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Table of Content
    Volume 31 Issue 12
    20 December 2023
    China Biodiversity Observation and Research Network (Sino BON), launched in 2013, is organized for monitoring dynamics of species and ecosystems and multiple trophic interaction. In this issue, the main monitoring results of Sino BON were systematically summarized in the past 10 years. The picture presents installations comprising an integrated space-air-ground, long-term automatic monitoring system, such as UAVs, thermal dissipation probe, forest tower cranes, infrared cameras, radio full-frequency tracking locators, and growth rings. (Photo providers: Tianyu Hu, Yun Deng, Wenhong Xiao, Cheng Li, Hu Du, Luyao Xiao, and Qidi Fu)
    Special Feature: Celebrating Alfred Russel Wallace’s Bicentenary
    The neglected giant: Alfred Russel Wallace
    Zhang Jian, Wang Zhiheng, Che Jing, Wang Yanping, Ma Keping
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (12):  23500.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023500
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    From natural selection to anthropogenic selection: Envisioning the Earth’s future standing on Wallace’s shoulders
    King Hen-biau
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (12):  23267.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023267
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    Alfred Russel Wallace is known for the “Wallace Line” in addition to his work on natural selection alongside Charles Darwin. This paper reviews Wallace’s contributions to evolution theory of life and the field of biogeography, which allow us to envision the Earth’s future by standing on the giant’s shoulders. Evolution theory of life marked the dawn of biology. Natural selection determines which genome types will progress down the path of evolution. Wallace proposed that geographic isolation and geological events are the two major driving forces of speciation. His work separating the Oriental region from the Australasian region in zoogeographic realm well illustrates natural selection in evolution theory. However, humans are drastically changing the Earth’s environment today. Under the pressure of anthropogenic selection, many species suffer from extinction, while some show abnormality in their evolution directions. The arrival of Anthropocene has ushered a new geological era after 3.7 billion years of natural selection, with anthropogenic selection emerging as a driving force in evolution of life. When human interventions impact the natural environment, can natural selection continue its course governing evolution of life? Or does anthropogenic selection also play a role? What happens to biodiversity and ecosystem sustainability and services if humans preside over evolution of life? In Anthropocene, anthropogenic selection competes with natural selection. Today’s genomic datasets may provide us a deeper understanding of evolution of life, and offer answers to many relevant questions.

    Wallace’s anthropological thought and its contemporary value
    Kang Min
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (12):  23304.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023304
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    Aims: Alfred Russel Wallace, a prominent naturalist and anthropologist of the 19th century, left a lasting legacy in the fields of anthropology and natural history. This paper aims to conduct a comprehensive review, reevaluation, and exploration of his anthropological theories and assess their contemporary relevance.

    Method: This research employs a qualitative research approach, with a specific focus on documentary analysis and the examination of life stories. The primary data sources include Wallace’s own papers, monographs, and autobiographical works published throughout his lifetime.

    Review results: Anthropological inquiry held a significant place within Wallace’s extensive eight-year expedition across the Malay Archipelago. Our examination reveals three key aspects of his work: (1) Wallace’s groundbreaking theory of human evolution, informed by natural selection and intertwined with teleological considerations, played a pivotal role in resolving the debates between monogenism and polygenism concerning human origins at the time. (2) Wallace’s contributions to field research methodologies not only enhanced the precision and credibility of empirical data but also elevated the importance of field research in scientific investigations. Furthermore, they contributed to the elevated social standing of naturalists engaged in such research. (3) Wallace’s humble and meticulous methodological approach has far-reaching implications. It can inspire a natural philosophy rooted in non-anthropocentrism, a scientific philosophy centered on synergistic and symbiotic systems, and a political philosophy emphasizing morality over economy. These insights hold profound relevance for addressing contemporary ecological and environmental crises.

    Wallace’s contributions and inspirations to contemporary research on the evolution of animal body color
    Cheng Wenda, Xing Shuang, Liu Yang
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (12):  23434.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023434
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    Background & Aims: Alfred Russel Wallace is widely known for his work alongside Charles Darwin on natural selection, and for his foundational work in biogeography. Specimen collecting in different regions and extensive knowledge of natural history enabled Wallace to explore the relationship between species traits and the associated environments in which they evolve. His work in the Malay Archipelago led to the establishment of what is now known in biogeography as the “Wallace Line”, which separates the Oriental Realm from the Australasian Realm in zoogeographic terms. Beyond these well-known achievements, this paper reviews Wallace’s contributions to the study of animal body coloration, in particular his pioneering articulation of animal coloration, including crypsis and mimicry in animals, and his initial proposal of the evolutionary mechanisms behind them.

    Progress: Wallace’s work on the division of animal body colors and their mechanisms is still relatively comprehensive. This is likely due to his extensive fieldwork, his collection of insect and bird specimens, and his deep understanding of the principles of natural selection. The definitions and hypotheses he proposed encouraged generations of ecologists to explore animal body colors through experiments and theoretical models. For instance, Wallace’s definition of protective colors has been confirmed by many classic behavioral experiments; his hypothesis on warning colors initiated Ronald Fisher’s theory on the evolution of aposematism; and his observations on the mimicry of insects and birds have led to several taxa becoming classical systems in understanding the evolution of trait convergence, which prompted later scholars to formulate compelling hypotheses explaining their functions and evolutionary trajectories. Remarkably, in some animal taxa the mimicry mechanism has been investigated at the genomic level, leading to recent confirmation that supergene (supergene) and adaptive introgression are important contributors in the mimicry patterns among multiple species.

    Prospects: As research methods continue to improve, Wallace’s work on the evolution of animal body coloration will continue to promote in-depth studies from contemporary scholars. In addition to quantifying body coloration more precisely and unravelling the mechanisms of body coloration from a genomic perspective, this paper emphasizes the need for more studies that concentrate on the distributional patterns and co-evolution of body coloration, which are still not clearly linked to how species adapt to their environments. This is a key area for further research, especially given today’s rapidly changing environment.

    Flora and vegetation of Yunnan are shaped by geological events and monsoon climate
    Zhu Hua
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (12):  23262.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023262
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    Background & Aims: Paleobotanical studies show that the basic patterns of modern flora and vegetation in Yunnan originated in the Paleogene. These findings have greatly changed our previous understanding of the origin and evolution of modern vegetation and flora in Yunnan. In this article, the formation and evolution of the modern flora and vegetation of Yunnan will be described by linking geological events to palaeobotanical findings. The proposed formation and evolution of the flora and vegetation of Yunnan are detailed by combining paleobotanical results with the history of geological events since the Cenozoic period and the formation of southwestern monsoon climate.

    Review Results: Flora and vegetation of Yunnan have a more ancient history than previously believed. Their formation and evolution have been clearly influenced by the geological events that have occurred since the Cenozoic period. The geographical patterns of Yunnan flora reveal that it had tropical origins and tropical-subtropical Tertiary flora of East Asia in the early stages but was influenced mainly by tropical Asian flora and north temperate flora in the later stages. The uplift of the Himalayan-Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the accompanying geological events directly affected the evolution of the flora in Yunnan. The development and strengthening of the southwest monsoon climate were the main factors for the formation of vegetation, and specifically tropical rain forest vegetation, in Yunnan. The tropical flora and vegetation (except flora and savanna-like vegetation in hot dry valleys) displayed an increasing bias distribution pattern from northwest to southeast in Yunnan, which could be directly affected by the clockwise rotation and southeast displacement of the Simao-Lanping geological plate and the northward displacement of the plate in North Myanmar. The differentiation of the flora of the subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forests in Yunnan was closely related to the Himalayan uplift in the late Miocene. The formation and strengthening of the southwest monsoon climate by further uplift of Himalayas further promoted the divergence of the subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forests. The evolution of savanna vegetation in the hot dry valleys of Yunnan was believed to be closely related to the geological events such as deep valley formations and river captures caused by the Himalayan uplift, and some representative plant species in the savannas showed a likeness with savannas in India and Africa. The discontinuous remnant tropical deciduous forests (monsoon forest) in Yunnan were believed to be closely associated with the tropical deciduous forests in mainland Southeast Asia during a more seasonal or arid period in or before the Pliocene to Pleistocene caused by a stronger monsoon. The sclerophyllous evergreen broad-leaved forest dominated by Quercus species (Fagaceae) was unique, Tethys-associated remnant vegetation evolved from the former tropical-subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forests in Yunnan. The present tropical rain forest was proposed to be the most recent vegetation type in Yunnan following the formation and strengthening of the southwest monsoon climate.

    Conclusion: Our research indicates that since the Oligocene, the evolution of flora and vegetation in Yunnan has been affected by the uplift of the Himalayas and the various accompanying geological events. The development and strengthening of southwest monsoon climate is the main factors for the formation of vegetation in Yunnan, especially for the occurrence of tropical rain forest.

    Biogeographic patterns in Southeast Asia: Retrospectives and perspectives
    Meng Honghu, Song Yigang
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (12):  23261.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023261
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    Background & Aims: The regions of Southeast Asia are recognized as global biodiversity hotspots that require conservation priority. Since the mid-19th century, Southeast Asia has been widely considered as one of the most important foundations of biogeography. This recognition stems from the groundbreaking field works of Alfred Russel Wallace, who spent eight years to extensively explore the regions and proposed the geographic distribution patterns of fauna in Malesia (or the Malay Archipelago). Wallace’s works in Southeast Asia, such as the famous “Wallace Line” and its distinct distribution patterns, established the region as a crucial cradle and frontier of biogeography. Also, such renowned works have garnered significant attention from numerous biogeographers and ecologists. Additionally, the unique geomorphology and abundant biodiversity in Southeast Asia have sparked a growing scientific interest, leading to an increasing number of studies that explored the biodiversity and geographic distribution patterns in the regions. The comprehension of geographic distribution patterns of biodiversity in Southeast Asia can enhance our understanding of the origination, evolution, and response of global biodiversity to environmental and climatic changes.

    Progress: In this review, we have undertaken a comprehensive synthesis of the primary biogeographic investigation conducted in Southeast Asia, spanning from the era of Alfred Russel Wallace to the present day. The main biogeographic studies in Southeast Asia are retrospectively reviewed and the existing problems are considered here.

    Conclusion: Several key findings of biogeography in Southeast Asia with the most important distribution patterns are listed as follows. Firstly, Southeast Asia, based on the boundary or delimitation, encompasses the Indochina Peninsula and Malesia, which consist of four distinct bioregions: Indochina, Sundaic, Philippines and Wallacea. Secondly, the biogeographic patterns with these regions, as well as the biogeographic relationships or patterns among regions are primarily influenced by the mechanism of vicariance, migration and dispersal. Thirdly, the difference in biogeographic boundaries, particularly along the Wallace Line, can be attributed to variations in the migration and dispersal capacity of plants and animals. Lastly, the biogeographic connections between Southeast Asia and Sahul are mainly driven by the exchanges of flora and fauna, with elements from both regions have been migrated to and from each other. This review presents some ideas and offers recommendations to address the unresolved challenges of the field of biogeography in Southeast Asia. In all, we hope this review serves as a link between past and future, intends to throw out a minnow to catch a whale, and facilitates the flourishing development of biogeography in Southeast Asia.

    A review on the nested distribution pattern (nestedness): Analysis methods, mechanisms and conservation implications
    Wang Yanping, Zhang Minchu, Zhan Chengxiu
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (12):  23314.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023314
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    Background & Aim: Nested distribution pattern (nestedness) is an important part of the theoretical framework of island biogeography and community ecology. Nestedness occurs when the species on the species-poor islands are appropriate subsets of the species on the species-rich islands. Understanding the nestedness pattern and its mechanistic basis has important implications for biodiversity conservation and can be used to direct management efforts. In the past four decades, a series of important progressions have been made in the nestedness pattern in the research fields of analysis methods, underlying mechanisms, and biodiversity conservation. The overall aim of this study is to review this rapidly developing literature of nestedness studies and provide comprehensive suggestions and guidelines for future studies.

    Review Results: We first introduced the history of how nestedness was developed and then analyzed the nestedness literature from different aspects, i.e. a comparison of publications among continents, countries, taxa, and time. Second, we introduced the analysis methods of nestedness in detail, including the various kinds of nestedness metrics and null models as well as their advantages and shortcomings. Third, we reviewed the five main hypotheses underlying nestedness, including passive sampling, selective extinction, selective colonization, habitat nestedness, and human disturbance. Furthermore, we introduced how to apply nestedness analyses to direct management efforts so as to effectively conserve biodiversity. Finally, we provided specific suggestions and guidelines for future nestedness studies, including selecting appropriate nestedness metrics and null models for nestedness analysis, testing multiple hypotheses underlying nestedness simultaneously, conducting more studies on functional nestedness and phylogenetic nestedness, and integrating nestedness with other related research fields such as the small-island effect.

    Conclusions: Our review will be helpful for a comprehensive understanding of the research progress of nestedness which will prove to be important for promoting the rapid development of this research field in China.

    A review of the small-island effect detection methods and method advancement
    Gao De, Wang Yanping
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (12):  23299.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023299
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    Background & Aim: The small-island effect (SIE) describes a phenomenon when below a certain threshold area, species richness varies independently of island size or increases at a lesser rate than for larger islands. The SIE has become a fundamental framework in biodiversity science and island biogeography because the area threshold of an SIE may be the turning point for many biogeographic patterns and ecological processes across spatial scales, and such phenomenon is significant in the research field of biodiversity conservation. In this paper, we first briefly introduce the relationship between the SIE and species-area relationships (SARs). Secondly, we summarize the five detection methods of SIEs found in the literature. Finally, we discuss the advantages and shortcomings of each detection method. We provide feasible suggestions for the accurate detection of an SIE to improve the theoretical framework in this field of research.

    Progress: Currently, five SIE detection methods have been published, including SAR shape comparison, breakpoint/piecewise regression, null model, path analysis, and a tree-based model. The following shortcomings for each method are presented. In the SAR shape comparison method, large islands may be outliers, causing the shape of the SAR curve to be poorly represented by a sigmoidal curve. In the piecewise regression method, the logarithmic data transformations may make the SIE just a statistical artifact. In the null model method, the randomization process ignores the differences in ecological characteristics between species, causing the island species richness expected values to have a reduced credibility. In the path analysis method, the habitat diversity is difficult to quantify and the SAR slope within the limits of the SIE may lower this method’s applicability. In the method of tree-based model, it is questionable whether the model split first with the independent variable of area. Moreover, an SAR may actually have two area thresholds which brings into question which threshold is best for model splitting.

    Perspective: To avoid the inadequacies of a specific method, we propose using multiple methods for SIE detection. An SIE in the system can only be considered when at least two methods simultaneously detect the SIE. In addition, improvements can be made to address the defects in the existing methods. For example, for the existing null model method, some restrictive conditions can be added to its randomization processes to make the expected results more reasonable.

    Nested assemblages of aphid species in the Thousand Island Lake: The importance of island area and host plant diversity
    Cai Chang, Zhang Xue, Zhu Chen, Zhao Yuhao, Qiao Gexia, Ding Ping
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (12):  23183.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023183
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    Aims: Nested subset pattern (nestedness) of species distributions is widespread in fragmented habitats. This study aims to explore the nested distribution pattern of aphid communities and the potential influencing mechanisms, including the effects of plant-aphid interaction and ant-aphid interaction on aphid community nesting structure, in the fragmented landscape of the Thousand Island Lake, China.

    Methods: We surveyed aphid communities on 18 land-bridge islands from May to August in both 2020 and 2021. Meanwhile, we surveyed host plant communities and mutualistic ant communities that have close interspecific interactions with aphid communities, along with integral plant communities in the aphid habitats. We analyzed the nestedness of the aphid communities and the integral plant communities by using NODF (nestedness metrics based on overlap and decreasing fill). We also used the random placement model to evaluate whether the passive sampling hypothesis played a major role in generating the nestedness of aphid communities. Moreover, we evaluated the role of island variables (island area and degree of isolation) in generating nestedness based on multiple linear regression. We also used the piecewise structural equation model to analyze the influence of island variables (island plant richness, host plant richness, and mutualistic ant richness) on the nestedness of aphid communities.

    Results: (1) Aphid assemblages were significantly nested in the Thousand Island Lake; (2) The nestedness of aphids was not caused by passive sampling; (3) The nestedness of aphid communities had a significantly positive correlation with island area in the Thousand Island Lake, which supports the hypothesis of selective extinction. The nestedness of integral plant communities also supports the hypothesis of habitat nestedness; (4) The piecewise structural equation models showed that the diversity of host plants had a significant and positive influence on the nested ranking of aphid assemblages.

    Conclusion: Our study showed that the nestedness of aphid communities in the Thousand Island Lake was driven by selective extinction and habitat nestedness, and the plant-aphid interaction, as an important intermediate factor, had a significantly direct effect on the nestedness. Therefore, the roles of interspecific interactions involving focus species should be fully considered when analyzing the underlying mechanism generating nested subset pattern.

    Island area and climate jointly impact seed plant richness patterns across the Zhoushan Archipelago
    Shang Xiaofan, Zhang Jian, Gao Haojie, Ku Weipeng, Bi Yuke, Li Xiupeng, Yan Enrong
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (12):  23392.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023392
    Abstract ( 267 )   HTML ( 5 )   PDF (4526KB) ( 246 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Aims: Islands are an ideal platform for investigating ecological processes that shape biodiversity assemblages because of their distinct boundaries. An island’s physical characteristics, climate, human impacts and other drivers shape an island’s biodiversity pattern by affecting species selection, dispersal and other processes. However, our knowledge around how such drivers concurrently affect island plant richness remains limited, especially on oceanic islands with strong human impacts.

    Methods: We complied a comprehensive plant distribution database across 92 islands in the Zhoushan Archipelago, the largest archipelago in China. We then used general linear regression and generalized linear model (pseudo-Poisson distribution) to evaluate the effects of island’s physical characteristics (area, isolation and shape index), climate (temperature, precipitation and seasonality) and human impacts on the richness of native seed plants, and across different growth forms and leaf phenology types. We also used beta regression to evaluate the influence of environmental variables on the ratio of evergreen broad-leaved woody plant richness to all broad-leaved woody plant richness.

    Results: In total, there were 1,158 seed plant species, including 108 tree species, 318 shrub species and 732 herbaceous species. The strongest driver of plant richness was island area, followed by isolation and annual precipitation. Tree richness decreased with increasing isolation, and this trend was most notable among trees than among shrubs and herbs. The richness of evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved woody plants was overall consistent with that of all plant richness. We found that annual precipitation had a stronger effect on evergreen broad-leaved woody than on deciduous, but the ratio of evergreen woody was only strongly affected by temperature seasonality.

    Conclusion: We found that island area, annual precipitation, and temperature seasonality are the primary determinants in shaping the richness patterns of all plants and different functional groups (growth forms and leaf phenology types) across the 92 islands of China’s Zhoushan Archipelago.

    Special Feature: Sino BON Tenth Anniversary
    The Chinese Forest Biodiversity Monitoring Network: 20-year achievements and outlook
    Xu Xuehong, Wang Weiwei, Mi Xiangcheng, Chen Lei, Ma Keping
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (12):  23354.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023354
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    Background: Long-term observation of large-scale forest dynamics plot may be one of the best ways to understand the community scale dynamics of forests. Chinese Forest Biodiversity Monitoring Network (CForBio) was started to establish in 2004, and it is one of the most active part of Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO). Large-scale forest dynamics plots of CForBio are typically with a size of 20 ha, with three to five auxiliary plots with the size of 1-3 ha distributed across different vegetation areas. A standard protocol has been implemented for censusing woody plants with DBH (diameter at breast height) ≥ 1 cm. The objectives of this network are to monitor the patterns and dynamics of biodiversity within typical zonal forests in China, and to investigate the mechanisms underlying the origin and maintenance of biodiversity in these forests.

    Review Results: This paper briefly introduces the overview of CForBio, the establishment of the large dynamics forest plot, data sharing, capacity building, major scientific findings, and evidence-based policy supports and biodiversity conservation. Continued efforts are crucial to enhance the monitoring and research activities of CForBio, broaden its thematic networks, and strengthen its capacity in the future.

    Perspectives: These endeavors will serve as the foundation for providing evidence-based support to policymakers and ensuring compliance with international conventions.

    Research progress and prospects of forest canopy science based on canopy cranes
    Song Liang, Wu Yi, Hu Haixia, Liu Wenyao, Nakamura Akihiro, Chen Yajun, Ma Keping
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (12):  23363.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023363
    Abstract ( 226 )   HTML ( 15 )   PDF (8111KB) ( 240 )   Save
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    Background & Aims: Forest canopies are one of the most species-rich habitats in the biosphere. However, the biodiversity, structure, and functional and ecological processes of the forest canopies remain understudied because of the three-dimensional spatial complexity of forests and the limitation of canopy access techniques. Canopy cranes have begun to close this gap by making canopies more accessible. Using canopy cranes, a series of research programs such as Investigating the Biodiversity of Soil and Canopy Arthropods (IBISCA), Tropical Canopy Biology Program (TCBP), Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE), and canopy warming experiments have been launched. These programs address the fundamental questions in biology, such as “how many species are there”, “where are they”, and “how do they respond to the changing environment”.

    Progress: This review first introduces canopy access techniques and the history of their development. Secondly, it summarizes the research progress of canopy research programs facilitated by canopy cranes with respect to the three aspects: biodiversity patterns, ecological processes in the forest canopies, and their responses and adaptations to global change. Finally, it addresses the important implications of canopy research programs including major discoveries driven by canopy access technologies, main research frameworks, and the regionalism and limitations of forest canopy science.

    Prospects: It is proposed that future canopy research should pay attention to the overall ecological structure and processes of the three continuous forest strata (canopy, understory, and soil). Multi-dimensional, global-scale data are needed to elucidate biodiversity patterns, ecological processes and their maintenance mechanisms, and the responses of forest canopies to multi-scale and multifaceted anthropogenic impacts through the integration of multivariate data from heterogeneous sources and artificial intelligence technology.

    Plan and construction progress of the Steppe and Desert Plants Diversity Observation Network
    Song Chuangye, Liu Changcheng, Guo Ke
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (12):  23383.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023383
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    Background & Aims: Focused on the predominant vegetation types in North China and the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, namely steppe and desert, this study delves into the unique and abundant biodiversity resources within these regions. The Steppe and Desert Plants Diversity Observation Network is one of the ten branches of the China Biodiversity Observation and Research Network. It endeavors to create permanent plots representing specific plant communities in areas with distinct vegetation alliances. Its objective is to conduct long-term monitoring of plant diversity dynamics at regular intervals

    Progress: Over the past five years, the Steppe and Desert Plants Diversity Observation Network has achieved significant milestones in monitoring plant diversity within steppe and desert ecosystems. This paper presents an overview of the plan and construction progress, encompassing aspects such as the layout of monitoring sites, plot arrangement, monitoring indicators, and data generation.

    Prospects: Looking ahead, the Steppe and Desert Plants Diversity Observation Network envisions advancements in three key areas: refining the spatial layout of monitoring sites, constructing an automated monitoring system and conducting research on the dynamics of plant diversity. These initiatives aim to comprehensively elevate the research standards and scientific service capabilities of steppe and desert biodiversity science in China. Additionally, they will furnish essential data support for biodiversity research and conservation efforts.

    Construction of Sino BON Mammal Diversity Monitoring Network (Sino BON- Mammal): A 10-year review and future outlook
    Xiao Wenhong, Li Xueyou, Quan Ruichang, Lian Xinming, Li Ming, Nie Yonggang, Xiang Zuofu, Yang Weikang, Xu Feng, Wang Jie, Zhou Qihai, Fan Pengfei, Yang Xifu, Liu Wei, Sun Yuehua, Zhang Libiao, Huang Zhipang, Huang Hua, Fan Zongji, Xiao Zhishu
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (12):  23326.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023326
    Abstract ( 438 )   HTML ( 6 )   PDF (1693KB) ( 353 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Background & Aim: With high diversity, wide distribution, and close relationships with humans, mammals play an irreplaceable role in maintaining the stability and balance of ecosystems. China has some of the richest ecosystem and mammal diversity in the world. However, the status of wildlife resources in most of these ecosystems is still not well understood as many regions lack valid records or long-term monitoring data. With such rapid global change, the protection of mammals in China is facing significant challenges.

    Review Results: Sino BON Mammal Diversity Monitoring Network (Sino BON-mammal) was started in 2011. Aligning the national strategic needs in the context of global biodiversity protection, Sino BON-mammal built a nationwide monitoring network covering a total of 55 sites and published more than 180 articles and books. Sino BON-mammal has generated approximately 7.75 million camera-trap images with a survey effort of over 1.56 million camera-days and promoted the establishment of a standardized technical system and a public data service platform for mammal diversity monitoring. Additionally, Sino BON-mammal conducted long-term monitoring and studies on mammal community composition, population dynamics, behavioral changes and driving factors, providing data and technological support for the protection of important wildlife resources and the control of pests in China. This paper systematically reviews the progress of Sino BON-mammal in monitoring and research methods, species discovery and inventory, behavior and physiology, population and community dynamics, interspecific relations, and conservation management.

    Perspectives: It is necessary to integrate research disciplines and technology across multiple scales, dimensions, and trophic levels in the future. An integrated approach will enhance the scientific and technological support and services necessary to develop the comprehensive and profound understanding needed to maintain mammal biodiversity and coping with the global crisis of biodiversity loss.

    Progress and prospect of Chinese biodiversity monitoring of amphibians and reptiles
    Li Cheng, Jiang Jianping, Xie Feng, Zhao Tian, Che Jing, Li Yiming, Du Weiguo, Yang Weikang, Xu Feng
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (12):  23382.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023382
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    Background & Aims: Amphibians and reptiles are important indicators of ecosystem health, and they are vulnerable to changes in the environment. Many of their populations are undergoing rapid decline and species extinction in the worldwide. A recent assessment of Red List of China’s Vertebrates found that 37.05% of amphibians and 30.5% of reptiles are threatened. Therefore, building a national biodiversity monitoring network, to research and analyze the trend and threats of amphibians and reptiles is a prerequisite for conservation. As part of the Chinese Biodiversity Monitoring and Research Network (Sino BON), the Sino BON-Amphibian & Reptile has covered 11 key areas with rich biodiversity and high habitat heterogeneity across China. This program aims to combine intensive field surveys and ecological modeling techniques to evaluate population dynamics and community structures of amphibian and reptile species in the study areas.

    Review Results: Currently, the Sino BON-Amphibian & Reptile adheres to focusing on the research of amphibian and reptile diversity. A total of 16 species were newly discovered in China, including 13 new species and 3 national new record species. Significant progress has been made in the national need for the protection of Critically Endangered amphibian (CR) Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) and Endangered (EN) amphibian Taliang crocodile newt (Liangshantriton taliangensis), the environmental DNA (eDNA) technology and radio tracking technology applied in wild, the ecological impact of desertification habitats on reptiles, and invasive alien species, which have provided strong scientific support for protecting biodiversity of amphibians and reptiles in China.

    Prospects: For further progresses, it is still necessary to continuously enhance monitoring and research on amphibians and reptiles, strengthen monitoring network construction and application of advanced technologies, emphasize the protection of amphibians and reptiles from the level of laws and regulations, establish and optimize the protected areas, and implement the necessary ex situ and in situ conservation, so as to achieve more effective protection of rare amphibian and reptile resources.

    Progress of monitoring and research of China Inland Water Fish Biodiversity Observation Network
    Gao Xin, Zhao Yahui, Tian Fei, Wang Xiaoai, Li Mingzheng, Lin Pengcheng, Chang Tao, Yu Dan, Liu Huanzhang
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (12):  23427.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023427
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    Background & Aims: There are 1,591 fish species in China’s inland waters, which accounts for 10% of the inland water fish species in the world. However, the development of the fish diversity monitoring in China’s inland water has still lagged and the long-term continuous and comprehensive monitoring networks and platforms has been scared. The China inland water fish biodiversity observation network (CIWF-BON) is the first nationwide network built for monitoring fish diversity of the inland waters in China. The purpose of this paper is to give a thorough overview of the achievement and to highlight the operations and duties of CIWF-BON.

    Progress: The network has established the first national database of the inland water fish biodiversity and collects and preserves more than ten thousand fish specimens and the fish diversity data from important river basins, including the data sets of fish species diversity, early resources, genetic diversity, and biology of important fish species, and so on. The network also has established technical specifications for monitoring fish diversity in inland waters in China based on the synthesis of the conventional and novel monitoring methods to promote the standardization of collecting fish diversity data and enhance the possibility of analyzing large-scale data. The Chishui River Rare and Endemic Fish Conservation and Aquatic Biodiversity Observation and Research Station of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has been built to further monitor the fish diversity of the Chishui River and undertake the research on the protection and restoration of fish resources in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River basin.

    Findings: Based on the long-term monitoring data, the network has systematically researched the distribution pattern, change, and the impact factors of the fish communities in the important rivers, the characteristics of reproductive biology and reproductive impact mechanisms of the endangered fish Chinese sturgeon (Acipenser sinensis), the environmental conditions of the four major Chinese carps reproduction in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, as well as the biological characteristics of the endemic fish. The results show that the human activities, such as overfishing, dams, and invasive species, have caused significant changes in fish community structure of the important river basins. Large water conservancy and hydropower projects in the mainstream of the Yangtze River have caused the sharp decline in the population of Chinese sturgeon and seriously influence the breeding activities, making the wild population critically endangered. After the impoundment of the Three Gorges Reservoir, the eggs and larval of the four major Chinese carps (FMCC) are significantly decreased from 1997 to 2012 in the middle Yangtze River. The first spawning dates of FMCC in the Yichang reach delayed by about 21 days and the number of the eggs is changed with first decreasing and then increasing. The results lay the data foundation and provide the scientific evidence for the important national missions and policies, such as assessing the ecological impact of the Three Gorges Project, the ten-year fishing closure on the Yangtze River, the ecological and environmental protection of the Chishui River, and the conservation of the Chinese sturgeon, and so on.

    Suggestions: To advancing the construction of the national observation network, we suggest to increase investment and establish observation stations, to promote data sharing and regional cooperation, and to conduct research and application of novel technologies and methods.

    Interannual stability in butterfly diversity and the larvae-plant interaction network structure at Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden
    Wang Chaoya, Li Jintao, Liu Chang, Wang Bo, Miao Baige, Peng Yanqiong
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (12):  23305.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023305
    Abstract ( 193 )   HTML ( 3 )   PDF (2934KB) ( 209 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Aims: Butterflies hold global significance as biological resources that are sensitive to environmental changes, making them an important indicator species for monitoring biodiversity and reflecting environmental changes. This study aims to investigate the interannual variability of butterfly communities and the interaction of the larvae-plant relationship at Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG), elucidating the change patterns in community structure and diversity.

    Methods: Three distinct habitats were selected, and butterfly diversity was investigated alongside 2 km transects sampling over a period of six years. Moreover, butterfly larvae and their feeding on plants were identified and recorded.

    Results: A total of 15,826 butterflies belonging to 5 families, 146 genera, and 251 species were recorded on three transect lines at XTBG. The Nymphalidae exhibited the highest numbers of 56 genera and 112 species, while the Papilionidae had the lowest with 8 genera and 21 species. The Nymphalidae also showed the highest Shannon and Simpson diversities, while those of Pieridae were the lowest but exhibited the highest species dominance. The community included a total of 20 dominant species, 100 rare species and 131 common species. In the adult stage, the dynamic occurrence of butterfly species and individual abundance peaks occurred during the rainy season, with no significant interannual climatic impact on species diversity of the butterfly community. Both species composition and abundance showed no significant variation among the years, with interannual beta diversity demonstrating stable species overlap. Furthermore, butterfly larvae often feed on species-specific plants, forming feeding networks with native plants that display higher weighted nestedness and robustness compared to the networks formed with non-native plants, suggesting that the larvae-native plant network is more stable.

    Conclusion: This research sheds light on the interannual variation pattern of butterfly community structure and diversity at XTBG. Our results showed that the butterfly communities exhibited interannual stability. The larvae-plant networks were constructed to exhibit the high specialization and had different structural traits between larvae-native and larvae-non-native plants. The results of this study provides scientific basis for the protection of butterfly diversity and supports the need for further research on the butterfly and plant interactions.

    Advances and prospects of the thematic monitoring network of soil fauna diversity in China
    Xie Zhijing, Liu Xiangyu, Sun Xiaoming, Liu Jiliang, Liu Zhanfeng, Zhang Xiaoke, Chen Jun, Yang Xiaodong, Zhu Bo, Ke Xin, Wu Donghui
    Biodiv Sci. 2023, 31 (12):  23365.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023365
    Abstract ( 152 )   HTML ( 4 )   PDF (389KB) ( 177 )   Save
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    Background: Soil animals, essential components of terrestrial ecosystems, play a crucial role in regulating the structural and functional integrity of ecosystems. They significantly contribute to maintenance of biodiversity, energy flow, and nutrient cycles. Unfortunately, the persistent impacts of climate change and human activities have resulted in the degradation of soil animal diversity, escalating the risk of extinction for soil biota. Recognizing the urgency of this situation, there is a growing emphasis on monitoring, protecting, and restoring soil animal diversity. In response to this imperative, the Soil Organisms Monitoring Network was officially established in 2016 as a prominent component of the China Biodiversity Monitoring and Research Network (Sino BON). This network encompasses various ecosystems, such as forests, farmland, islands, and desert, and has established a robust foundation for advancing standardization, data sharing, and multi-scale biodiversity change assessments.

    Progress: This study delineates the inception and development of the global soil animal diversity monitoring network in the 21st century, with a specific focus on the goals and representative research progress within the context of the Chinese network. Furthermore, it offers insights into the collection and identification of soil animal specimens on a national scale, monitoring activities in typical mountainous vertical natural zones, dynamic tracking of large fixed sample plots, and long-term controlled experimental plots dedicated to soil animal diversity. This study aims to summarize the progress and shortcomings of soil animal monitoring in China and promote the further development of soil animal monitoring. We look forward to future research directions and providing a solid foundation for enhancing the understanding of the multi-scale spatial patterns of soil animal diversity, elucidating maintenance mechanisms, promoting the protection of soil animal diversity, and facilitating the rational utilization of resources. The ultimate goal is to provide essential data support for informed decision-making in environmental conservation and sustainable resource management.

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