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Table of Content
    Volume 24 Issue 10
    20 October 2016

    Thousand Island Lake is one of the globally unplanned experiments that can help us understand island biogeography and the effects of habitat fragmentation. In this issue, Wu et al (see pages 1135–1145 of this issue) used long-term dataset of bird communities in the Thousand Island Lake to examine the effects of dispersal abilities on colonization, extinction and turnover rates in the framework of the classic Theory of Island Biogeography. The picture shows the land-bridge landscape of the Thousand Island Lake. (photographed by Mingjian Yu)

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    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (10):  0-0. 
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    New trends for biodiversity conservation from the World Conservation Congress
    Keping Ma
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (10):  1091-1092.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016319
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    Original Papers: Plant Diversity
    Comparing tree seedling composition and distribution patterns under different sampling intensities in the 24 ha Gutianshan forest dynamics plot
    Yin Guo, Yunquan Wang, Lei Chen, Xiangcheng Mi, Haibao Ren, Shengwen Chen, Jianhua Chen
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (10):  1093-1104.  doi:10.17520/biods.2015341
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    As the seedling stage is the bottleneck in forest tree regeneration, knowledge of the composition and structure of seedlings is crucial to understanding the mechanisms of community assemblage and diversity maintenance. However, based on the limited sampling intensity common in previous studies, seedling census datasets are representative of common species, but are ineffective for monitoring rare species. In this study, we established a new seedling monitoring network in the 24 ha Gutianshan (GTS) forest dynamics plot (FDP) consisting of 285 seedling plots (5 m × 5 m) in 2012. In the seedling pots, all woody plants (DBH < 1 cm and height ≥ 10 cm) were tagged, mapped and measured every two years. We used the first census data to investigate seedling composition, species diversity patterns, seedling, and non-seedling species habitat association. Our results showed that: (1) There were 138 species, consisting of a total of 20,581 individuals in 285 seedling plots of 5 m × 5 m. The Shannon-Wiener diversity index and Rarefied species richness were higher than those of the 1 m × 1 m seedling plots and 24 ha FDP census (DBH ≥ 1 cm). Similar results were found when using rarefaction approach. Compared with 1 m × 1 m seedling plots, the number of species showed a significant increase and the species-area curve became more asymptotic. (2) The relationship between seedling abundance and tree species exhibited negative allometry, suggesting that the mortality rate of plants in the seedling stage was relatively high compared with the rate found in the non-seedling stage due to the negative density dependence. (3) Sampling intensity and selection of DBH cutoffs influence the definition of rare species. Some rare species defined by trees with DBH ≥ 1 cm were not actually rare when individuals with DBH < 1 cm were considered (i.e. Ardisia crenata, Litsea cubeba, Lespedeza thunbergii subsp. formosa). (4) The indicator species of the 5 m × 5 m seedling plots were different from those found in the 24 ha FDP and the 1 m × 1 m seedling census. 13 species was significantly correlated with single habitat type in these 5 m × 5 m seedling plots, which shared only three species that identified as indicator species for 1 m × 1 m seedling plots and two species for non-seedling plots. In conclusion, sampling intensity influenced patterns of tree seedling composition and community diversity, and increasing sampling intensity can provide deeper insights into the processes of diversity maintenance.

    Diversity and distribution patterns of climbing plants in the Himalayan region
    Liang Hu
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (10):  1105-1116.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016225
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    The Himalayas are a biodiversity hotspot. In this study, the taxonomic diversity of climbing plants in the Himalayan region and its connection with neighbouring regions were analyzed, the distribution patterns of climbers in the Himalayas and the Indo-Gangetic Plain were compared, and mechanisms were discussed. Results showed that: (1) The Himalayan region harbored a total of 1,083 climbing species in 309 genera and 72 families. Approximately 66.9% (725 species) of these species were woody or semi-woody climbers (lianas) and the remaining 33.1% (358 species) were herbaceous (vines). Twining climbers accounted for 51.3% of the climbing plants in this region. (2) The climbing plant flora in the Himalayas was significantly affected by neighboring floras. About 74.1% (802 species) of the climbers in the Himalayas were also found in Southeast Asia, 548 species (50.6%) were found in South Asia, and 530 species (48.9%) were found in Southwest China. Only 125 climbers (11.5%) were endemic to this region and no endemic genus was recorded. (3) Species diversity of climbing plants and their proportion in the flora gradually decreased from east to west in the Himalayas. Twining climbers and lianas became more dominant in the western regions. At the genus level, species diversity of most climber-rich genera decreased westward across the Himalayas and species diversity of only a few genera (e.g. Vicia and Cuscuta) showed an increase from east to west. (4) The distribution patterns of climbing plants in the Himalayas and the Indo-Gangetic Plain were consistent. However, species diversity was higher in the Himalayas and its decreasing trend westward was more significant. At the genus level, the average decreasing rate of climber-containing genera from east to west is 8.4 genera per 100 km in the Himalayas and 6.3 genera per 100 km in the Indo-Gangetic Plain. A total of 272 climber-containing genera in the Himalayas were shared with the Indo-Gangetic Plain, and 196 genera were not found in the west regions (Central Asia and Iranian plateau). In the 196 genera, 61 genera (31.1%) were distributed more to the west in the Himalayas than in the Indo-Gangetic Plain, while only 8 genera (4.1%) were distributed more to the west in the Indo-Gangetic Plain than in the Himalayas. In conclusion, species diversity and distributional characteristics of climbers in the Himalayas were attributed in part to the geographical location of this region, the altitudinal and longitudinal gradients of climate and habitats, and the diversification of adjacent floras. The similarities of the distribution patterns of climbing plants in the Himalayas and the Indo-Gangetic Plain may be primarily due to similar east-west water gradients.

    Potential distribution of wild Camellia oleifera based on ecological niche modeling
    Xiangyan Cui, Wenjuan Wang, Xiaoqiang Yang, Shu Li, Shengyuan Qin, Jun Rong
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (10):  1117-1128.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016164
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    Camellia oleifera is the dominant woody oil crop in China, and wild C. oleifera is a valuable genetic resource for C. oleifera breeding. Using distribution data of wild C. oleifera from the Chinese Virtual Herbarium (CVH,, together with climate and soil data, ecological niche models were constructed with MaxEnt and genetic algorithm for rule-set prediction (GARP) models to predict the potential distribution of wild C. oleifera, and the major environmental factors affecting the distribution of wild C. oleifera were analyzed. Based on the presence probability of wild C. oleifera predicted by the models, the distribution regions of wild C. oleifera were divided into different suitable growing categories, which were then compared with actual distribution data of major C. oleifera production fields to evaluate reliability. Results indicated that the predictions of both MaxEnt and GARP models represented the distributions of C. oleifera well. The potential distribution range predicted by the GARP model was wider, while that predicted by the MaxEnt model was more accurate. Predictions of both the MaxEnt and GARP models showed that the potential distribution regions of wild C. oleifera were located mainly in China and partly in the Indo-China Peninsula. According to predictions of the MaxEnt model, the potential distribution regions of wild C. oleifera in China were matched with the distribution regions of subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forests, and the highly suitable growing regions could be divided into three large regions: (1) northeastern-southwestern trending Wuyi Mountain and adjacent mountainous regions; (2) eastern-western trending Nanling Mountain and adjacent mountainous regions; (3) northeastern-southwestern trending Wuling Mountain and adjacent mountainous regions. The analysis of the MaxEnt model showed that the major environmental factors affecting the distribution of wild C. oleifera were mean monthly diurnal temperature range, precipitation during the driest quarter, and precipitation during the warmest quarter. The vast majority of the regions with large growing areas of C. oleifera were located in the medium to highly suitable growing regions predicted by the MaxEnt model, suggesting that the division of suitable growing regions was reliable. The field investigations showed that the model predictions had high reference values for finding wild C. oleifera resources. Additionally, the study shows that using the plant distribution data from CVH and related environmental data to construct an ecological niche model can help to understand the geographic distribution of crop wild relatives.

    Distributional patterns of the monolete and trilete ferns in China
    Xueping Wei, Xianchun Zhang
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (10):  1129-1134.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016219
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    Spores are important for fern classification and sexual reproduction and they usually have apertures; monolete (bilateral) and trilete (tetrahedral) are the two common types. All of the 2,281 native Chinese fern species (including subspecies and varieties) were included in our survey of monolete and trilete species ratios and their distribution patterns. Result revealed that (1) the number of monolete species was higher than the number of trilete, and there was a positive correlation between the ratio of monolete: trilete species (MTR) and latitude, and also between MTR and altitude. MTR was also shown to increase with decreases in temperature and rainfall. Monolete ferns were found to have larger distributional areas than trilete ones and to be more tolerant to a colder and drier climate. It is hypothesized that monolete ferns have a strong capacity to adapt to an extreme habitat; and that (2) neither monolete nor trilete spore are of single origin as parallel evolution might exist during the evolution of ferns. This study sheds new light on niche adaptation in ferns, as well as the evolution and diversification of ferns.

    Original Papers: Animal Diversity
    Effects of dispersal abilities on community dynamics of breeding birds on the land-bridge islands in the Thousand Island Lake, China
    Yiru Wu, Xingfeng Si, Chuanwu Chen, Di Zeng, Yuhao Zhao, Jiaqi Li, Ping Ding
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (10):  1135-1145.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016209
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    Island biogeography theory is an important part of community ecology, and its core process is species turnover, which is determined by species colonization and extinction. A large number of studies have shown that community dynamics of many biotic taxa can be affected by their dispersal abilities. Our study explored the effects of dispersal abilities on community dynamics of breeding birds. Between April 2007 and June 2013, we surveyed bird communities using line-transects on 36 land-bridge islands during breeding seasons in the Thousand Island Lake, China. We divided breeding birds into two types according to their dispersal abilities. We then used multivariate logistic regression and the maximum likelihood method to estimate the biogeographical parameters and to analyze community dynamics of these breeding birds. Results showed that birds with strong dispersal abilities have been less affected by island parameters than others, with a higher turnover rate. Therefore, the difference of dispersal abilities of breeding birds has significant effects on their community dynamics on the land-bridge islands in the Thousand Island Lake, China.

    Fish faunal presence value in three first level tributaries of the Salween River in Yunnan, China and its meaning for aquatic nature reserve plan- ning
    Wei Zhou, Xu Li, Kaiyuan Li, Minghui Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (10):  1146-1153.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016210
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    By combining the classical faunal analysis method and the value of faunal presence method, we analyzed fish diversities and their representatives in three first level tributaries including Nangunhe, Nantinghe and Mengboluohe in Yunnan to the middle Salween River system, to compare the difference in values of fish faunal presence and to analyze the characteristics of the faunal composition and the importance of families and genera in fauna formation. The purpose of the study was to explore the guiding role of the fish faunal presence value index in planning and establishing fish nature reserves. Results showed that a total of 74 endemic species were recorded in middle Salween River system in the Yunnan section, belonging to 5 orders, 12 families, and 45 genera. 53 species were recorded in these three first level tributaries, belonging to 5 orders, 12 families, and 38 genera, among them 32 species belonging to 9 families and 23 genera in Nangunhe; 47 species belonging to 11 families and 33 genera in Nantinghe; and 33 species belonging to 10 families and 26 genera in Mengboluohe. Sorted by species absolute number, Cyprinidae, Cobitidae and Sisoridae were ranked in the top 3 families in the three first level tributaries. Sorted by the fauna presence value, Anguillidae, Channidae, Mastacembelidae, Cobitidae, Synbranchidae and Sisoridae were ranked in the top 5 families in the three first level tributaries. Results from the two methods were consistent with one another. The faunal presence value in the same genus changed greatly in the different tributaries, and the regional distribution features of the genus and species became obviously. The fish composition in the three first level tributaries was composed of a primitive group from the Palaeogene, comprised of a group that originated from the south and a small number of taxa that originated from Qinghai Tibet Plateau. The results of the fish fauna presence values indicated that one or more of the first level tributaries should be selected as reserves in the upper, middle and lower reaches of the main stream when setting up freshwater fish natural reserves. The greater the taxa of orders and families with a high fauna presence value covered when planning fish natural reserves, the greater the protection, which was not an element must be considered. However, the fauna presence value of the genera should be a special concern when planning reserves.

    Original Papers: Microbial Diversity
    Diversity of Bacillus-like species in Taiwan
    Guohong Liu, Bo Liu, Yujing Zhu, Jianmei Che, Cibin Ge, Mingxing Su, Jianyang Tang
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (10):  1154-1163.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016121
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    To provide a foundation for new resource mining of Bacillus-like species and the development of microbial agents, we investigated the distribution and diversity of Bacillus-like species, which were isolated from soil samples collected in Taiwan. The Bacillus-like bacteria were isolated from the soil samples using the culturable method and preliminarily identified based on 16S rRNA gene sequences. A total of 136 Bacillus-like isolates were obtained from 20 soil samples, and identified as 20 species belonging to 2 genera (16 Bacillus species, 4 Lysinibacillus species) within Bacillaceae by 16S rRNA gene sequences. According to isolation frequency analysis, the dominant bacteria in Taiwan were B. aryabhattai, B. thuringiensis and B. cereus. Other bacteria were distributed extremely unevenly. In Taiwan, the Shannon-Wiener diversity index ranged from 1.2925 to 2.5850, with the highest values found in Taichung and Chiayi cities (both 2.5850), the lowest in Taoyuan County (1.2925). Based on isolation frequency cluster analysis, all the Bacillus-like species could be divided into high frequency groups and low frequency groups. Moreover, there was no correlation in the species distribution of Bacillus-like bacteria among the collection sites in Taiwan. Thus, Taiwan contains rich Bacillus-like species and high diversity, which has strong potential for exploitation in the future.

    Diversity and distribution of cultivable Bacillus-like species in soils collected from Wuyishan Nature Reserve
    Cibin Ge, Rong Zheng, Bo Liu, Guohong Liu, Jianmei Che, Jianyang Tang
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (10):  1164-1176.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016085
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    The present paper reported the distribution and diversity of cultivable Bacillus-like species in soils from Wuyishan National Nature Reserve. In June 2012, 75 soil samples were collected from the peak, middle and base of the Huanggang Mountain, Tongmuguan, Guadun, and Dazhulan in the reserve. The Bacillus-like species were isolated by plating the series dilution after 80℃water bath heating the soil samples and then identified using 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. Results showed that 418 strains isolated from the soil samples belonged to 42 Bacillus-like species, which were grouped into eight genera containing Bacillus, Brevibacillus, Fictibacillus, Lysinibacillus, Paenibacillus, Psychrobacillu, Rummeliibacillus and Viridibacillus. Furthermore, Bacillus was the dominant genus, followed by the genera Paenibacillus and Lysinibacillus. The greatest number of Bacillus-like species was isolated from the soils in Dazhulan, while the fewest were found at the middle and base of Huanggang Mountain. The quantities of Bacillus-like species in soils collected from Guadun and Dazhulan were more than 3.6×106 cfu/g soil, but less than 4.9×105 cfu/g soil at the top and middle of Huanggang Mountain. Bacillus cereus, B. mycoides, B. thuringiensis, and Lysinibacillus xylanilyticus were isolated from all six sites, which were dominated by B. thuringiensis and L. xylanilyticus. The Shannon-Wiener diversity index and Pielou’s evenness index for Bacillus-like species isolated from Tongmuguan were higher than those at the other five sites, while the lowest Shannon-Wiener diversity index, Pielou’s evenness index and Simpson index values were found in the soils from Guadun. There was a significant correlation between the altitude and the quantity of B. mycoides and B. thuringiensis, with correlations of 0.852 and -0.834, respectively. Additionally, highly significant correlations were found between the altitude and the isolating frequency of B. cereus, B. mycoides and B. thuringiensis, with correlations of 0.960, 0.952 and -0.931, respectively. These results indicated the abundance and diversity of the Bacillus-like species community and bacteria species were extremely rich in Wuyishan Nature Reserve.

    Evaluating conservation effectiveness of protected areas: advances and new perspectives
    Wei Wang, Lijuan Xin, Jinhong Du, Bing Chen, Fangzheng Liu, Libo Zhang, Junsheng Li
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (10):  1177-1188.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016162
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    Conservation effectiveness of protected areas indicates the status of main protected objects, and achievements in maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem function. Evaluation of conservation effectiveness is becoming a popular issue surrounding protected areas. From multiple spatial scales, subjects, methods and indicators, we reviewed advances in evaluating conservation effectiveness of protected areas. Recent studies have represented global, regional, national, and individual scales. Evaluated projects include the most common ecosystems (forests, wetlands, grasslands, deserts) and wild species. Evaluation methods have been moving from traditional direct before-and-after or inside-outside comparisons to “matching” techniques, which allows one to control for known landscape or environmental biases when determining the impacts of protection. Some researchers have explored indicator systems to make systematic evaluations of the effectiveness of protected areas, meanwhile others have tested indicators using case studies. In China, nature reserve is the backbone of the country’s protected areas system. Different ministries and state-level authorities have initiated evaluation of conservation effectiveness of nature reserves. We suggest that future studies should explore the following issues to improve the quality of nature reserves: (1) conservation effectiveness of nature reserve networks; (2) conservation effectiveness of different types of reserves; (3) integration of conservation effectiveness and management evaluation; and (4) potential impacts on nature reserves.

    Effect of the Maxent model’s complexity on the prediction of species potential distributions
    Gengping Zhu, Huijie Qiao
    Biodiv Sci. 2016, 24 (10):  1189-1196.  doi:10.17520/biods.2016265
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    Ecological niche modeling (ENM) is widely used in the study of biological invasions and conservation biology. Maxent is the most popular algorithm and is being increasingly used to estimate species’ realized and potential distributions. Most modelers use the default Maxent setting to fit niche models, which originated from an earlier study containing 266 species, with the purpose of seeking their realized distributions. However, recent studies have shown that Maxent uses a complex machine learning method. It is sensitive to sampling bias and tends to overfit training data, and is only transferrable at low thresholds. Default settings based on Maxent outputs are sometimes not reliable, making it difficult to interpret. Using Halyomorpha halys and classical modeling approaches (i.e., niche models that were calibrated in native East Asia and transferred to North America), we tested the complexity and performance of the Maxent model under different settings of regulation multipliers and feature combinations, and chose a fine-tuned setting with the lowest complexity. We then compared the response curves and model interpolative and extrapolative validations between models calibrated using default and fine-tuned settings. Our purpose was to explore the effects of the model’s complexity on niche model performance in order to improve the development and application of Maxent in China. We argue that selection of environmental variables is crucial for model calibration, which should include ecological relevance and spatial correlation. Reducing sampling bias and delimitating a proper geographic background, together with the comparison of response curves and complexity of Maxent models built under different settings, is very important for fitting a good niche model. In the case of H. halys, the default and fine-tuned settings are different, however the response curve is much smoother in the fine-tuned model, and the omission error is lower in introduced areas when compared to default model, suggesting that the fine-tuned model reflects the response of H. halys to environmental factors more reasonably and precisely predicts the potential distribution.

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