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Table of Content
    Volume 32 Issue 5
    20 May 2024
    Ocean biogeography research is critical for understanding the distribution of marine animals as well as the evolution of ecosystem structure and function at spatio-temporal scale in the face of climate change. In this issue, Dong et al (23453) reviewed the development of marine biogeography in China and discussed the relevant hot topics via the lens of species distribution models. The illustration shows a topographic map of the Pacific Ocean and adjacent seas, and representative species from different habitats. From left to right and top to bottom, the species are: Hippocampus spinosissimus, Trapezia rufopunctata, Chrysomallon squamiferum, Oratosquilla oratoria, Nerita yoldii, Alepes melanoptera, and Cyanea sp. (Image drawn and provided by Yunwei Dong, Lisha Hu, Menghuan Bao, Chunlong Liu, Jin Sun, Jiao Cheng, Jianguo Du, Geng Qin, Zhixin Zhang; map from (C) Michael Schmeling,
    Special Feature: Biodiversity Conservation Regulations and Policies
    Reflections on biodiversity legislation in China’s new era
    Fuwei Zhao, Yingshuo Li, Hui Chen
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (5):  24027.  doi:10.17520/biods.2024027
    Abstract ( 209 )   PDF (862KB) ( 151 )   Save
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    Background:China boasts abundant biodiversity, positioning it among the world’s most biologically diverse nations. Despite notable strides in biodiversity conservation at both national and international levels, evidenced by China’s leadership in advancing the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, domestic biodiversity legislation has conspicuously lagged behind these advancements over the past decade.   

    Review results:The State has issued a series of laws and regulations, including the Forest Law, the Wild Animals Protection Law, and the Seed Law, addressing various aspects of biodiversity, encompassing ecosystems, species, and genetic diversity. These laws primarily aim at conservation while considering the rational utilization of resources, thereby laying the groundwork for a preliminary legal framework for biodiversity management. However, despite these efforts, the existing biodiversity-related legislation remains significantly inadequate in meeting the requirements of modernization for fostering harmonious coexistence between humans and nature. This inadequacy is attributed to outdated legislative concepts, insufficient systematic legislation, and the incomplete composition of key legal systems.

    Recommendations: In light of the forthcoming Ecological and Environmental Code, the State should endeavor to establish a comprehensive legal framework for biodiversity in this forthcoming Code that encompasses all three levels of biodiversity: ecosystems, species, and genetic diversity. This legal system should fully ensure the achievement of all the objectives of biodiversity conservation, sustainable use of its components, and equitable benefit-sharing in a balanced manner. To achieve this, a scientifically grounded and logically structured legislative framework with comprehensive and systematic institutional components is imperative. Embracing the concept of the earth’s life community and the harmonious coexistence between humans and nature, China must strive to lead global biodiversity governance.
    Biodiversity conservation in China: Policy evolution, main measures and development trends
    Yingli Cai, Hongge Zhu, Jiaxin Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (5):  23386.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023386
    Abstract ( 248 )   PDF (1674KB) ( 197 )   Save
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    Background & Aims: Biodiversity conservation stands as a critical imperative for China’s ecological security and the advancement of an ecological civilization. It also represents a vital public welfare endeavor crucial for fostering sustainable development. Despite significant efforts, China’s biodiversity conservation efforts continue to confront substantial challenges, including habitat fragmentation, declining habitat quality, and the proliferation of invasive species. Existing biodiversity conservation policies have thus far fallen short of effectively reversing the overarching trend of biodiversity loss. In light of these challenges, this paper seeks to explore the visionary objectives of biodiversity conservation in China. It analyzes the evolutionary trajectory of China’s biodiversity conservation policies, highlights key measures implemented, and outlines the development trend of biodiversity conservation development in the country.

    Policy evolution: To reconcile the delicate balance between conservation and development imperatives, the state has implemented a diverse array of plans, strategies, notifications, and measures. Beginning with the protection of individual species, China has progressively expanded and refined the scope, objectives, and strategies of biodiversity conservation, gradually crafting a comprehensive policy framework for biodiversity conservation. Reflecting the evolving focus on conservation targets, China’s biodiversity protection has transitioned from single-species protection and classification-based approaches to a more holistic and integrated conservation paradigm. Furthermore, biodiversity conservation efforts have been systematically integrated into various national plans, facilitating comprehensive protection across diverse ecosystems and species. Consequently, China’s biodiversity conservation journey can be delineated into three distinct stages: the nascent phase (pre-1994), the rapid development stage (1994‒2010), and the ongoing in-depth improvement stage (2010‒present).

    Main measures: In general, China has implemented a variety of conservation and restoration measures, resulting in notable successes across multiple fronts. These measures can be broadly characterized as direct protection, prevention and control, and sustainable use. Initially, biodiversity conservation efforts primarily focused on direct protection measures. However, over time, there has been a discernable shift towards a more comprehensive approach, encompassing a combination of direct conservation strategies, prevention, control measures, and sustainable utilization practices.

    Development trends: To advance the establishment of a robust biodiversity conservation policy framework and elevate the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation efforts, it is imperative to achieve alignment, or the “three fits”, between biodiversity conservation and territorial spatial planning, the advancement of information technology, and the formulation of national strategies. By ensuring coherence and synergy, it is envisaged that this approach will facilitate the attainment of biodiversity conservation objectives and realize the vision of harmonious coexistence between humans and nature by 2050.

    Common elements, deficiencies, and optimization suggestions of biodiversity conservation policies in China
    Dekui Yan
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (5):  23293.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023293
    Abstract ( 135 )   PDF (971KB) ( 104 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Background & Aim: China has formulated policies for biodiversity conservation, which have helped to advance and normalize biodiversity conservation on a broad scale. However, the national biodiversity conservation provisions are somewhat ambiguous, and certain municipal governments have subsequently released their own biodiversity protection policies. This paper aims to review the common elements and deficiencies in biodiversity conservation policies in China. It suggests improvements based on the current situation of biodiversity conservation in China.

    Review results: By analyzing 40 biodiversity conservation policy documents, we draw the following conclusions: (1) Research, monitoring, assessment, conservation space optimization, oversight, governance, and safeguard measures are common components found in the selected biodiversity conservation policy texts. (2) Some provincial and municipal biodiversity protection regulations have their own characteristics and provide specific implementation plans for biodiversity protection. (3) The majority of provincial and city-level biodiversity conservation policies face issues with evasive monitoring, assessment, and investigation; conflicting views on balancing development and conservation over spatial demarcation; relatively homogenous supervisory and governance measures; and a deficiency of relevant and practical safeguards.

    Recommendations: It is suggested that the following factors should be addressed when modifying and strengthening biodiversity conservation policies in the future; (1) Establishing an effective biodiversity inquiry, monitoring, and assessment mechanism; (2) Integrating the principle of sustainable development into the spatial delineation of biological resources conservation; (3) Developing a multifaceted and comprehensive biodiversity monitoring and governance mechanism; and (4) To create and improve safeguards that are relevant to the local circumstances.

    Chinese public liability insurance for wildlife accidents: Development models, realistic dilemmas, and optimization strategy
    Tao Qin, Ronghe Cui, Rui Song, Lisha Fu
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (5):  23431.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023431
    Abstract ( 118 )   PDF (1150KB) ( 101 )   Save
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    Background & Aims: Wildlife conservation is a key measure to maintain biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources, and the construction of a risk protection system with public liability insurance for wildlife accidents as the core is of great value for maintaining the stability of the ecosystem and promoting the harmonious coexistence of man and nature. This paper selects different types of wildlife accident insurance projects in Greece, the United States, Italy, Canada, Pakistan and other countries for analysis and comparison, and systematically sorts out the development model and typical cases of public liability insurance for wildlife accidents in China, and conducts in-depth discussions on the realistic dilemmas and optimization strategy of wildlife accident insurance in China.
    Review results: It is found that China’s wildlife accident insurance has not yet formed a unified insurance product system that meets China’s national conditions and the actual needs of regions, and many constraints are faced in the process of insurance pilot in various regions, such as difficulties in raising premiums, limited application of business models, imperfect insurance system, unreasonable pricing mechanism, cumbersome investigation and damage assessment procedures, and limited level of technology application.
    Suggestions & Perspective: Therefore, it is urgent to build a linkage mechanism for premium subsidies between the central and local governments as soon as possible, explore a development model suitable for nationwide application, optimize the insurance product system, establish a dynamic pricing mechanism, formulate survey and loss assessment standards, and improve the level of insurance technology application.

    Original Papers: Plant Diversity
    Vascular epiphyte diversity and the correlation analysis with host tree characteristics: A case in a mid-mountain moist evergreen broad-leaved forest, Ailao Mountains
    Yanyu Ai, Haixia Hu, Ting Shen, Yuxuan Mo, Jinhua Qi, Liang Song
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (5):  24072.  doi:10.17520/biods.2024072
    Abstract ( 113 )   PDF (853KB) ( 105 )   Save
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    Aims: Vascular epiphytes have a significant contribution to maintaining biodiversity, carbon storage, ecological hydrology and nutrient flux in a forest ecosystem. Assessing the diversity pattern of epiphytes thus can provide a basis for community assembly mechanism, conservation and resource utilization of epiphytes in the context of global change. In this context, we aimed to analyze the species and phylogenetic diversity including the phylogenetic structure of vascular epiphytes, and their correlations with host characteristics in the subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest in the Ailao Mountains, Southwest China.  

    Methods: Using a built-in canopy crane, we observed 311 individuals of dominant host trees in the 1.44 ha permanent plot and recorded the occurrence of vascular epiphytes including host tree identity, diameter at breast height (DBH) and tree height. Afterward, species richness (S), phylogenetic diversity (PD) and phylogenetic structure (net nearest taxa index (NTI) and net relatedness index (NRI)) of vascular epiphytes and their correlation with DBH, height and species of host trees were evaluated.

    Results:A total of 62 species of vascular epiphytes belonging to 26 families and 44 genera were found. Remarkably, significant positive correlations were found between the epiphyte species richness and PD with the host DBH and height (P < 0.001). No significant correlations were detected between standard phylogenetic diversity (SES.PD) and species richness. The species richness and PD of epiphytes in Stewartia pteropetiolata were significantly lower than in other host species (P < 0.001). However, SES.PD significantly increased with the increase in host DBH (P < 0.05) and decreased with the increase in host height (P < 0.05). The phylogenetic structures of epiphytes on the Castanopsis wattii and Michelia floribunda were divergent, while epiphytes on the Lithocarpus xylocarpus and Stewartia pteropetiolata were clustered. Epiphytes on the other host trees did not show any phylogenetic structural pattern.

    Conclusion: Host tree characteristics, including host size and host species differences, are the key factors that maintain the diversity pattern of vascular epiphytes. These results can provide a solid foundation for future analysis of the pattern and maintenance mechanism of epiphyte diversity from multiple dimensions and perspectives.
    Species diversity and community assembly of woody plants at different life history stages during the natural restoration of degraded karst forests
    Yongqiang Zhao, Xiyu Yan, Jiaqi Xie, Mengting Hou, Danmei Chen, Lipeng Zang, Qingfu Liu, Mingzhen Sui, Guangqi Zhang
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (5):  23462.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023462
    Abstract ( 90 )   PDF (1623KB) ( 85 )   Save
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    Aim: Understanding the variations in biodiversity patterns and underlying rules of community assembly during natural restoration is the foundation of regional ecological restoration and conservation. However, most studies have focused on zonal vegetation, while azonal vegetation (e.g. karst forest) has been neglected, which severely limits regional ecological restoration and forest management.  

    Method: We established plots in the natural restoration areas of degraded karst forests within the Maolan National Nature Reserve. We compared the species diversity, species composition, and community assemble of woody plants across stages of life history and natural restoration.

    Results: The findings showed an initial increase and then stabilization trend in species diversity in the natural restoration areas of degraded karst forests. Furthermore, the species richness of seedlings gradually decreased, while richness of adult trees increased. The species composition of seedlings, saplings, and adult trees in early succession stages gradually converged to that of the old-growth forest stage.

    Conclusion: The natural restoration process of degraded karst forests exhibit a specific trend in species composition. These findings will provide valuable insights into the mechanisms governing species diversity maintenance and community assembly in degraded forest ecosystems.
    Temporal and spatial trends in NDVI of vegetation in water level fluctuation zone and drivers along an altitude gradient in the Yarlung Zangbo River Basin
    Yao Zhang, Junyao Sun, Wei Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (5):  23432.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023432
    Abstract ( 44 )   PDF (15121KB) ( 21 )   Save
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    Aim:The important question of how riparian vegetation adapts to climatic and river hydrological changes is gaining global attention. Yet, the impact of snow and frequency of water level fluctuation on vegetation in the water level fluctuation zones remains underexplored. This study focuses on the response of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) of riparian vegetation to climatic and hydrological changes in the basin of Yarlung Zangbo River, with an emphasis on understanding the impacts of snow and water level fluctuations in alpine fluctuation zones.  

    Method: This study employed Theil-Sen Median trend analysis and Mann-Kendall test to evaluate spatiotemporal vegetation trends utilizing NDVI as a key indicator from 1990 to 2022 in the Yarlung Zangbo River Basin, focusing on both the water level fluctuation zone and the adjacent 1–5 km buffer zones. A generalized linear model was used to quantify influencing factors including temperature, precipitation, snow water equivalent, and frequency of water level fluctuation.

    Results:The spatial distribution of riparian vegetation’s NDVI demonstrated lower values in the northwest and higher in the southeast. Temporally, a notable fluctuating upward trend in NDVI was observed, reaching its peak in 2002 (0.16) and its bottom in 2022 (0.06). The annual NDVI progression revealed a consistent increase at mid-to-high altitudes, contrasting with the downstream areas’ sustained and irregular declines. Altitudinal analysis indicated that the decrease in NDVI varied in both the water level fluctuation and buffer zones, but was especially prominent between 1,500–3,000 m. The frequency of water level fluctuations stood out as the primary determinant for riparian NDVI, while temperature predominantly influenced the buffer zone’s NDVI. Additionally, the role of snow water equivalent in explaining NDVI became increasingly significant with elevation.

    Conclusion:Vegetation in the water level fluctuation zone is influenced by various climatic and environmental factors, with water level fluctuations being pivotal. The importance of snow intensifies with increasing altitude, underscoring its significance in the spatial-temporal vegetation distribution.

    Original Papers: Animal Diversity
    Short-term effects of warming and wetting on the soil nematode communities in the alpine meadow
    Zhu Yao, Xue Wei, Jinhao Ma, Xiao Ren, Yuying Wang, Lei Hu, Pengfei Wu
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (5):  23483.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023483
    Abstract ( 101 )   PDF (2501KB) ( 67 )   Save
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    Aim: Since the late 1980s, the climate on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau has become warm and humid. Soil nematodes are highly sensitive to environmental changes and used broadly as bioindicators to reflect habitat change. The aim of this study is to assess the effects of climate warming and increased precipitation on the structure and ecological dynamics of soil food webs in alpine meadows situated on the eastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.  

    Method: Four distinct treatments were implemented in an alpine meadow located in Northwest Sichuan in May 2020. These modifications involved increasing precipitation by 50% (P50), increasing local temperature by 2℃ (T2), increasing both precipitation by 50% and local temperature by 2℃ (P50+T2), or a natural alpine meadow with no environmental alteration (CK). The investigations were conducted on taxonomic composition, density, diversity and trophic groups of soil nematode communities, coverage and species richness of plant communities, and soil properties in the plots of each treatment in September 2022. Different treatment effects on the soil nematode communities were analysed by One-way ANOVA and t-test, and the redundancy analysis and correlation analysis were employed to explore the relationships between nematode communities and soil properties as well as the characteristics of plant communities.

    Results:The findings revealed: (1) The density and diversity of nematode communities treated with P50 showed an increasing trend. A total of 37 genera of nematodes, including Helicotylenchus and Diplogsteroides, were eradicated from T2 treatments. This led to a significant decrease in the density, taxonomic richness and Shannon diversity of the local soil nematode community while showing a significant increase in the Simpson dominance index. The density of nematode communities increased significantly in the 0–10 cm soil layer and decreased significantly in the 10–20 cm layer in the P50+T2 plots. (2) The density of fungivores, plant-parasites and predators-omnivores was increased in the 0–10 cm soil layer of P50 treatment but was reduced for bacterivores. In the T2 treatment, the density of each trophic group nematodes in 0–10 cm soil layer was decreased. Additionally, the restrain effect of warming was weaker on the bacterivores and fungivores compared to the plant parasites and predators-omnivores, which resulted in an overall increased relative density (or individual percentage) of bacterivores and fungivores. Notably, the P50+T2 condition significantly elevated the density of fungivores in the 0–10 cm layer and reduced the density of bacterivores and plant-parasites in the 10–20 cm layer. (3) The density and diversity of nematode communities were positively correlated with soil moisture and plant coverage, and were negatively correlated with the content of nitrate nitrogen.

    Conclusion: This study underscores the varied responses of soil nematodes to precipitation and temperature fluctuations, with the density and diversity of soil nematode communities in the topsoil layer being suppressed by two-year warming but promoted by the increased precipitation, or simultaneous increments of precipitation and temperature.
    Species diversity and geographical distribution of marine benthic shell-bearing mollusks around Donghai Island and Naozhou Island, Guangdong Province
    Qiyu Kuang, Liang Hu
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (5):  24065.  doi:10.17520/biods.2024065
    Abstract ( 79 )   PDF (629KB) ( 90 )   Save
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    Aims:Marine benthic shell-bearing mollusks are one of the most important components of marine benthic fauna and one of the key groups influencing marine ecosystem and sediments. The west coast of Guangdong is located in the Northern South China Sea (NSCS) and is rich in marine benthic shell fauna. However, it is also the area with a great lack of surveys of the marine benthic shell fauna, which seriously hinders the development of geographical divisions of offshore benthic fauna. Donghai Island and Naozhou Island have been well studied in terms of marine benthic mollusks. They are also the key areas to reveal the geographical pattern of benthic animals in the NSCS. Here we aim to report on the species diversity and geographical distribution of benthic mollusks found on the coast of the two islands and adjacent waters.  

    Methods: Based on historical records from previous studies, historical specimens preserved in the collection of the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, and more than 2,600 specimens collected in 2021–2023 by the School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, an up-to-date checklist of known marine benthic shelled mollusks living around Donghai Island and Naozhou Island was compiled. The geographical distribution patterns of all species were analysed based on their northern limits in the East Asian continental shelf.

    Results: A total of 207 species from 144 genera and 73 families were identified in the field collections. Thirty-eight of these were new to the area. So far, a total of 602 benthic mollusks from 330 genera and 115 families have been recorded in the waters around Donghai Island and Naozhou Island, making this area the most species-rich area on the continental coast of the NSCS in terms of marine benthic shell-bearing mollusks. Of the 602 benthic mollusk species, 26.2% were tropical warm-water species, 49.3% were tropical-subtropical warm-water species and 24.4% were eurythermal species. The number of species that were also recorded in the nearshore waters of Hainan, the Gulf of Beibu and Eastern Guangdong accounted for 89.0%, 80.2% and 80.2% of the total species, respectively.

    Conclusion: The results show that the coast of Donghai Island, Naozhou Island and the adjacent waters are rich in marine benthic shell-bearing mollusks. The shell fauna here has typical tropical characteristics and is most closely related to that of Hainan Island. It is recommended that these two areas could be placed in the same ecoregion with regard to the bioregionalization of the coastal and shelf benthic fauna. The present work enriches the benthic shell-bearing mollusks in the sea east of Leizhou Peninsula and provides up-to-date data to support the bioregionalization of benthic fauna in the NSCS.

    Technology and Methodology
    Rare bird recognition method in Beijing based on TC-YOLO model
    Baican Li, Junguo Zhang, Changchun Zhang, Lifeng Wang, Jiliang Xu, Li Liu
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (5):  24056.  doi:10.17520/biods.2024056
    Abstract ( 134 )   PDF (15711KB) ( 100 )   Save
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    Aim: Bird recognition is an important means to protect birds, and traditional bird recognition mainly relies on manual labor, which has high costs, high professional technical requirements, and certain limitations. With the development of artificial intelligence technology, the use of deep learning technology to automatically identify birds has become an important means of bird survey and protection. However, the actual bird images are characterized by a complex background and the similar appearance of birds of similar families, resulting in poor model recognition accuracy.
    Methods: To address the above problems, this paper proposed a bird recognition method based on TC-YOLO. First, in order to solve the problem of missed detection caused by complex background in bird recognition, the method in this paper combined the CARAFE (content-aware reassembly of features) mechanism to adaptively generate the upsampling kernels corresponding to different feature points, to aggregate the contextual semantic information within a larger receptive field, effectively to focus on the distribution of bird regions in the global feature map, and to improve the ability of the upsampling in recognizing the bird features so as to enable the model to accurately recognize bird targets. Second, in order to solve the problem of false detection caused by similar appearances in bird recognition, our paper introduced TSCODE (task-specific context decoupling) to decouple the localization and classification tasks by acquiring the information of multi-level feature maps to regress to the target boundary and utilizing the features containing the underlying texture and the higher-level semantics for the classification of species, which in turn improves the model’s bird recognition accuracy.
    Results: This paper carried out comparative experiments to verify the performance of the model. The experimental results showed that the mean average precision of the TC-YOLO model on the self-built dataset Beijing-28, which contained 28 species of national first-class protected birds in Beijing, and the publicly available dataset of birds CUB200-2011 reached 78.7% and 75.3%, respectively, which were both better than the comparison methods, proving that the TC-YOLO model possessed a superior performance in bird recognition. In addition, in order to verify the generalization of the TC-YOLO model on other kinds of datasets, experiments were carried out on the public dataset MS COCO, and the results showed that the performance of the TC-YOLO model was better than the comparison model, which indicated that the TC-YOLO model possesses strong generalization.
    Conclusion: The TC-YOLO model proposed in this paper can effectively recognize bird images in the presence of complex backgrounds or similar appearances with low leakage and misdetection rates and strong generalization, which can provide important technical support for bird conservation and thus bring more practical application value for biodiversity conservation in Beijing.

    Advances of marine biogeography in China: Species distribution model and its applications
    Yunwei Dong, Menghuan Bao, Jiao Cheng, Yiyong Chen, Jianguo Du, Yangchun Gao, Lisha Hu, Xincheng Li, Chunlong Liu, Geng Qin, Jin Sun, Xin Wang, Guang Yang, Chongliang Zhang, Xiong Zhang, Yuyang Zhang, Zhixin Zhang, Aibin Zhan, Qiang H, e Jun Sun, Bin Chen, Zhongli Sha, Qiang Lin
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (5):  23453.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023453
    Abstract ( 1288 )   PDF (1590KB) ( 1097 )   Save
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    Background & Aim: Marine biogeography is a subject investigating the spatiotemporal distributions of marine organisms and the processes and drivers of changes in species distributions. Research in marine biogeography is promising for the conservation of marine biodiversity and the stability of ecosystem functioning and crucial for the sustainability of utilizing marine resources. Species distribution models (SDMs) are an important tool for assessing and predicting the biogeographical changes in marine species distributions.

    Progresses: This review consists of three main parts: (1) the development process and current status of marine biogeography studies in China; (2) the commonly used approaches to answer the questions related to marine biogeography with a special focus on SDMs; (3) the research trends and hotspots of marine biogeography studies in China, mainly concerning the shifts in species distribution under global changes, phylogeography of marine species, biological invasion, population connectivity, marine conservation planning, marine ecological restoration and recovery, adaptation of marine species to extreme environments, as well as management of marine fisheries and mariculture planning.

    Prospects: In this review, we further outlined the prospects for the future development of marine biogeography and emphasized the importance of optimizing SDMs. We also called for developing comprehensive databases of marine environments and organisms to strengthen the integration of marine biogeography with other disciplines. We hope this review will provide useful insights for the studies of marine biogeography in China.

    The application and outlook of wildlife tracking using sensor-based tags in China
    Binyue Lu, Kun Li, Chenxi Wang, Sheng Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2024, 32 (5):  23497.  doi:10.17520/biods.2023497
    Abstract ( 174 )   PDF (5966KB) ( 170 )   Save
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    Aims: The tagging, positioning, and tracking of animals are crucial approaches to the study of their spatial movements. In China, the application of sensor-based wildlife tracking technologies for free-ranging animals has gained significant traction since the 1980s. These technologies have been widely employed in studies related to wildlife behavior and ecology. To provide a comprehensive overview of the current status of wildlife tracking technologies in China and offer insights into the future, we conducted this review based on comprehensive literature research.
    Methods: We systematically searched academic articles on wildlife tracking studies conducted in China from 1970 to 2022. We compiled information of each study, including the type of sensor and tracking technologies used, the taxonomic group of tracked animals, the research field, and the location of study sites.
    Results: We collected 519 relevant articles published between 1970 and 2022, encompassing 185 species belonging to 7 classes and 32 orders. The study sites encompassed 34 provinces (including municipalities, autonomous regions, and special administrative regions) in China. We identified four hotspots of tracking studies within the country: the eastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and surrounding mountainous areas, the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the coastal areas from East to South China, and the Northeast China region. Five senor-based tracking technologies were identified in these studies: radio telemetry (RT) (accounting for 47.7% of the total researches), radio frequency identification (RFID) (3.2%), light-level global geolocator sensor (GLS) (0.6%), satellite tracking based on the Argos Satellite System (ASS) (9.3%) or Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) (39.3%). Among these technologies, VHF radio telemetry has had a longer history and more applications in China; ASS and GNSS technologies have been introduced late but have undergone rapid growth, with GNSS emerging as the most widely applied technology in the past 5 years. Radio telemetry is predominantly employed for large- and medium-sized mammals, small mammals, terrestrial birds, amphibians and reptiles. GNSS technology is mainly applied in tracking swimming and wading birds. ASS technology is primarily used in fish studies, while RFID technology is prevalent in tracking invertebrate. The choice of technology varies across different research fields, with GNSS and ASS satellite tracking being the primary technology used in migration studies.
    Conclusions: The application scale of sensor-based wildlife tracking technologies in China is experiencing rapid expansion, resulting in a rapid increase of numbers of tagged animals and accumulated data. In the future, wildlife tracking studies in China should put emphases on: (1) deepening the research to examine the underlying ecological mechanisms and broadening the research scales, (2) facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration and fostering technological innovation, (3) advocating for and promoting data sharing and fostering multilateral cooperation, and (4) continuing to advance the development and improvement of domestic tracking equipment and technologies. This will provide reliable scientific supports for wildlife ecology research and resource conservation and management in China.

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