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Table of Content
    Volume 24 Issue 2
    20 February 2016

    Alpine grassland accounts for 60% of the total area of the Tibetan Plateau. It is an important carrier of the Tibetan Plateau ecological security shelter function. Climate changes and human activities have caused the degradation of some alpine grasslands. Qi et al (for details see pages 127–135 of this issue) discussed the effects of ecological engineering on net primary production (NPP) in the Chang Tang and Sanjiangyuan national nature reserves on the Tibetan Plateau. The picture shows a representative alpine wetland landscape in the south of Chang Tang. (Photographed by Linshan Liu)

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    All Papers in This Issue
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (2):  0-0. 
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    Conservation Biology, Conservation Ecology and Biodiversity Science
    Keping Ma
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (2):  125.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016058
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    Original Papers: Plant Diversity
    Effects of ecological engineering on net primary production in the Chang Tang and Sanjiangyuan national nature reserves on the Tibetan Plateau
    Wei Qi, Wanqi Bai, Yili Zhang, Xue Wu, Lanhui Li, Mingjun Ding, Caiping Zhou
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (2):  127-135.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015082
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    Long term series of remotely sensed imagery of net primary production (NPP) data could reflect ecosystem health. In this study, we employed NPP to evaluate the effects of ecological engineering (nature reserve and new ecological engineering in 2004 or 2005 techniques) by the sampling area comparison method in the Chang Tang and Sanjiangyuan national nature reserves on the Tibetan Plateau. The results showed that: (1) among the 10 pairs of sampling areas, annual NPP of 9 pairs tended to increase between 1982 and 2009; (2) the new ecological engineering techniques improved the effectiveness of ecosystem conservation, with NPP in 8 pairs of sampling areas increasing faster than before; and (3) among all alpine grassland types, the new ecological engineering techniques remarkably improved the effectiveness of conserving the meadows.

    A logistic analysis on vegetation classification system based on dominant species with an illustrational scheme
    Wei Wang, Hao Pei, Xinting Wang
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (2):  136-147.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015113
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    This paper aims to introduce a method to test vegetation classification systems based on the dominant species, in order to evaluate the accuracy of the classification system. If the test shows that there are errors in commonly used vegetation classification system, corrections are needed. To correct the existing classification system error, we must build a new system of classification. This paper presents a new vegetation classification system based on dominant species, and identified the processes and methods to establish the classification system. Logic testing tools are the basis of examining the correctness of vegetation classification system. In this paper, we confirm that the principles of logic can be used for testing classification systems. Steps and methods to establish the vegetation classification systems are given and the new plant life-form and vegetation classification system are established. We suggest the concept of multi-constructive species vegetation, set, the classified status and present a clear vegetation nomenclature.

    Floral traits of woody plants and their habitat differentiations in a northern tropical karst forest
    Yuliang Jiang, Kundong Bai, Yili Guo, Bin Wang, Dongxing Li, Xiankun Li, Zhishang Liu
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (2):  148-156.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015229
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    The diversification of floral traits is the outcome of evolution by natural selection, and the variation in floral traits between species has a certain correlation with the plant habitats. The northern tropical karst seasonal rain forests have a great habitat heterogeneity, a complex structure of plant community, and abundant endemic components. Analyzing the relationship between the variation of plant traits and their habitats in those forests is helpful to understand species coexistence, coevolution and their adaptations to habitats, and to provide clues for revealing the ecological adaptability of plants and the maintenance mechanisms of biodiversity in karst forests. We conducted a preliminary study at a 15 ha plot of the northern tropical karst seasonal rain forest in Nonggang to examine the differences in floral traits among species and how these traits varied with habitats, when a relatively large number of woody plants bloomed synchronously, with a total of 21 species being found flowering. We divided the 21 species into three preferred habitat types (peak, slope and valley) according to the spatial distribution of species and their habitat associations, and analysed the differentiations among their floral traits. We also divided 21 species into three clustering groups of floral traits, and had a comparison between the habitat types and the clustering groups. The results showed that species dominance had a significantly negative correlation with flower size and flower color vividness, which indicated that it should be a favored trait for trees to have small flower size or unattractive flower color in the community. Only the flower color lightness was significantly different among the three types, while other flower traits were not significantly different. However, there was weak consistency between the three types and the three main groups, with 57.14% species overlapped , which showed that habitats had something to do with flower traits differentiations. In conclusion, we believe that the floral traits are closely related to the dominance of species and habitats in the northern tropical karst forest. Moreover, floral traits might be more deeply affected by habitats than pollination in this region.

    Original Papers: Animal Diversity
    Characteristics of macrobenthic communities in the estuary of Dagujia River and its adjacent water areas in Yantai, Shandong
    Xiaojing Li, Zhengquan Zhou, Linlin Chen, Baoquan Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (2):  157-165.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015217
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    A survey on macrobenthic assemblages was carried out in the estuary of Dagujia River and its adjacent waters in September 2012 (Yantai, China), to investigate the macrobenthic community and disturbance from anthropogenic activities. The software package PRIMER was used to calculate four biodiversity indices and carry out CLUSTER, non-metric multi-dimensional scaling (MDS) ordination analyses, abundance and biomass curves (ABC) to analyze the community structure. A total of 89 macrobenthic species were identified, of which the dominant group was polychaetes. The average biomass and abundance was 18.02 g/m² and 2,165 ind./m², respectively, of which Molluscan species contributed most to biomass and Crustacean species contributed most to abundance. Three biodiversity indices, Richness index, Evenness index and Shannon-Wiener index were 2.620 ± 1.324、0.585 ± 0.294 and 2.398 ± 1.351, respectively. CLUSTER and MDS analysis showed that macrobenthic assemblages could be divided into five sub-groups based on Bray-Curtis similarity and significant difference was found within the sub-groups. The spatial distribution of abundance and biomass of the community was closely related to water temperature, salt and total phosphorus. ABC curves showed the macrobenthic assemblages suffered disturbance from moderate to severe extent due to anthropogenic activities. Further analysis shows community succession has occurred, seen through a miniaturization tendency of individual body size, and decreasing number of species in assemblages as well as the dominant group changing to Crustacea in the estuary of Dagujia River.

    Fish diversity in southwestern seas of Nansha Islands and the mouth of Beibu Bay
    Yuan Li, Jing Zhang, Ran Zhang, Puqing Song, Zhihui Zhong, Yanping Wang, Longshan Lin
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (2):  166-174.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015203
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    Based on fixed-point survey data in southwestern seas of Nansha Islands and the mouth of Beibu Bay in the spring and autumn of 2012 and 2013, we calculated the composition of fish species, index of relative importance (IRI) of each species, Margalef richness index (D), Shannon-Wiener diversity index (H'), Pielou evenness index (J'), replacement index and migration index of the fish community. Results showed that a total of 504 species were identified involving 2 classes, 31 orders, 129 families, and 294 genera in the surveyed areas. There were 301 fish species in the mouth of Beibu Bay and 357 species in southwestern seas of Nansha Islands. The number of dominant species in autumn was higher than that in spring, and the number in the southwestern seas of Nansha Islands (SS) was higher than that of the mouth of Beibu Bay (SN), with an obvious seasonal fluctuation. All diversity indexes during the spring survey were higher than those of the autumn survey because of recruitment in spring and the movement of fish species to the deep sea in autumn. However, all diversity indexes of SS were higher than that of SN due to the larger effects of sea temperature and currents in the southwestern seas of Nansha Islands. Results of the replacement index and migration index showed that the fish community structure in autumn was less stable than that in spring and the community structure in the both seasons deviated from equilibrium because of fish migration and immigration and emigration of fishes with different thermophily. The integrated results showed that the species diversity and stability of fish community structure of SS were greater than those of SN. The fishery allowable catch should be controlled in a reasonable range and the fishery resources of the central and southern South China Sea should be exploited reasonably under the national supported policies. The stability of fisheries in the South China Sea is based on the high species diversity, therefore, it is also important to protect the diversity of species.

    Functional group classification and niche identification of major fish species in the Qixing Islands Marine Reserve, Zhejiang Province
    Chengye Hu, Yuyue Shui, Kuo Tian, Liang Li, Hulin Qin, Chuncao Zhang, Mengmeng Ji, Bonian Shui
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (2):  175-184.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015225
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    To understand the status of fish communities in the Qixing Islands Provincial Marine Reserve, China, we carried out bottom trawl surveys during the autumn of 2014 and the spring of 2015. By using niche breadths and their overlaps, non-metric multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster dendrograms, we studied the composition of functional groups and niche characteristics of major fish communities. In terms of feeding habits, six functional groups were identified: planktivores, benthivores, piscivores, planktivores/benthivores, benthivores/piscivores and omnivores. Planktivores, benthivores and benthivores/piscivores were the major fish communities in autumn; whereas planktivores, piscivores and omnivores were the dominant fish communities in spring. Shannon-Wiener’s niche breadth index (Bi) and the Pianka’s niche overlap index were used to compare dominant fish species. The niche breadth of dominant fish species ranged from 0.28 and 3.84 in autumn and Harpodon nehereus, Polydactylus sexfilis, Thrissa kammalensis, Odontamblyopus rubicundus, Muraenesox cinereus, Chrysochir aureus and Johnius belengerii had wider niche breadths (Bi>1.0). The niche breadth of dominant fish species ranged from 0.36 and 3.16 in spring and Trichiurus lepturus, Engraulis japonicus, Decapterus maruadsi, Psenopsis anomala, H. nehereus and Pampus argenteus had wider niche breadths (Bi>1.0). The niche overlap of dominant fish species in autumn and spring ranged from 0 to 0.94 and 0 to 0.92, respectively. Based on the square root of the abundance, and using non-metric multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis, fish communities during autumn and spring were divided into four and three groups, respectively. Through the analysis of functional group composition, niche breadth and niche overlap in the Qixing Islands Provincial Marine Reserve, we find improved fish community nutrition structure and spatial structure within the reserve.

    Fish species diversity and its seasonal variations in the Chaozhou section of Hanjiang River, Guangdong Province
    Xiaozhi Lin, Dongmei Li, Huanzhang Liu, Hongsheng Lin, Shaorong Yang, Hanjin Fan, Rushu Wen
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (2):  185-194.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015188
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    To understand the status of fish species diversity and seasonal variation in the Chaozhou section of Hanjiang River, a survey was carried out at five sample sites using fixed gillnets and cage nets from May 2012 to April 2013. In this study, 53 fish species, belonging to 8 orders, 19 families and 48 genera, were collected. Results indicated that Cypriniformes and Perciformes were the dominant groups with 27 and 11 species and accounting for 50.9% and 20.8% of the total species, respectively. Compared with earlier research, there were 13 new species recorded. The dominant species were Megalobrama terminalis, Microphysogobio fukiensis, Squaliobarbus curriculus and Cirrhinus molitorella, which accounted for 65.78% of the total samples. Shannon-Wiener index (H′), Pielou’s evenness index (E′) and Margalef richness index (D) were the highest in summer, followed by those in autumn, winter, and spring; Simpson index (D') was the highest in autumn, followed by those in summer, winter, and spring. A cluster analysis and non-metric multi-dimensional scaling ordination of Bray-Curtis similarity data based on species and abundance showed that the 12 months could be divided into 2 groups at a 38.23% similarity level, i.e. group I comprised six months of summer and autumn, while group II comprised six months of spring and winter, which is consistent with the variations in the diversity indices H', E, D and D'. These results indicated significant seasonal variations in fish resources among seasons. Water temperature and flow were suggested as the key drivers on fish resources in this area. Based on their appearance, 10 major fish species can be divided into two groups; Group A was characterized by small fish that appeared seasonally, while group B contained common species. In addition, it proposes that the habitat protection and the establishment of appropriate fishing regulations are the key measures to protect fish stocks in the Chaozhou section of Hanjiang River.

    Original Papers: Microbial Diversity
    Changes in soil microbial communities during litter decomposition
    Shanshan Li, Zhengwen Wang, Junjie Yang
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (2):  195-204.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015149
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    Litter decomposition is an important ecosystem function, and is an indispensable process for carbon and nutrient cycling. Litter decomposition is influenced by many factors, especially soil microbial communities, which are subject to their corresponding plant communities. It is necessary to study changes in soil microbial communities during litter decomposition and how these changes respond to plant diversity in corresponding forest communities to understand the mechanisms of decomposition. In the present study, we investigated these changes and responses using a litter bag method. Our results showed: (1) After 183 days of litter bag placement, microbial diversity decreased, and there was a negative correlation between plant species diversity and microbial diversity; (2) Soil microbial communities varied before and after the placement of plant litter bags. In particular the PLFAs of fungi and bacteria after the placement of litter bags were much higher than those before the placement of litter bags; (3) Topography was the most important factor correlated with the soil microbial community, and explained 29.55% of the variation of microbial communities. In contrast, litter quality and plant diversity explained 15.39% and 8.45%, respectively, and the interaction of the three factors explained 2.97% of the variation of the microbial communities. In conclusion, we find plant diversity plays a less important role than topography in determining soil microbial diversity, and litter quality influences soil microbial communities during litter decomposition.

    Genetic diversity of phytoplasmas: research status and prospects
    Shaoshuai Yu, Qicong Xu, Caili Lin, Shengjie Wang, Guozhong Tian
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (2):  205-215.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015127
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    Phytoplasmas are cell wall-less prokaryotic pathogens causing many plant diseases with various host plants, widely geographical distribution and adverse impacts on economics and environments. Abundant genetic diversity of the phytoplasmas has been evidenced by vast researches. In the paper, we conducted a comparatively systematic and comprehensive schematic review and comment on the research status of phytoplasma genetic diversity. We discussed the potential research directions with respect to research technology and generation mechanism of phytoplasmal genetic variation as well as relationships to pathogenicity in future. Analysis on five phytoplasmas whose whole genomes have been completed has indicated the definite genetic variation in size, structure and function of phytoplasmal genomes, which lack many genes for standard metabolic functions. There are different number, size and function of the plasmids in various phytoplasma strains. Two copies of ribosomal RNA operons among all the phytoplasmas showed significant variation which provided the present foundation for classification and identification of phytoplasmas. Studies on protein-encoding genes, such as ribosomal protein (rp), elongation factors (tuf and fusA), translocation proteins (secY and secA), effector molecules as well as non-encoding sequences such as promoters and pseudogenes have further revealed the rich genetic diversity of phytoplasmas. Since inadequate information is known regarding the characteristics of morphology, cultivation, physiology and metabolism due to the difficulty in culturing phytoplasma in vitro, modern molecular techniques for example whole genome sequencing and multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) are efficient ways to research phytoplasmal genetic variation. Discoveries and developed techniques have facilitated a system-wide approach to revealing phytoplasma genetic variation, phylogenetic evolution as well as the relationships of their interaction with hosts (plant and insect vector) and adaptation to ecological conditions from the molecular level, and led to new insights. This will be of great importance in increasing the level of classification and determination of phytoplasmas, epidemiological forecasting and the control of relevant diseases.

    Phenotypic plasticity of aquatic plants in heterogeneous environments: a review
    Lei Li, Yupeng Geng, Zhichun Lan, Jiakuan Chen, Zhiping Song
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (2):  216-227.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015214
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    Aquatic plants are the ecological group that mainly consists of herbaceous plants with habitats that are closely associated with water. Most aquatic plants have strong clonality. In response to changes in aquatic environments, aquatic plants exhibit significant plasticity in morphological, behavioral and physiological traits, and thus adapt well to heterogeneous aquatic environments. Compared with extensive studies on phenotypic plasticity of terrestrial plants, less attention has been paid to test how phenotypic plasticity of aquatic plants responds to heterogeneous environments. In this review, we briefly clarified the major types of phenotypic plasticity and their relationships in clonal plants in heterogeneous environments, identified the uniqueness of aquatic environments in relation to environmental heterogeneity, and analyzed the theoretical possibilities of aquatic plants showing high phenotypic plasticity. Furthermore, we probed into how aquatic plants adapted to heterogeneous aquatic environments by means of phenotypic plasticity involved with morphological plasticity, foraging behavior, clonal integration, intraclonal labour division, and risk spreading. Finally, we identified shortcomings in current studies on phenotypic plasticity of aquatic plants, and highlighted some issues deserving more attention in future studies, which include: (1) the changing pattern and mechanism of phenotypic plasticity; (2) the influence of clonal integration on community and ecosystem stability; (3) the trade-offs between clonal integration and fragmentation; (4) the differences of phenotypic plasticity in different types of clonal architecture, and their mechanisms; (5) the adaptive evolution of phenotypic plasticity; (6) the interaction of aquatic plants with species in other taxa or at different tropic levels; and (7) the response of aquatic ecosystems to global change.

    Impact of herbicides on wild plant diversity in agro-ecosystems: a review
    Yue Qi, Junsheng Li, Bing Yan, Zhenzhen Deng, Gang Fu
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (2):  228-236.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015208
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    Plant diversity in agro-ecosystems is an important component of global biodiversity. However, wild plant diversity in agro-ecosystems is influenced by herbicide use. We reviewed recent studies on the impacts of herbicides on wild plant diversity in agro-ecosystems and the underlying mechanisms. It is found that herbicide application (i) decreases the number of plants that are sensitive to herbicides; (ii) increases the number of plants that are resistant to herbicides; (iii) changes species composition; and (iv) decreases genetic diversity and species diversity of wild plants in agro-ecosystems. Herbicide impacts simplify plant functional groups and hence add instability to communities. The influencing mechanism is that herbicides kill plants or change plant metabolism, resistance, reproduction and the habitat of plants. Furthermore, herbicides, human activities, and environmental factors have interactions. The impacts of herbicides on plants are plant-specific and the responses of various species or communities to the herbicides are also different. At present, the use of herbicides is increasing rapidly in agricultural production in China. We therefore suggest that more studies are needed on the impact of herbicides on wild plants and the underlying mechanisms, and the historical performances of herbicides use should be studied using long-term monitoring of wild plant changes carried out in China’s agro-ecosystems. Studies on policies and laws related to the use of herbicides also need to be strengthened, whicn can help to improve conservation of biodiversity in agro-ecosystem of China.

    Progress in research and application of InDel markers
    Jie Yang, Jia He, Danbi Wang, En Shi, Wenyu Yang, Qifang Geng, Zhongsheng Wang*
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (2):  237-243.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015205
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    InDel indicates insertions or deletions (insertion-deletion) of nucleotide fragments of different sizes at the same site in the genome sequence between the same or closely related species and is a gap in sequence derived from alignment of the homologous sequence. InDel is widely distributed across the genome and occurs in a high density and large numbers in a genome. The InDel polymorphic molecular marker is a PCR-amplified marker that is based on specific primers designed from both sides of the site of sequence of insertion / deletion. It is essentially a length polymorphic marker still, and one can use the convenient electrophoresis platform for genotyping. InDel molecular markers have the advantage of high accuracy and good stability, which help to avoid confusion in subsequent analysis due to marker specificity and complexity, as is often seen in other length polymorphic markers. Furthermore, mixed or highly degraded DNA samples can be successfully amplified with InDel markers, and effectively typed. Because of its abundance, convenient typing platform and other advantages, InDel molecular markers have been applied to genetic analyses of animal and plant populations, molecular assisted crops and farmed animal breeding, human forensic genetics, medical diagnostics and other research areas. The development of the InDel molecular marker located on functional genes, combined with chromosome walking and fine gene mapping, has enabled the application of these molecular markers in the screening of genes related to important economic traits, which is conducive to the further development and utilization of these valuable genes. In this review, on the basis of an overview of the InDel marker development and applications, we discuss some of the technical limitations of the development and limited efficiency of genetic analysis, as well as potential future applications in the fine mapping and genetic structure of large numbers of individuals.

    Bryophyte biodiversity of the Dabashan National Nature Reserve in Chongqing
    Yan Liu, Chunyan Pi, Shang Tian
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (2):  244-247.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015236
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    The Dabashan National Nature Reserve is one of 35 biodiversity conservation priority areas of China. However, little is known about bryophyte biodiversity in this area. Based on an extensive field invest- tigation, we recorded 390 species (in 141 genera of 57 families) in the Dabashan National Nature Reserve. Of these, 82 species (in 31 genera of 21 families) were liverworts and 308 species (in 110 genera of 36 families) were mosses. Eighty species were first recorded in Chongqing. Families with more than 10 species included Brachytheciaceae, Pottiaceae, Hypnaceae, Bryaceae, Mniaceae and Dicranaceae, which accounted for 41.03% of the total species. Genera with more than 10 species included Brachythecium, Bryum, Entodon, Porella and Frullania, and accounted for 15.64% of the total species. Bryophyte diversity between altitudes of 1,000 m and 2,480 m showed a hump-shaped pattern. A peak was found at low elevations (1,200-1,600 m) with 91.79% of the total species found at these elevations. Therefore, we suggest that this elevational belt be a priority area for bryophyte conservation in the Dabashan National Nature Reserve.

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