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Table of Content
    Volume 11 Issue 5
    20 September 2003
    Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: recent advances and trends
    ZHANG Quan-Guo, ZHANG Da-Yong
    Biodiv Sci. 2003, 11 (5):  351-363.  doi:10.17520/biods.2003043
    Abstract ( 5019 )   PDF (449KB) ( 6100 )   Save
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    The relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning has aroused considerable interest and controversy in recent ecological literature. From an explosion of recent experimental and theoretical research addressing this question, several key advances have emerged. (1) Long-term and large scale perspectives on the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning have been highlighted. A hypothetical transition from sampling to complementarity has been proposed based on the results of the largest and longest running experiments, the Cedar Creek Diversity Experiments. Their hypothesis suggests that the positive effect of diversity on ecosystem processes in experimental studies initially arises as a result of sampling. But a transition from sampling to complementarity occurs after a time lag. It can be predicted that niche complementarity is the long-term mechanism underlying the diversity-ecosystem functioning relationship, causing an over-yielding effect. (2) Some experimental studies were conducted to explore the interaction between abiotic factors and the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship. The results indicate that resource availability and environmental disturbance may dominate and alter the relationship between species diversity and ecosystem productivity. It is suggested that the positive effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning in natural systems are likely masked by variation in environmental factors among habitats. (3) Several papers highlight the role of trophic interactions in the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. The general mechanisms explaining plant diversity effects on primary productivity, i.e. sampling and complementarity effects, have been extended to include consumer prey interactions. This leads to the prediction that a more diverse consumer assemblage should have stronger impacts on aggregate prey abundance than a depauperate one. (4) Theoretical studies highlight mechanisms of species coexistence as the key to understanding the relationship between diversity and ecosystem functioning. The varied diversity-productivity relationships from models with different species coexistence mechanisms imply that no general diversity productivity pattern exists, and that the nature of the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship depends on species coexistence mechanisms.
    Advances in study of the distribution area of species
    ZHANG Wen-Ju, CHEN Jia-Kuan
    Biodiv Sci. 2003, 11 (5):  364-369.  doi:10.17520/biods.2003044
    Abstract ( 3829 )   PDF (205KB) ( 3149 )   Save
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    In the past 10 years, distribution area has become an important concept in macro-ecology. Species geographic range is not only closely related to extinction, niche breadth, and ecological invasion, but is also connected with local abundance and the latitudinal gradient in species richness. In this paper, recent advances in species geographic range (distribution area) were reviewed.  The review showed that:(i) The positive abundance-geographic range relationship is a very general biogeographic pattern, but it is restricted by the history of species, the scale of sample, the mobility of species, etc.  (ii) Though the latitudinal gradient in species geographic range size (Rapoport′s rule) sometimes is violated, especially in low latitude regions, it still has significance in biogeography and can be extended to altitudinal gradients of mountains and depth gradients of oceans. (iii) Species geographic range, local abundance, extinction rate, niche breadth, and the latitudinal gradient in species richness and in geographic range size often interact with each other, and a simple positive or negative relation cannot describe their actual relationship. (iiii) The theoretical explanation for the abundance-geographic range relationship, Rapoport′s rule, and the latitudinal gradient in species richness is one of the most controversial questions in recent biogeography.
    A novel molecular marker—SNPs and its application
    ZOU Yu-Ping, GE Song
    Biodiv Sci. 2003, 11 (5):  370-382.  doi:10.17520/biods.2003045
    Abstract ( 6868 )   PDF (491KB) ( 3744 )   Save
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    Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are an abundant form of DNA variation which have a frequency of 1% or more throughout the genomes. SNPs consist of a single nucleotide base alteration including transition and transversion. They are stable and reliable mutation and are frequently referred to as bi-allelic makers. SNPs can be used conveniently for large-scale and high throughput genome analysis, in particular combining DNA chips and microarrays techniques. Therefore, SNPs provide a novel molecular marker system potentially useful for a wide range of biological disciplines. Here we briefly introduce the history and developments of SNP techniques, including its basic concept, its discovery and screening. We also discuss its applications in different research areas such as genetic mapping in mode animals and plants, DNA fingerprinting and its application in variety identification, species origin and relationship, linkage disequilibrium and associate analysis, and its application in population genetics. We anticipate that SNP markers will contribute greatly to the studies on population genetics, molecular breeding as well as evolutionary biology.
    Exploring the endangered species criteria: rethinking the IUCN Red List Criteria
    JIANG Zhi-Gang, FAN En-Yuan
    Biodiv Sci. 2003, 11 (5):  383-392.  doi:10.17520/biods.2003046
    Abstract ( 5134 )   PDF (353KB) ( 3828 )   Save
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    For preserving global biodiversity, we should evaluate the level of endangerment of a species based on information such as number and distribution of individuals, fluctuations and decline in abundance and distribution, and risk of extinction.  We should then design conservation measures accordingly. The Species Survival Commission of IUCN has devoted itself to the study of IUCN Red List Criteria. The IUCN 40th Council Meeting adopted the so-called modified Mace Lande Endangered Species Criteria as the standard criteria for the IUCN Red List in November 1994. The Red List is intended to focus national and local conservation actions on the species that most need support. Although the IUCN Red List is not an international law, it has deep impact on conservation decision-making in governmental and nongovernmental organizations, as well as on conservation law and policy-making in many countries. The IUCN Red List Criteria also have had a profound influence on the theory of conservation biology. However, when we tried to apply the IUCN Red List Criteria to assess the status of endangered aquatic wildlife in China, we found several problems: (1) How do we distinguish those species that are naturally rare and those species whose population and habitat are declining due to human activity? (2) Can we apply the same criteria to different taxonomic groups, particularly those with different life histories? (3) How do we evaluate changes in population density that occur in the core habitat versus those that occur in peripheral habitats of the same species? (4) How should we treat the extirpation of local populations in a metapopulation? (5) How to deal with those species that can be successfully bred in captivity? (6) If we do not have accurate historical and current population and habitat status data, how do we evaluate the level of endangerment of those species? We suggest solutions to those problems in this paper. Firstly, we set up simplified endangered species criteria categories: “Least concern”, “Concern”, “Threatened”, “Endangered” and “Extinct”, of which, “Concern”, “Threatened”, and “Endangered” are further divided into two levels: “ordinary” and “highly”. We further suggest distinguishing ecologically endangered species versus evolutionarily endangered species, and evaluating species with different life histories, for examples, the K-strategists and r-strategists, with different criteria. Third, we suggest the introduction of “Economically Endangered” as a criterion of “Threatened” for r-strategy species. Fourth, more conservation attention should be allocated to endemic species. Finally, we introduce the metapopulation concept into evaluation of endangered aquatic wildlife.
    The zoogeography of Chinese Palaemonoidea fauna
    LI Xin-Zheng, LIU Rui-Yu, LIANG Xiang-Qiu
    Biodiv Sci. 2003, 11 (5):  393-406.  doi:10.17520/biods.2003047
    Abstract ( 4427 )   PDF (403KB) ( 4606 )   Save
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    In the present paper, we discuss the distribution and faunal characteristics of Palaemonoid Decapods in China.  Three families, Anchistioididae, Gnathophyllidae, and Palaemonidae, of the Superfamily Palaemonoidea have been found in Chinese marine and fresh waters.  In the family Anchistioididae, a rare marine group comprising only 1 genus and 4 species, only 1 species was found, from the Nansha Islands in the southern South China Sea.  Of the small family Gnathophyllidae, which includes 4 genera and 12 species, 3 common Indo-West Pacific species were recorded from the Xisha Islands in the northwestern South China Sea.  Species of these two families are tropical (in nature).  The Palaemonidae, the largest and a very common family of Palaemonoidea, is widely distributed in world oceans and freshwater habitats and consists of 2 subfamilies and 102 genera.  This family is very rich in species in Chinese waters.  The Subfamily Palaemoninae is a free living group inhabiting mainly freshwater or shallow marine and brackish water habitats.  A total of 61 species belonging to 9 genera were reported from China, mostly in southern parts.  The fauna belongs to the tropical and subtropical Indo-West Pacific Region (marine and brackishwater) or Oriental Realm (freshwater). A few temperate species of Exopalaemon, Palaemon and Palaemonetes extend their distributional range northward to Siberian waters.  Species of the Subfamily Pontoniinae are exclusively marine, most of which are coral reef dwellers in the tropical and subtropical Indo-West Pacific Region.  About 80% of the Pontoniinae species live commensally with other marine invertebrates, such as coelenterates, sponges, bivalve mollusks, echinoderms, and ascidians.  We consider that the origin and distribution center of the fauna is in the coral reef areas of the Indo-West Pacific, and they developed well when associated with other marine living organisms, and then expanded their range to tropical American waters.  To date, 31 genera and 96 species of Pontoniinae have been reported in Chinese waters, all of which are from the South China Sea, except Periclimenes tosaensis, which has also been recorded in the East China Sea and southern Japanese waters, parts of the tropical and subtropical Indo-West Pacific Region.
    Elements and achievements in research on domestic animal biodiversity
    CHEN You-Chun, MA Yue-Hui, WANG Duan-Yun
    Biodiv Sci. 2003, 11 (5):  407-413.  doi:10.17520/biods.2003048
    Abstract ( 3217 )   PDF (236KB) ( 2176 )   Save
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    For years the research on domestic animal diversity has emphasized diversity of economic traits, ecological diversity and diversity of breeds. Recently, research on genetic diversity of domestic animals has  developed rapidly.  Research on clusters of breeds, systematic conservation, the relationships between genetic diversity and economic traits, and ecological diversity has all made great progress, including some success with QTL, and creating transgenic and cloned animals. The genetic analysis between domestic breeds and their wild relatives was applied to breeding new strains or breeds by hybridization.Evaluation methods using biotechnology have confirmed that many local breeds are unique to China,and this has given rise to worldwide interest.
    The current status and a conservation strategy for species of Galliformes in China
    ZHANG Zheng-Wang, DING Chang-Qing, DING Ping, ZHENG Guang-Mei
    Biodiv Sci. 2003, 11 (5):  414-421.  doi:10.17520/biods.2003049
    Abstract ( 4034 )   PDF (268KB) ( 4276 )   Save
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    Galliformes is one group of birds which has a close relationship with human beings. Their conservation has received widespread attention from many international conservation organizations. As one of the countries rich in Galliformes, to strengthen the conservation of Galliformes is not only an important aspect of wildlife conservation in China, but also plays a significant role in global biodiversity conservation practice. In recent years, the Chinese government has paid more and more attention to protecting wild populations of Galliformes. In “the National Project on Wildlife Protection and Nature Reserve Construction” carried out by the State Administration of Forestry of China, pheasants are among the 15 groups of animals and plants which have high priority for conservation. In this paper, the species diversity, endemic species, and distribution patterns of Galliformes in China are introduced, and the current status and threats to this group of birds are summarized. Base on achievements made in in situ protection, ex situ conservation and scientific research, the main problems existing in conservation practice are discussed, and a conservation strategy for Chinese Galliformes is suggested.
    Biodiversity and conservation of pteridophytes from Diaoluo Mountain, Hainan Island
    DONG Shi-Yong, CHEN Zhen-Chuan, ZHANG Xian-Chun
    Biodiv Sci. 2003, 11 (5):  422-431.  doi:10.17520/biods.2003050
    Abstract ( 3772 )   PDF (357KB) ( 2992 )   Save
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    >We studied the pteridophyte flora of Diaoluo Mountain in SE Hainan. In total, 213 species and 4 varieties of 100 genera in 43 families of pteridophytes were recognized. The two dominant families of the flora were Polypodiaceae with 12 genera and 24 species, and Hymenophyllaceae with 11 genera and 17 species. Five species collected recently from Diaoluo Mountain, i.e. Lygodium subareolatum, Pteris longipinnula, Pteris longipes, Allantodia deoderleinii and Dryopteris fuscipes, are new records to Hainan Island. Diaoluo Mountain is one of the centres of pteridophyte diversity in Hainan with a high species density of 55.8 species per centum square kilometer. Its pteridophyte flora is characterized by tropical distribution elements, represented by 100% tropical families, 93.2% tropical genera and 95.3% tropical species (excluding cosmopolitan taxa). Its flora is closely related with that of Indo China and that of Guangdong and Guangxi Provinces of China. The altitudinal distribution of pteridophyte can be divided into three zones: 30% of the pteridophytes are distributed in tropical rain forests and open area below 600 m, while 60.6% are mainly distributed in montane rain forests between 600~1000 m, and 9.4% are distributed in montane evergreen short forests above 1000 m. Most of the pteridophytes below 600 m are heliophytes, while those between 600~1000 m are sciophytes, and those above 1000 m are mainly epiphytes or lithophytes. According to 2001 IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria, 36 species are threatened on Hainan Island. Among them, six species are CR (Critically Endangered), 13 species are EN (Endangered) and 17 species are VU (Vulnerable). Eight of the 36 species are second class protected wild plants in China. The threatened species are mainly caused by  drying of habitats. Because the primary forests had been destroyed on a large scale throughout the whole island, the water retaining capacity of the vegetation and soil has been decreasing for decades. In addition, human disturbance also accounts for some threatened species.
    Quantitative survey on exotic weeds in autumn in Nanjing
    WU Hai-Rong, QIANG Sheng
    Biodiv Sci. 2003, 11 (5):  432-438.  doi:10.17520/biods.2003051
    Abstract ( 3595 )   PDF (280KB) ( 2305 )   Save
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    A survey of species and distribution of exotic weeds was conducted with the square plot method in different habitats in Nanjing. The collected data were analyzed with principal component analysis(PCA).  Twenty-one exotic weed species belonging to 19 genera and 11 families were recorded in autumn in the region, and of them originated from America. Composite comprised the most species among all families. The results of principal component analysis showed that the most important factors affecting the occurrence and distribution of exotic weed species were the levels of human disturbance and soil humidity. According to these two factors, all samples were divided into four groups. The dominant exotic weed species in each group were regarded according to the importance value of the species. Group I included samples collected from dry land, and its dominant exotic weed species were Amaranthus retroflexus,Veronica persica and Alternanthera philoxeroides. Group Ⅱ included samples located in wastelands and right-of-ways which were non-managed or non-irrigated farmland. The dominant exotic weed species mainly belonged to composites, such as Erigeron annuus,Conyza bonariensis and Conyza canadensis. Group Ⅲ included samples located in public parks where the number of exotic weed species was abundant. The dominant species were Ambrosia artemisiifolia,Plantago virginica,Alternanthera philoxeroides,Aster subulatus,Erigeron annuus,Conyza bonariensis,  and Conyza canadensis. The last group was mainly composed of samples distributed on the waterside and in paddy fields. The dominant exotic weeds were Alternanthera philoxeroides,Aster subulatus and Medicago hispida. The analysis of the difference of species richness among groups showed that invasion of exotic weeds had a harmful influence on biological diversity. Some suggestions for management of exotic weeds are proposed.

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