2):  22687.  doi:10.17520/biods.2022687
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    Background: The 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP 19) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) took place in Panama from the 14th to the 25th of November 2022. The meeting was attended by 2,500 delegates representing more than 160 Parties and observers to the Convention. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted all CITES Parties and significantly disrupted the implementation of CITES. The CoP shared the actions and the experiences of the Parties, the Secretariat, the Committee members and observers in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Progress: Delegates reviewed 52 proposed amendments to the Appendices and discussed 91 agenda items. There was the highest proportion of proposals for new Appendix II species but the lowest number of revising annotation proposals the CoP 19 has considered in nearly 25 years. The CoP updated the regulation of international trade in over 600 species of animals and plants. In the adopted proposals, international trade in 50 species of freshwater turtles, 158 species of glass frogs, 100 species of sharks and rays, 150 species of trees and dozens of species of roseroots will be regulated as the newly revised lists are enforced. The CoP adopted the financing and the cost of the programme of work for the triennium 2023‒2025, with an overall budget being 6.1% higher compared to the triennium 2020‒2022. The Conference further refined compliance and enforcement requirements for elephants, big cats, totoaba and other wildlife species threatened with extinction. With the implementations of engagement of indigenous peoples and local communities, livelihoods-related issues have been relatively slow and hampered. Parties vigorously debated proposed amendments to the Rules of Procedure and criteria for the amendments of CITES Appendices, but no substantive amendments were adopted. A pilot version of the World Wildlife Trade Report and the Assessment Report on the Sustainable Use of Wild Species: Policy-Maker Summary were discussed and heard. CITES has added several new topics in the CoP to address new challenges, such as the role of CITES in reducing the risk of future zoonotic diseases associated with the international wildlife trade. The CoP 19 recommends interdisciplinary research to analyze the role of CITES in the conservation and sustainable use of forests. The Parties resolved to work on building gender equality into the international trade in wildlife, recognizing that women are often guardians of wildlife and biodiversity but, just as often, are not recognized or benefit from this trade.

    Prospects: Regardless of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s CITES authorities made thorough preparations for the CoP, conducting research two years in advance and drafting a proposal a report which was submitted to the CoP 19, organized pre-session and in-session consultations with scientific authorities, collected information from all parties, and actively led the discussions in working groups, presenting a positive view of China in prioritizing ecological civilization and fulfilling its responsibilities as a major country. CITES will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2023. The record 365 decisions in CoP 19 demonstrate that CITES Parties continue to take action to address the unprecedented pressures on species due to overexploitation and illegal trade.

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