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Table of Content
    Volume 28 Issue 4
    20 April 2020
    As the major reef framework builder, hermatypic corals play key roles in maintaining the stability and function of coral reef ecosystems. Based on historical data of hermatypic coral and the taxonomic research results, Huang et al (see pages 515–523 of this issue) summarize the taxonomy of hermatypic corals, and present a comprehensive species list of hermatypic corals reported in China, and standardize their Chinese names. The picture is the coral reef habitat of Zhubi Reef in Nansha Islands. (Photographed by Hui Huang)
    Special Feature: Altay Animal Diversity
    Avian species census, richness patterns and faunal composition in the Altay Region, China
    Na Li, Chenchen Ding, Dandan Cao, Hongjun Chu, Yingjie Qi, Chunwang Li, Xiaoge Ping, Yuehua Sun, Zhigang Jiang
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (4):  401-411.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019023
    Abstract ( 2300 )   HTML ( 99 )   PDF (5835KB) ( 1583 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    The Altay Region in China is located in North Xinjiang, in the border region of China, Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia. The region contains the Altai Mountains and the desert and riparian landscapes south of them, which constitutes the Altai-Sayan biodiversity hotspot and one of the Global 200 Biodiversity Ecoregions. Being composed of diverse habitat types, the Atlay region harbors a rich avian fauna. Though there are several field studies on a few avian species in the Altay Region, few studies have focused on broad-scale species diversity and distribution patterns across different habitats and landscapes. Thus, we completed a comprehensive census across various landscapes and habitats in the region. In this study, we recorded bird species in different types of habitats on the southern slope of the Altai Mountains and the plains area south of the Altay Region from 2013 to 2016. We also collected information from the literature and local citizen science records. The resulting bird species inventory allowed us to use MaxEnt models to predict distributions and diversity patterns of 77 bird species in the Altay Region. Four classes of environmental predictor variables, i.e. climatic factors, land cover type, human footprint index and terrain were incorporated into the models. We predicted all species’ distribution patterns and added all species’ distribution layers together to determine broad-scale diversity patterns. In total, 19 orders, 55 families, 149 genera and 344 bird species were represented in the Altay Region of China. Along the vertical vegetation belts, there were 24 species in high mountain-bare rock belt; 35 in alpine meadows; 172 in mountain forest belt; 130 in brush land in low mountains; 84 in desert belt; 173 in riparian belt; and an additional 92 species in wetland and water areas. In the Altay Region, Palearctic type birds dominated the avian fauna with 170 species (49.4%) and followed by widespread northern species (93 species; 27.0%). The Altai Mountains belonged to Palearctic Realm, Europe-Siberia Sub-realm, Altai-Sayan Region and Altai Sub-zoogeographical Region, while the plain areas belonged to Palearctic Realm, Central Asia Sub-realm, Inner Mongolia-Xinjiang Region and West Desert Subregion. The MaxEnt models predicted high species diversity in the riparian, plains, and middle and lower montane areas, congruent with previous field data. Protecting tall trees and young saplings and shrubs through eco-friendly economic development strategies and preventing habitat fragmentation will help maintain high species richness in the Altay Region and the Altai-Sayan Ecoregion.

    The relationship between body condition index and ecological factors in two Phrynocephalus species in the piedmont desert of Altai Mountains
    Xiaqiu Tao, Zhigang Jiang, Shengnan Ji, Hongjun Chu, Na Li, Daode Yang, Chunwang Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (4):  412-421.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019090
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    We investigated the age-related and sexual characteristics in Phrynocephalus helioscopus and P. grumgrzimailoi using the body condition index and its relationship to annual mean temperature, annual precipitation, altitude, and mean diurnal range. We collected body measurement data for 176 individuals of P. helioscopus and 84 individuals of P. grumgrzimailoi. The body condition index is comprised of the ratio of log body mass to log snout-vent length. There were significant differences of the body condition index between P. helioscopus and P. grumgrzimailoi. In P. grumgrzimailoi, body condition indices between the sexes were significantly different but were not in P. helioscopus. Differences between sub-adults and adults were significant in both species. Body condition index of P. grumgrzimailoi differed significantly through time but remained unchanged in P. helioscopus. Annual mean temperature is a significant predictor for body condition index of P. grumgrzimailoi and interacts with annual precipitation in our models. Meanwhile, altitude had significant effects on body condition index in P. helioscopus. These results suggest that these two species respond differently to various environmental factors, and their adaptability to different environmental conditions are not the same.

    Species diversity of freshwater fish and assessment on watershed health in the Irtysh River and Ulungur River basins in Xinjiang, China
    Xuejian Li, Peiyao Jia, Chengyi Niu, Yingchun Xing, Haolin Li, Haibo Liu, Wenqiao Tang, Yahui Zhao
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (4):  422-434.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019071
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    We conducted yearly field surveys between 2013 and 2016 in Altay Prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to understand the current status of fish species diversity and its change in the Irtysh River and the Ulungu River basins. The Margalef richness index, the Shannon-Wiener diversity index, and the Pielou evenness index were applied to assess the species diversity and temporal and spatial variation of freshwater fishes, based on the data collected from our field investigations, museum collection, and research literature. There were 23 native fish species distributed in the Irtysh River and the Ulungu River basins. And 19 of them were collected with 15 exotic species during our surveys. The fish fauna is dominated by cyprinid fishes. High proportions of endemic and endangered fish are distinct characteristics of fish composition in Altay Prefecture. Our results showed that the fish diversity in the basins was generally stable between 2013 and 2016. Species richness in the Irtysh River was higher than one in the Ulungu River. Additionally, the Fish Index of Biological Integrity (F-IBI) of 34 sampling sites indicated that the river health of most sites in the Irtysh River basin was at the “sub-health” or “general” level, while that of most ones in the Ulungu River basin was “healthy”. Water infrastructures, exotic species, and overexploitation of fish resources were key factors to influence freshwater fishes in the region. Aiming at the protection of fish biodiversity and improvement of river healthy, several ways should be applied in future including ecological scheduling of multi-scale coupling of reservoir group, construction of fish pass, scientific management of aquaculture to control the exotic species, artificial enhancement and releasing of endemic and endangered fish, and in situ conservation.

    Camera-trapping survey on mammals and birds in the Kanas River Valley of Altai Mountains, Xinjiang, China
    Shaopeng Cui, Daiqiang Chen, Jinyu Wang, Jizhou Sun, Hongjun Chu, Chunwang Li, Zhigang Jiang
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (4):  435-441.  doi:10.17520/biods.2020184
    Abstract ( 1396 )   HTML ( 62 )   PDF (767KB) ( 1081 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    We conducted a camera-trapping survey in the Kanas River Valley of Xinjiang Kanas National Nature Reserve (XKNNR), China specifically for inventorying the mammal and bird diversity. We collected 2,038 independent detections from June 2014 to August 2016 over 12,006 camera-days at 36 locations. The survey identified 51 species, including 15 mammal species belonging to four orders and eight families, and 36 avian species classified into nine orders and 15 families. The sable Martes zibellina, wolverine Gulo gulo, and black stork Ciconia nigra are listed as Class I National Protected Wildlife and 11 species as Class II. According to the Red List of China’s Vertebrates, nine species are threatened in the reserve, while the moose Alces alces is Critically Endangered (CR), three species including the wolverine, wapiti Cervus canadensis, and capercaillie Tetrao urogallus as Endangered (EN), and five species as Vulnerable (VU). Fourteen avian species including white-backed woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos were newly recorded in XKNNR along with the first photograph of A. a. alces in the wild taken during the survey. The relative abundance index (RAI) results showed Cervus canadensis was a dominant species at Kanas River Valley (RAI = 9.878). The most abundant avian species was the spotted nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes, 0.258). Further investigations are recommended to determine the status and threats of the species, especially the musk deer Moschus moschiferus and snow leopard Panthera uncia. Our results added new data to the mammal and bird diversity in the Kanas River Valley of Altai Mountains, which can assist in improving species conservation and reserve management in the area.

    The snow leopard in Altai Mountains, near the Sino-Mongolia border, and its conservation significance
    Wenwen Chu, Zhigang Jiang, Kai Li, Defu Hu, Gang Chen, Hongjun Chu
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (4):  442-444.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019100
    Abstract ( 1111 )   HTML ( 37 )   PDF (601KB) ( 917 )   Save
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    Original Papers: Plant Diversity
    Driving forces underlying the beta diversity of tree species in subtropical mid-mountain moist evergreen broad-leaved forests in Ailao Mountains
    Zhiliang Yao, Handong Wen, Yun Deng, Min Cao, Luxiang Lin
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (4):  445-454.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019356
    Abstract ( 1599 )   HTML ( 76 )   PDF (1619KB) ( 1189 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Beta diversity refers to species composition variation among communities across temporal and spatial scales. Beta diversity includes species turnover and species richness differences between communities. The ecological processes that drive beta diversity patterns are determined by spatio-temporal dynamics of communities. However, the driving forces that form beta diversity and its components patterns are still controversial. Previous studies have shown that beta diversity patterns are scale-dependent as are the relative importance of underlying ecological processes. In this study, the beta diversity of tree species in the 20 ha subtropical mid-mountain moist evergreen broad-leaved forest dynamics plot in Ailao Mountains was studied. Across different spatial scales, the Bray-Curtis indices among quadrat pairs were partitioned into species turnover components and species richness components. The relative importance of scale dependent environmental filtering and dispersal limitation on beta diversity were analyzed by using a redundancy analysis and variation partitioning analysis. Our results showed that: (1) Beta diversity and its components decreased with increasing scale. The pairwise difference in species composition between quadrats was dominated by species turnover components at all scales. (2) With increasing scale, the relative importance of environment filtering on beta diversity gradually increased, while the relative importance of dispersal limitation gradually decreased. This study confirmed the importance of spatial scale on beta diversity pattern and the quantitative assessment of its driving forces. Future research should focus more on examining the mechanism of the scale effects on beta diversity and its underlying driving forces.

    Spatio-temporal dynamics of leaf litter in a karst seasonal rainforest in southwest Guangxi
    Mengke Jia, Yili Guo, Dongxing Li, Bin Wang, Wusheng Xiang, Ailong Wang, Shengyuan Liu, Tao Ding, Fuzhao Huang, Shujun Wen, Shuhua Lu, Xiankun Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (4):  455-462.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019403
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    Leaf litter production is a major contributor to ecosystem net primary productivity and biogeochemical cycles. However, various abiotic and biotic drivers influence leaf litter production in heterogeneous natural forests. In this study, we quantified leaf litter production, composition, and spatio-temporal dynamics in a 15 ha forest dynamics plot in Nonggang National Nature Reserve, Guangxi. We set up 90 litter fall traps and collected leaf litter weekly beginning in May 2012. We explored the spatial and temporal dynamics of leaf litter production in order to gain an in-depth understanding of the material circulation process of forest ecosystem in this region. Ecological factors had significant influence on the inter-annual dynamics of leaf litter volume and explained 69.3% of the cumulative deviation. The effect of altitude on leaf litter was the strongest, explaining 46.5% of the deviation. However, biological factors, such as the coefficient of variation of DBH, the sum of stand basal area per unit area, and species-richness, had smaller effect sizes on annual leaf litter production. Years of continuous monitoring show that there are obvious differences in the leaf litter production between years in karst seasonal rainforests, but abiotic factors, such as altitude, heavily influence leaf litter production.

    Structure and spatial distribution pattern of a native Metasequoia glyptostroboides population in Hubei
    Xiao Huang, Jiang Zhu, Lan Yao, Xunru Ai, Jin Wang, Manling Wu, Qiang Zhu, Shaolin Chen
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (4):  463-473.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019283
    Abstract ( 1887 )   HTML ( 56 )   PDF (1643KB) ( 1497 )   Save
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    Metasequia glyptostroboides is an endemic and endangered species in China, and has therefore been heavily researched. M. glyptostroboides’ distribution seems to have a recognizable spatial pattern, with a clear potential mechanism. To test this, we analyzed the structure and diameter classes and height level classes from survey data of parent M. glyptostroboides trees with a pairwise correlation function g (r) and three null models (complete spatial randomness, heterogeneous Poisson process, and antecedent condition) in a point pattern analysis. The results of the spatial distribution patterns showed that: (1) There was 5,661 individuals of the native M. glyptostroboides population in the study area. Within this population, 31 of which were dead, 40 trees were on the verge of death, and 465 trees were classified as “weak”, with morphological characteristics and growth conditions associated with these trees such as shoot breakage, ant damage, and lightning strike. (2) Both the diameter-class structure and the height-class structure were spindle-shaped, with poor natural renewal; (3) Based on Complete Spatial Randomness, the native M. glyptostroboides population showed a random distribution at all scales, the middle- aged trees showed an aggregation distribution on a small scale (r < 3,300 m), and the adult trees and the older trees appeared an aggregation distribution on a larger scale (r < 4,700 m). The aggregation scales of the population and the different age groups were 0-3,000 m, 0-2,100 m, 0-2,900 m and 0-2,500 m, respectively, and followed a weak random distribution and uniform distribution. (4) Based on Complete Spatial Randomness, there were positive correlations between the three growth stages at all scales that weakened when habitat heterogeneity was excluded (only a positive correlation between 0-2,800 m). In summary, the M. glyptostroboides population is decreasing gradually with poor population regeneration. The population is presented mainly as cluster distribution with positive relationship among all age classes, due to habitat heterogeneity, diffusion limitation and intra-species competition according to the existing spatial pattern.

    Original Papers: Animal Diversity
    Genetic relationships of hatchery populations and wild populations of Tanichthys albonubes near Guangzhou
    Chao Li, Jinjin Jin, Jinzhen Luo, Chunhui Wang, Junjie Wang, Jun Zhao
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (4):  474-484.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019290
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    Tanichthys albonubes is a popular ornamental fish species which had been believed to be extinct in the wild in China. Since 2003, many wild populations have been found on Hainan and Guangxi provinces and therefore the conversation status has been modified to be Critically Endangered. We investigated the genetic relationships of hatchery populations of T. albonubes to their wild populations near Guangzhou. To study these genetic relationships, multilocus data (one mitochondrial gene, two nuclear genes and 13 microsatellite loci) from 186 individuals from three hatchery populations and four wild populations around the city of Guangzhou were analyzed. The K2P genetic distances based on the Cyt b gene among wild populations and hatchery populations of T. albonubes ranged from 0.005 to 0.015, and from 0.001 to 0.009, respectively. Phylogenetic relationships showed hatchery population Fangcun contained four mitochondrial clades, two of which grouped with haplotypes from two wild populations near Guangzhou while the remaining clustered separately. The haplotype networks revealed that the Qingyuan population consisted of one shared haplotype with population Fangcun, which had greater haplotype diversity than all other populations. STRUCTURE analyses from the hatchery and wild populations suggested these populations could be grouped into two clusters (K = 2), one of which was formed by a hatchery population and a Qingyuan population while the other was formed by two wild populations. Principal component analysis showed that hatchery populations and Qingyuan populations overlapped with some degree of genetic variation with these cultured stocks. Directional gene flow was detected from population Qingyuan to population Fangcun using IMa3 programme. Based on these findings, we conclude that population Fangcun originated from multiple wild populations near Guangzhou and subsequently served as the ancestor of cultured populations in Singapore and Canada. We propose that irregular releases of cultured stocks of T. albonubes should be forbidden and captive hatchery using different wild populations should be prevented. At the same time, genetic resources management and sustained monitoring of hatchery and wild populations of T. albonubes should be reinforced in the future.

    Diversity and habitat selection of amphibians in rocky desertification area in northwestern Guizhou
    Cunlu Wang, Hu Chen, Hua Xiao, Hongmei Zhang, Linzhi Li, Cheng Guo, Jing Chen, Qiang Wei
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (4):  485-495.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019351
    Abstract ( 1056 )   HTML ( 38 )   PDF (2174KB) ( 681 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    Amphibian protection can be encouraged through vital amphibian diversity and habitat selection studies. In September to October 2018 and March to August 2019, a total of 5,688 amphibians were recorded from the Bijie Salaxi rocky desertification comprehensive control area. The amphibians collected belonged to 2 orders, 6 families, 9 genera and 10 species. Various metrics were used to understand amphibian diversity in various environmental conditions such as the Shannon-Wiener diversity index, Margalef richness index and Pielou evenness index. Additionally, the Sorenson similarity coefficient and cluster analysis were used to analyze community similarity and difference. The results showed that: (1) Glyphoglossus yunnanensis was the dominant species, Tylototriton kweichowensis, Oreolalax rhodostigmatus, Bufo gargarizans, and Hyla annectans, Rana chaochiaoensis were the common species, Microhyla butleri, Hylarana guentheri, Odorrana junlianensis, and Rana weiningensis were the rare species. (2) The abundance of species, individuals, and habitat types increased in no rocky desertification areas and potential rocky desertification areas than in the other three grades of rocky desertification areas. Additionally, the diversity index and richness index were the largest in the non-rocky desertification areas. (3) Between no rocky desertification areas and potential rocky desertification areas; potential rocky desertification areas, and no rocky desertification areas showed strong differences with the other three grade areas. This study shows rocky desertification habitat differences in karst areas is important to distribution differences among amphibians, and strengthening the ecological control of rocky desertification is an important way to protect amphibians in karst areas.

    Seasonal dynamics of fig wasp community and interaction networks in Ficus benjamina
    Yiyi Dong, Yanqiong Peng, Bo Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (4):  496-503.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019294
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    Species form complex interactive networks within communities, which often experience seasonal species oscillations or species composition shifts. However, the variation that occurs within such networks is poorly understood. Studying seasonal changes of ecological networks may reveal the mechanisms that maintain the stability of a community. In this study, we collected fig wasps from Ficus benjamina during the dry and rainy seasons in Xishuangbanna to understand how fig wasp communities may shift seasonally. We compared fig wasp abundance, species composition, and metrics of coexistence networks (e.g. network diameter, connectance, nestedness, and community temperature) between the rainy season and the dry season. The pollinating wasp, Eupristina koningsbergeri was the most abundant species in both rainy season and dry season. There were more non-pollinating fig wasp species during the dry season (15 fig wasp species) than the rainy season (14 fig wasp species). A higher number of non-pollinating fig wasps can be detrimental to fig-pollinator wasp mutualisms because they reduce both fig seed production and pollinator abundance. Additionally, the dry season experiences higher species connectivity (0.95 in dry season, 0.47 in rainy season), higher network temperature (23.24 in dry season, 2.64 in rainy season) than the rainy season, which indicate more complex inter-specific interactions, and a higher level of disturbance of fig wasp community in the dry season.

    The spatial scale dependency of elevational patterns of taxonomic and functional diversity in aquatic insects in the Lancang River, Yunnan, China
    Huiyu Wei, Kai Chen, Beixin Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (4):  504-514.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019359
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    Elevational patterns of taxonomic and functional diversity are important aspects of biodiversity maintenance and changes. However, the spatial scale dependency of elevational patterns on taxonomic and functional diversity of aquatic insect assemblages remains unclear. Using data collected from 149 stream sites along elevational gradients ranging between 500-3,900 m during 2013-2018 in the upper basin of Lancang River in Yunnan Province, China, we examined how elevational patterns of taxonomic and functional diversity of aquatic insect assemblages differed across local and regional scales among multiple elevational bands (i.e., 100, 150, 200, and 250 m). We used linear or quadratic regression models to explore the elevational patterns of taxonomic richness index, Simpson diversity index, evenness index, dendrogram- based functional diversity index (dbFD), Rao’s Quadratic index (RaoQ), and functional evenness index (FEve). At the local scale, taxonomic richness index and dbFD index show no significant elevational patterns; while Simpson diversity index, RaoQ index, evenness index, and FEve index show either U-shaped or monotonically decreasing trends along elevation gradients. At the regional scale with increasing elevation, taxonomic richness index decreases (NS) while dbFD index changes from U-shaped to a monotonically decreasing trend along the elevational gradient. Both Simpson diversity index and RaoQ index change from a significant U-shaped to no significant regional elevational patterns. Taxonomic evenness index and FEve index have no significant relationship with and significantly increased with regional elevations, respectively. Our results show that aquatic insect taxonomic and functional diversity are scale dependent across elevations. However, we observed a degree of consistency in elevational patterns for each taxonomic and functional diversity index across elevational bands at regional scales.

    A revised taxonomy for Chinese hermatypic corals
    Lintao Huang, Hui Huang, Lei Jiang
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (4):  515-523.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019384
    Abstract ( 2041 )   HTML ( 52 )   PDF (768KB) ( 1460 )   Supplementary Material   Save
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    As the major reef framework builder, hermatypic corals play a key role in maintaining the stability and function of coral reef ecosystems. Understanding the taxonomy of hermatypic corals is critical to furthering research and conservation of reef corals and the ecosystem they construct. The application of molecular and small-scale morphological analyses has identified synonymous species and have challenged the traditional taxonomy of hermatypic corals, which was based merely on skeletal morphology. Moreover, many newly recorded species appeared without Chinese scientific names. These aforementioned issues hinder the progress of research and conservation of hermatypic corals in China. Here, we present a comprehensive species list of all hermatypic corals reported in China by collecting historical records, incorporating revised systematics, confirming synonymous species, and updating Chinese scientific names. Our results show that there are 445 known species of hermatypic corals in China, belonging to 16 families and 77 genera. Compared to Fauna Sinica · Coelenterata · Anthozoa · Scleractinia · Hermatypic Coral, we added 291 species, revised 13 species, synonymized 20 species, and designated Chinese name to 305 species. We added 26, revised 1 and synonymized 3 genera, and we added 7 and revised 5 families. Though we identified 187 synonymous species from historical records, there are still several discrepancies in the current taxonomy. We discuss these discrepancies and explain our classification rationale herein.

    Technology and Methodology
    Evaluation of the identification ability of eight commonly used plant identification application softwares in China
    Zhanhui Xu, Shiyao Liu, Ying Zhao, Wenqin Tu, Zhaofeng Chang, Entao Zhang, Jing Guo, Di Zheng, Jun Geng, Gaoying Gu, Chunpeng Guo, Lulu Guo, Jing Wang, Chunyang Xu, Chuan Peng, Teng Yang, Mengqi Cui, Weicheng Sun, Jiantan Zhang, Haotian Liu, Chaoqun Ba, Heqi Wang, Jingchao Jia, Jinzhou Wu, Cui Xiao, Keping Ma
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (4):  524-533.  doi:10.17520/biods.2019272
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    Smart phone and artificial intelligence technology development has led to various plant recognition softwares on mobile applications. These applications have gradually entered all aspects of public life, popular science activities, and scientific research activities. Presently, there are many plant recognition apps in China, which have varying development purposes and application scopes. Among these differences include variation in software concerns, database sources, algorithms, and hardware which could implicate large discrepancies between apps, making it important to analyze and evaluate the accuracy, scope of application and potential use of each software. In this paper, eight apps were selected to identify 400 accurately identified plant photos, 100 photos being chosen from arid and semi-arid zones, temperate zones, tropical zones, and subtropical zones, respectively. In total, these photos belong to 122 families, 164 genera and 340 species, covering five growth forms of trees, shrubs, herbs, herbaceous vines and woody vines, as well as 23 national protected plant species. Accurate identification of species, genera and families was scored 4, 2 and 1 points, respectively. The software recognition ability was sorted according to total scores, and the results are as follows: HuaBangZhu, Baidu-Shitu, HuaBanLv, XingSe, Huahui-Shibie, Zhiwu-Shibie, Faxian-Shihua, Flower Recognition.

    Book Reviews
    Brief review and implications of A Chronicle of Plant Taxonomy in China
    Yunpeng Zhao
    Biodiv Sci. 2020, 28 (4):  534-535.  doi:10.17520/biods.2020178
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