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Table of Content
    Volume 16 Issue 4
    20 July 2008

    Garhadiolus papposus (Asteraceae) is one of the common early-spring ephemeral species widely distributed in temperate desert. This species grows only in the Junggar Desert in China. It produces three types of achenes in one infructescence that differ in morphology and dispersal behavior. To better understand how this species is adapted to the desert habitat, Sun et al. observed the morphological and dispersal traits of its achenes as part of adaptive strategies for the desert. For details see pages 353–361 of this issue. (Photographed by Huazhi Sun and Dunyan Tan)

    Original Papers
    Effects of plant species switching on dynamics of amylase and proteinase activity of Bemisia tabaci biotype B and Trialeurodes vaporariorum
    Zhang Guifen, Lei Fang, Wan Fanghao, Ma Jun, Yang Yuguo
    Biodiv Sci. 2008, 16 (4):  313-320.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2008.08050
    Abstract ( 3444 )   HTML ( 11 )   PDF (316KB) ( 2881 )   Save
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    Bemisia tabaci biotype B (Bt) and Trialeurodes vaporariorum(Tv) are two whiteflies that often coexist on greenhouse-grown vegetable crops in northern China. The host plant species ofB. tabaci biotype B have been increasing with the spread of its invaded areas. To clarify the effects of plant species on the performances of the two species, amylase and proteinase activity dynamics of both whitefly species were evaluated when their host plant species switched from tomato (preferred by both species, also used as the control) to cotton (preferred by Bt and suitable for Tv), cabbage (preferred by Bt, but unsuitable for Tv) or maize (unsuitable for both species) plants. There were no prominent effects of plant species switching on the amylase activity of the two whitefly species. The amylase activity of Bt was 1.49-1.66 folds higher than that of Tv when fed on tomato or when switched to different host species. There were no effects on the proteinase activity of Bt when switched to a different host species, but that of Tv decreased by 29.9-42.7%. The proteinase activity of Bt was 1.30 and 1.21 folds higher than that of Tv when switched to cabbage and cotton plants, respectively. There were no interspecific differences in proteinase activity when switched to maize plants. Bt amylase activity dynamics were expressed as activation then inhibition or inhibition then activation when switched to cabbage and maize plants; however, those of Tv were smooth. Amylase activity dynamics were similar for both species when switched to cotton. Although proteinase activity dynamics of Bt were expressed as activation then inhibition when switched to any of the three plant species tested, the activation period was longer when switched to maize plants. In the case of Tv, proteinase activity dynamics were similarly smooth regardless of which plant species switched to. Our results indicated that Bt was more adaptable to plant species switching than T. vaporariorum.

    Nested analysis of passeriform bird assemblages in the Thousand Island Lake region
    Zhang Jingcheng, Wang Yanping, Jiang Pingping, Li Peng, Yu Mingjian, Ding Ping
    Biodiv Sci. 2008, 16 (4):  321-331.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2008.08079
    Abstract ( 4215 )   HTML ( 2 )   PDF (447KB) ( 3040 )   Save
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    Between April 2006 and November 2007, we used line-transects to survey species richness of passeriform birds on 20 islands in order to test for nestedness within bird assemblages in the Thousand Island Lake region. To determine factors correlated with patterns of nestedness, we also conducted field surveys of plant species richness on these islands, and defined and valued some species-specific characteristics such as body length, distribution width, and habitat specificity using field surveys and literature searches. Area and isolation of islands were measured with a Geographic Information System (GIS). Nestedness and correlation analyses showed that the passeriform bird community in the Thousand Island Lake region had a significant nested pattern that was influenced by area and plant species richness of an island, and habitat specificity of the bird species. Selective extinction was observed in the bird community. Plant species richness and habitat specificity of species impacted nestedness of bird assemblages through their influence on distributional patterns of birds. We showed that patterns of nestedness of passeriform bird communities were determined by both habitat and species-specific characteristics, and that more attention should be paid to large islands and those with high plant richness, and to bird species with high habitat specificity when making conservation plans.

    The roosting behavior and roost-site selection of Temminck’s tragopan (Tragopan temminckii) in Laojunshan Natural Reserve, Sichuan, China
    Cong Peihao, Zheng Guangmei
    Biodiv Sci. 2008, 16 (4):  332-338.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2008.07230
    Abstract ( 3751 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (270KB) ( 3175 )   Save
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    The roosting behavior and roost-site selection of Temminck’s tragopan(Tragopan temminckii) in Laojunshan Natural Reserve of Sichuan Province were studied using radio-telemetry and field observations between April and August 2005 and between March and August 2006. Nineteen tree-roosting and two ground-roosting individuals were recorded. Adults and sub-adults roosted in trees individually. The average diameter of the roost branch was 4.6 cm and the average height was 6.8 m. The roosting behavior began at 0.5-1 hour before sunset and ended at about 0.5 hour after dawn. The roosting duration was related with season and weather: shorter in summer (615.7 ± 15.7 min) than in spring and autumn (658.3 ± 5.9 min) with fine weather; and shorter in fine weather than overcast, heavy fog or rain (661.5 ± 6.8 min) in summer. Nineteen roost trees belonged to 6 species of 2 families (Fagaceae and Magnoliaceae). The mixed deciduous-evergreen broad-leaved forest and bamboo-shrubs mixed forest were the most frequently used roosting habitats. The ANOVA and Mann-Whitney U test showed that Temminck’s tragopans prefered roosting in trees with abundant canopy on steep upper slopes of dense bamboo-shrubs. Principal component analysis showed that the vegetation and roost branch direction accounted for most variations of the habitat variable.

    Genetic structure of Jinhua pig and genetic differentiation of Jinhua pig and Taihu pig breeds based on microsatellite DNA markers
    Zhao Xiaofeng, Wu Junhong, Xu Ningying, Hu Xiaoxiang, Li Ning
    Biodiv Sci. 2008, 16 (4):  339-345.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2008.07399
    Abstract ( 3743 )   HTML ( 2 )   PDF (314KB) ( 3418 )   Save
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    The genotypes of Jinhua (lines I, II, and III), Shengxianhua, and four Taihu pigs (Jiaxing Black, Middle Meishan, Small Meishan, Erhualian) were investigated using 65 microsatellite DNA markers through fluorescence PCR. Our objectives were to investigate the genetic structure within Jinhua pigs as well as genetic differentiation of Jinhua pigs from the other five breeds. We found a large range of genetic variation in Jinhua pigs. LineIhad the highest average number of effective alleles (Ne = 3.5), followed by LineII (Ne = 2.8), and Line III (Ne = 2.5). The average polymorphism information content (PIC) in each line was above 0.5, with an average observed heterozygosity of 0.381, 0.399, and 0.442, in lines I, II, and III, respectively. Furthermore, a decreasing number of microsatellite loci that deviated from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium were found in lines I, III, and II, respectively. Inbreeding has occurred to some extent in each of the Jinhua lines. Analyses showed that differentiation between Jinhua lines III and II was relatively small (FST= 0.1883). However, greater differentiation was found between lineIand lines II and III (FST-value 0.3663 and 0.3619, respectively). Moreover, the genetic relationship between Jinhua pigs and Taihu pigs were close. The Taihu pig breed with the smallest differentiation from Jinhua pigs was Middle Meishan, but a high degree of genetic differentiation existed in Shengxianhua pig and each Jinhua line. In conclusion, Jinhua pig has a unique evolution process in terms of the origin and domestication history, which is different from other Zhejiang native breeds.

    Survival traits of Crofton weed (Eupatorium adenophorum) seedlings in different habitats
    Wang Jinfang, Gao Xianming, Dang Weiguang
    Biodiv Sci. 2008, 16 (4):  346-352.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2008.08035
    Abstract ( 3669 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (325KB) ( 3742 )   Save
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    Crofton weed (Eupatorium adenophorum) is a highly invasive species. To provide information for controlling or preventing its spread and invasion, we examined recruitment, survival and flowering characteristics of Crofton weed seedlings through container and field experiments in different habitats between Aug. 2005 and Aug. 2006. The results showed that the probability of a seed developing into a mature plant was only 1.16×10-13 to 2.43×10-11. The highest emergence rate (13.93%) and seedling survival rate (79.50%) in the first 10 weeks after seed planting occurred in shady and wet habitats, indicating that these two habitats are favorable for seedling emergence and survival. In addition, seedlings grew better in sunny habitat than in shady habitat when soil water was sufficient. One year after emergence, 3.92% to 5.05% of seedlings flowered. Density of seeds produced by these flowering individuals ranged from 23,000-52,000 ind/m2. Although survival rate of individual Crofton weed was low, enormous seed production ensured the successful colonization and development of sustainable populations, especially in humid and shady habitat.

    Characteristics of heteromorphic achenes of Garhadiolus papposus, an ephemeral Asteraceae species,with reference to their adaptations to desert environment
    Sun Huazhi, Tan Dunyan, Qu Rongming
    Biodiv Sci. 2008, 16 (4):  353-361.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2008.08031
    Abstract ( 3709 )   HTML ( 3 )   PDF (498KB) ( 3079 )   Save
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    Garhadiolus papposus is a common ephemeral Asteraceae species that germinates in early spring in the Junggar Desert. It produces three types of achenes in one infructescence that differ in morphology and dispersal behavior. To better understand how this species is adapted to its desert habitat, we studied morphological and dispersal characteristics of its achenes. The three types of achenes differed significantly in the number, shape, color, mass, length and density of pappuses, and embryo size. Peripheral achenes, which were subtended by the inner involucral bracts (phyllaries), were smooth, weighed 118.10 ± 1.30 mg per 100 achenes, were columnar and arcuate, yellow or yellow whitish, 6.67 ± 0.10 mm in length, and had a scarcely-developed pappus. Central achenes with numerous conspicuous thin longitudinal ribs weighed 69.00 ± 0.60 mg per 100 achenes, were columnar and arcuate or straight, brown, elongated (9.74 ± 0.14 mm length), and had a well developed pappus. Intermediate achenes represented a range of morphologies between the “pure” central and peripheral types. In a given head, the central achenes were more numerous than intermediate and peripheral ones (5.77 ± 0.13 vs 5.39 ± 0.14 vs 5.24 ± 0.05). In addition, central and intermediate achenes had thinner and anatomically different pericarps (half as much biomass) compared to peripheral achenes (69.7 µm vs82.1 µm vs 156.7 µm), and embryos in peripheral achenes were heavier than those in central and intermediate achenes (46.70 ± 0.50 mg vs 36.80 ± 0.30 mg vs 36.90 ± 0.30 mg per 100 embryos). The three morphs differed in dispersal potential. In the laboratory, dispersal distance was longer for central than for intermediate achenes, and longer for intermediate than peripheral achenes. In the field, central achenes were dispersed relatively long distances by wind, whereas peripheral achenes, which are covered by lignified phyllaries, remained on the capitulum after maturation and were dispersed, close to the mother plants, only when the capitulum broke apart. Dispersal features of intermediate achenes are intermediate to those of central and peripheral achenes. We discuss how the morphological and dispersal characteristics of the three achenes types in G. papposus influenced the distribution of achenes to new areas, development of seedlings, population persistence and expansion, and competition among offspring. Heterocarpy may be partly responsible for the success of G. papposus in the Junggar desert.

    Phenotypic variation of natural populations of Primula denticulatassp. sinodenticulata
    Zhang Ruili, Jia Yin, Zhang Qixiang
    Biodiv Sci. 2008, 16 (4):  362-368.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2008.07314
    Abstract ( 3920 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (237KB) ( 2650 )   Save
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    Primula denticulatassp. sinodenticulata(Primulaceae) is an herbaceous perennial in southwest China. Many gardeners recommend it for alpine garden construction or greenhouse cultivation. Due to habitat destruction, however, this plant is rapidly decreasing in number and size of populations. To conserve this plant for our future reintroductions and breeding, 10 natural populations of Primula denticulatassp. sinodenticulatawere analyzed using morphological markers. Morphological diversity among and within populations were analyzed based on 8 phenotypic traits of 30 plants from each population. Phenotypic variance analysis showed that significant variation existed among and within populations. Coefficient of variations (CVs) ranged between 4.73% and 9.90%, and phenotypic differentiation coefficients (Vst) ranged from 15.41% to 40.69%, the mean value was 28.54% and within-population variation comprised a majority of total phenotypic variation. UPGMA Cluster analysis based on morphological traits showed that the 10 populations could be divided into three groups. According to our results, conservation of this species’ genetic resources should focus on protecting populations with higher morphological variation, andin situ conservation should be carried out in their original habitats.

    Invasion patterns of seven alien plant species along roadsides in southern mountainous areas of Yunnan Province
    Zhao Jinli, Ma Youxin, Zhu Hua, Li Hongmei, Liu Wenjun, Li Zengjia
    Biodiv Sci. 2008, 16 (4):  369-380.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2008.08001
    Abstract ( 6124 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (777KB) ( 3264 )   Save
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    Roads serve multiple functions that enhance exotic species invasion. In this paper, we examined the roles of disturbance, light availability, slope aspect, and climate in explaining density and frequency of exotic invasive plants. We analyzed the effect of main environmental factors along 13 roads with different levels of anthropological disturbances (heavy, moderate, and light) in the north tropical and south subtropical mountainous zones in Yunnan Province. The results demonstrated that density of four species, Eupatorium adenophorum, E. odoratum, Ageratum conyzoides and Tithonia diversifoli, and frequency of E. adenophorum were significantly associated with distance from roads. The curves of these four alien plants all presented a single-peak pattern, and their maximum abundance occurred within 4 m of roads. These four alien plants invaded native plant communities from primary colonization points along road margins. Density of E. adenophorum, E. odoratum, A. conyzoides, T. diversifoli and Synedrella nodiflora and frequency of E. adenophorum, E. odoratum, A. conyzoides and T. diversifoli tended to be significantly higher along highly disturbed roads than moderately and lightly disturbed roads, indicating that plant communities adjacent to highly disturbed roads might be more prone to invasion. Density of E. adenophorum, E. odoratum and A. conyzoides and frequency of E. adenophorum, A. conyzoidesand S. nodiflora were significantly higher in areas with high light level than those that had medium or low light levels. E. adenophorum, E. odoratum and A. conyzoides might obviously invade farther in habitats along roads that had high light level. Density of E. adenophorum, A. conyzoides and S. nodiflora were significantly higher on warm aspects than on cool aspects. E. adenophorum and T. diversifoli were mainly distributed in the south subtropical mountainous zones, while E. odoratum and S. nodiflora were mainly in the north tropical mountainous zones. A. conyzoides and Malvastrum coromandelianum were distributed in both zones. Tridax procumbens were very few along roadsides, which had no statistical significance. Management of roadside habitats should be considered a key to preventing and controlling alien plant invasion, and the maintenance of a dense canopy of native vegetation would benefit control of alien invasive plants.

    Distribution of specimens and species richness of seed plants above timber line in the Hengduan Mountains, southwest China
    Zhang Dacai, Sun Hang
    Biodiv Sci. 2008, 16 (4):  381-388.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2008.07390
    Abstract ( 3811 )   HTML ( 3 )   PDF (310KB) ( 3052 )   Save
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    Herbaria can provide important information about the spatial distribution of plants, and are important data sources for estimating species richness. In this study we described elevational patterns of specimen frequencies and species richness of seed plants above timber line in the Hengduan Mountains and discussed the impact of specimen data on the estimation of species richness. Specimen data came from the online database ( and herbaria. Elevations above timber line were divided into fourteen 100-m belts, and the frequencies of specimens in each elevational belt were recorded. There were 1,820 species and 8,316 specimens with elevational information, of which 655 species were endemic to this region. Distribution of specimens among species was extremely uneven. For example, 974 species (about 53.5% of total species) were represented by 1-2 specimens. Total and average number of specimens in elevational belts decreased linearly with the increasing elevation. Species richness also decreased with the increasing elevation, but species rarefaction curves were not useful for describing elevational patterns in species richness. We suggest that more field plot-sampling and specimen collections are needed to accurately estimate species richness.

    Analyzing the effectiveness of community management in Chinese nature reserves
    Liu Jing, Miao Hong, Ouyang Zhiyun, Xu Weihua, Zheng Hua
    Biodiv Sci. 2008, 16 (4):  389-398.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2008.08014
    Abstract ( 3355 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (414KB) ( 2814 )   Save
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    In recent years, the effectiveness of nature reserve management is being evaluated around the world. In 2005, the State Forestry Administration of P. R. China assessed the management effectiveness of 634 nature reserves (NRs) in China by sending questionnaires to reserve managers, of which 535 were effective. We used these questionnaires to evaluate the effectiveness of community management by calculating indices of participation, co-management, and coordination with local communities. We analyzed scores, regional characteristics, differences between national and local NRs, and factors that influenced scores of these indices. In general, the community management effectiveness in China was not as high as expected. Of the indices, the score of coordination with local communities was the highest, i.e. 1.85, followed by community participation and community co-management, i.e. 1.15 and 1.03 respectively. In addition, the effectiveness of community management in each region had no significant differences (P>0.05). However, the average score of the effectiveness of the NRs in Central China was the highest (i.e. 4.26), and that in South China was lowest (i.e. 3.73). The differences between the effectiveness scores of national and local NRs were statistically significant (P<0.01). On the whole, the national reserves were more effective than local ones. We found that monitoring and evaluation, personnel management, staff training, management plans, and patrolling were correlated with effectiveness of community management. On behalf of improving community management effectiveness, we recommend some accepted accessments such as establishing community co-management mechanisms, establishing ecological compensation mechanisms, allocating assessments fairly to the Central and provincal government budget, and enhancing the employers’ abilities.

    Copy-number variant: new annotation for genetic variation across genomes
    Rao Yousheng, Zhang Xiquan
    Biodiv Sci. 2008, 16 (4):  399-406.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2008.08142
    Abstract ( 4285 )   HTML ( 3 )   PDF (271KB) ( 4486 )   Save
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    A CNV (copy-number variant), also termed CNP (copy-number polymorphism), is a segment of DNA ranging from 1 kb to 3 Mb that is present in a variable number of copies compared to a reference genome. CNVs are widely distributed across the human genome, encompass more nucleotide content per genome than total SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms), and increase genetic diversity dramatically. CNVs may be important for genome organization within species, molecular evolution and phylogenesis, as well as gene expression and regulation in a specific region of a genome. From four aspects including CNV polymorphism, CNV test methods, association analyses between CNV polymorphism and complex traits, and CNV evolution, we provide a comprehensive review on the achievement of CNV studies, and offer perspective on CNV studies on animal genomes.

    Feedback mechanisms of soil biota to aboveground biology in terrestrial ecosystems
    Wang Shaojun, Ruan Honghua
    Biodiv Sci. 2008, 16 (4):  407-416.  doi:10.3724/SP.J.1003.2008.07356
    Abstract ( 3598 )   HTML ( 3 )   PDF (220KB) ( 3689 )   Save
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    Much attention has been paid to the studies of aboveground biological processes in terrestrial ecosystems. Mutual feedbacks between above- and belowground processes have recently become a central interest of ecologists. Soil biota, the most active portion in belowground systems, play crucial roles in processes such as nutrient cycling and energy transformation in terrestrial ecosystems. Soil biota, driven by resource heterogeneity, nutrient availability, and abiotic conditions, could impose direct or indirect and positive or negative feedbacks on aboveground biology by altering rates of nutrient mineralization and the spatial distribution of nutrient availability, rhizospheric hormones and the soil environment. We analyze spatial and temporal variations in soil functional diversity, soil foodweb structure, and the above- and belowground interactions across a wide range of terrestrial ecosystems. These analyses will improve our understanding of belowground ecological processes, and inform the management of ecosystem stability and biodiversity conservation in response to global changes.

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