For all researches, please visit our "Peer-reviewed publications" page.
Ge D, Lu L, Cheng J, Xia L, Chang Y, Wen Z et al. (2017)
An endemic rat species complex is evidence of moderate environmental changes in the terrestrial biodiversity centre of China through the late Quaternary
Scientific Reports 7 46127.
The underlying mechanisms that allow the Hengduan Mountains (HDM), the terrestrial biodiversity centre of China, to harbour high levels of species diversity remain poorly understood. Here, we sought to explore the biogeographic history of the endemic rat, Niviventer andersoni species complex (NASC), and to understand the long-term persistence of high species diversity in this region. In contrast to previous studies that have proposed regional refuges in eastern or southern of the HDM and emphasized the influence of climatic oscillations on local vertebrates, we found that HDM as a whole acted as refuge for the NASC and that the historical range shifts of NASC mainly occurred in the marginal regions. Demographic analyses revealed slight recent population decline in Yunnan and south-eastern Tibet, whereas of the populations in Sichuan and of the entire NASC were stable. This pattern differs greatly from classic paradigms of temperate or alpine and holarctic species. Interestingly, the mean elevation, area and climate of potential habitats of clade a (N. excelsior), an alpine inhabitant, showed larger variations than did those of clade b (N. andersoni), a middle-high altitude inhabitant. These species represent the evolutionary history of montane small mammals in regions that were less affected by the Quaternary climatic changes.
Huang Y, Cui S, Li N, Li C, Jiang Z (2017)
Invasion and potential impacts of the first alien carnivore in China: American minks (Neovison vison) in Altai region, Xinjiang
Chinese Science Bulletin 62(4) 279-288.
American minks (Neovison vison), which cause great impacts on local small and median sized animals through direct predation and diseases tramission, had been characterized as an invasive species worldwide. As well-known fur animals, American minks were introduced to Europe in early 20th century, and to China in mid-20th century. American minks spread nearly entire Europe soon after escaping from fur farms in European countries, and they had already established naturalized population in northern Altai Mountain in Russia for years. Northern Altai Mountain is one of the main distribution areas of American minks in Russia. In recent years, American minks were reported in southern Altai mountains (Altai region, or Chinese Altai) in Xinjiang, China. American minks occurred in forest parks and national nature reserves in Altai region. Earlier records in China were misidentified as European minks or both of them. Based on field survey and photo identification, we confirmed that all these records were belong to American minks. Although American minks had been imported to China for over half a century, now they were found in wild in north-western China instead of eastern China, where had more mink farms. Thus American minks found in Chinese Altai may be border-crossing invaders. Through field survey and investigation, American minks were not rare in the forest parks and nature reserves of Chinese Altai region, thus we suggested that American mink had already established populations in China. We discussed the potential impacts of American minks invasion in China through habitat simulation, potential prey and competing species, and wildlife diseases. We discussed the current status of otters in China, which had similar niches to minks. Using MaxEnt model for habitats simulation at global scales, we predicted climate-suitable areas for American minks. We find that coastal regions of North America, south tip of South America, Europe, Eastern Asia, North Africa, South Eastern Australia and New Zealand harbor highly suitable habitats of American minks. All these coastal areas should be exceptionally precautious for live minks transport. In addition, mountains of Central Asia are the only inland highly suitable habitats of American minks. Central Asia harbors plentiful endemic fishes, and should be precautious for American minks invasion. In China, Chinese Altai and middle to lower reaches of Yangtze River are highly suitable habitats for American minks, where otters are almost disappeared. As China’s first alien carnivore, American minks will impose great predation pressures on endemic waterfowls and fishes, and will have impact on China’s endangered otters and other mustelids. All three major minks epidemic diseases: canine distemper, Aleutian disease and mink viral enteritis had already have outbreak records in Chinese mink farms, and theses diseases had been proven to transmit to wildlife. In addition, China the has largest mink farming industry of the world. Therefore, besides controlling border-crossing invasion, eco-security assessments should be strengthened in domestic mink farms.
Keywords: Altai Mountain, American minks, habitat simulation, invasive species, wildlife diseases
He X, Wang X, Fang J, Chang Y, Ning N, Guo H et al. (2017)
Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
Ethnopharmacological relevance Achyranthes L. (Amaranthaceae), also known as Chaff Flower and Niuxi/牛膝, mainly includes two famous medicinal species namely A. bidentata and A. aspera. A. bidentata has been widely used as blood-activating and stasis-resolving medicine for the treatment of various diseases including amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, lumbago, gonalgia, paraplegia, edema, stranguria, headache, dizziness, odontalgia, oral ulcer, hematemesis, and epistaxis. A. aspera has been widely used to treat various diseases, including gynecological disorder, asthma, ophthalmia, odontalgia, haemorrhoids, and abdominal tumor, and has been applied to difficult labour, wound healing, insect and snake bites. Aim of this review This review aims to provide systematically reorganized information on distributions, botanical characteristics, ethnopharmacology, chemical constituents, qualitative and quantitative analysis, pharmacological activities, and toxicity of Achyranthes species to support their therapeutic potential. Materials and methods The relevant information on Achyranthes species was gathered from worldwide accepted scientific databases via electronic search (Google Scholar, Web of Science, ScienceDirect, ACS Publications, PubMed, Wiley Online Library, SciFinder, CNKI). Information was also obtained from International Plant Names Index, Chinese Pharmacopoeia, Chinese herbal classic books, PhD and MSc dissertations, etc. Results A comprehensive analysis of literatures obtained through the above- mentioned sources confirms that the ethnomedicinal uses of Achyranthes species are mainly recorded in China, India, Korea, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Philippines, etc. Phytochemical investigations revealed that the major bioactive substances of Achyranthes plants are polysaccharides, polypeptides, triterpenoid saponins, and ketosteroids. Achyranthes plants have been shown to not only act on immune system, nervous system, bone metabolism, and reproduction, but also possess a wide range of biological activities, including blood-activating, anti-tumor, anti-inflammation, anti-arthritis, anti-oxidation, anti-aging, wound healing, etc. Toxicity studies indicated that A. bidentata and A. aspera seem non-toxic at the common therapeutic doses. Conclusions A. bidentata and A. aspera are very promising to be fully utilized in the development of nutraceutical and pharmaceutical products. There are, however, needs for further in-depth studies to confirm some ethnomedicinal uses of Achyranthes plants and to elucidate the scientific connotation of the widely documented property of conducting drug downward of A. bidentata. In addition, other widespread Achyranthes species like A. japonica and A. rubrofusca ought to be studied. Likewise, systematic comparative studies of the chemical constituents of medicinal Achyranthes plants resources with the same local name are also needed. Furthermore, not only should the investigations on the structure-activity relationship of the main bioactive compounds triterpenoid saponins and ketosteroids be carried out, but the pathways of absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion ought to be clarified. Last but not least, there is also a need to evaluate the long-term chronic toxicity and acute toxicity in vivo of the main bioactive compounds.
Keywords: Achyranthes aspera, Achyranthes bidentata, Ketosteroids, Polypeptides, Polysaccharides, Triterpenoid saponins
Horvitz N, Wang R, Wan F, Nathan R (2017)
Pervasive human-mediated large-scale invasion: analysis of spread patterns and their underlying mechanisms in 17 of China's worst invasive plants
Journal of Ecology 105(1) 85-94.
Biological invasions constitute a major component of human-induced environmental change and have become a world-wide problem threatening global biodiversity and incurring massive economic costs. Consequently, research on biological invasions proliferates, placing a major emphasis on species traits and habitat characteristics associated with successful invasion. Yet, the mechanisms underlying rapid spread and the resulting patterns remain largely unexplored. Using data collected since 1980 and earlier at the county level all over China, we studied the contribution of potential dispersal vectors – railroads, rail stations, roads, general human activity, rivers and winds – to the spread of 17 of China's worst invasive plant species. Focusing on long-distance dispersal events, we calculated the minimal arrival speed for the first record of each species in each county. We also developed and applied a new method to account for observation bias due to the proximity to roads, using observational data of 776 native (non-invasive) plant species throughout China. We found that human-related vectors are accountable for the vast spread of all 17 invasive plant species we examined. Spread patterns were characterized by long jumps of tens to hundreds of kilometres and extremely fast average spread rates of roughly 2–4 km per year, and a very broad range (0·1–128·2 km per year) with high variability between years. These rates are much higher than those expected from classic dispersal vectors such as water, wind or animals. Commonly used fat-tailed dispersal kernels did not fit the observed distribution of long jumps for any species. Synthesis. We found pervasive empirical evidence for the overriding role of humans in the large-scale spread of invasive plants from multiple taxa. The observed spread patterns differ significantly from those portrayed in the literature, emphasizing the need to develop new frameworks to explore large-scale spread in general and invasive spread in particular. With public data sets of invasive species observations becoming increasingly more available, the time is ripe to go beyond exploration of species traits and habitat suitability and to examine the actual patterns and the mechanisms of large-scale invasive spread, even at a scale of thousands of kilometres over land.
Keywords: Introduction, dispersal vectors, invasion ecology, invasive species, invasive spread, jump dispersal, long-distance dispersal, minimal arrival speed, plant dispersal, spread pattern
Hu J (2017)
Decreasing desired opportunity for energy supply of a globally acclaimed biofuel crop in a changing climate
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 76 857-864.
Under the pressure of growing populations and climate change globally, biofuel crops have motivated accelerating interest in the production of renewable bioenergy to provide a substantial proportion of the future energy supply. Both habitat suitability for cultivation and potential aggravating environmental problems from biofuel crops attract concerns worldwide. Jatropha curcas L. (Jatropha) is acclaimed as a magical biofuel crop with high potential to replace fossil fuels sustainably, as well as a multitude of environmental benefits. However, Jatropha is categorized as an invasive plant with a massive investment in new cultivations on a global scale but without a profound ecological knowledge. Given the ambitious policy target in production, it is urgent to achieve spatially explicit estimates of habitat suitability for increasing cultivation of Jatropha. The opportunities and risks for Jatropha were evaluated under climate change using the minimum and maximum representative concentration pathways (RCP2.6 and RCP8.5) by 2100. The extent of predicted suitable habitats may shrink by more than 45%, regardless of time slices, and the RCPs even considered assuming the most optimistic ability of dispersal. The impacts of climate change vary considerably among continents with the greater habitat loss in the Americas and Oceania than in Asia and Africa, and a high risk of habitat loss at low latitudes. The findings indicate that Jatropha would show a decreasing opportunity for desired energy supply. Due to the complexities of the likely impacts of climate change, this study provides important insights into developing cultivation policies for the utilization of Jatropha within a sustainable biofuel program.
Keywords: Climate change, Cultivation, Ecological niche models, Energy supply, Jatropha curcas L., Sustainability
Hughes A (2017)
Biological Conservation 209 395-405.
Southeast Asian biodiversity is a global priority for conservation, due to the high levels of diversity and endemism, combined with some of the greatest levels of threat. Conservation planning is essential to ensure that hotspots of biodiversity and endemism have the protection needed to prevent deforestation, hunting and other forms of exploitation in some of the Southeast Asia's most diverse areas, yet this requires data which in many cases does not exist. Growing volumes of online available data provides the ability to develop accurate models of species distributions, and gain new perspectives on regional diversity patterns and provide essential baseline data for planning and conservation. Here, using the best available information I develop maps of the ranges of 2471 vertebrate (birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians) and 1198 plant species, and explore patterns of biodiversity and the adequacy of protection. Each taxon shows different patterns of diversity, and no taxa provided an effective surrogate for diversity patterns in different groups. I show that for the majority of biodiversity hotspots fall outside protected areas, with between 10 and 55% of areas with at least > 75% of the maximum number of species unprotected. The percentage of species ranges protected areas also varies by taxa, from a maximum of 40% to reptiles with a mean of only 13.5% of species ranges protected. Furthermore comparison between my predictions and IUCN maps of diversity differed greatly for all taxa examined, with IUCN hotspots covering a much larger portion of the region and potentially overestimating the ranges of many species. Further efforts are needed to better protect centres of diversity, and the inclusion of these methods into regional conservation planning may greatly assist in increasing the effectiveness of conservation.
Keywords: Baseline data, Biodiversity, Biodiversity hotspots, Biodiversity surrogates, Diversity patterns, IUCN, Protected areas, Spatial ecology
Jia L, Huang Y, Sun H, Su T, Huang J, Zhou Z (2017)
Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology.
Here we describe the first fossil species of Pterolobium (Leguminosae), Pterolobium punctatopsis sp. nov., based on two compressed fruits from the Middle Miocene (16.5-15.2 Ma) Maguan Basin, southeastern Yunnan, South China. The fruits are asymmetrically winged, consisting of an elliptical fruit body and a laterally extended membranous wing. Extensive comparisons with both extant and extinct genera that produce asymmetric winged fruits indicate that our fossil fruits can be unequivocally referred to Pterolobium. This fossil finding adds a new member into the fossil Leguminosae, enriching our knowledge of the past diversity of the large family. It implies that the genus already existed in South China, where it currently grows, at least by the Middle Miocene. As modern species of Pterolobium live in warm regions, the discovery of P. punctatopsis indicates a warm climate in Maguan region during the Middle Miocene. In contrast to the scarce fossil occurrence of Pterolobium, its sister group, Mezoneuron, has a relatively good fossil record that traces back to the Eocene.
Keywords: Asymmetrically winged fruit, Leguminosae, Middle Miocene, Pterolobium, South China, Yunnan
Lin M, Bi W, Yang X (2017)
Zootaxa 4238(2) 151.
A revision of the genus Eutetrapha Bates, 1884 is presented. Four new species are described from China: E. parastigmosa Lin & Yang, sp. nov. from Hubei, Chongqing and Shaanxi; E. tianmushana Lin & Bi, sp. nov. from Zhejiang; E. shaanxiana Lin & Yang, sp. nov. from Shaanxi, Hubei, Gansu; and E. gui Lin & Yang, sp. nov. from Hainan. Eutetrapha virides Pu & Jin, 1991 is transferred to the genus Paraglenea, and Glenea ocelota Bates, 1873 is transferred from Eutetrapha to Saperda (Lopezcolonia). Eutetrapha laosensis is newly recorded from India and Myanmar, while Eutetrapha flavoguttata Pu & Jin, 1991 is newly recorded from Myanmar. India and Myanmar represent new country records for Eutetrapha. Twenty-one taxa are recognized in the genus Eutetrapha, and a key to the described species of the genus is presented.
Keywords: Coleoptera, Oriental region, distribution, genitalia, new combination, new species, taxonomy
Li Y, Zhang Q, Liu Q, Meissle M, Yang Y, Wang Y et al. (2017)
Plant Biotechnology Journal.
Bt rice can control yield losses caused by lepidopteran pests but may also harm non-target species and reduce important ecosystem services. A comprehensive data set on herbivores, natural enemies, and their interactions in Chinese rice fields was compiled. This together with an analysis of the Cry protein content in arthropods collected from Bt rice in China indicated which non-target species are most exposed to the insecticidal protein and should be the focus of regulatory risk assessment.
Keywords: Bt rice, ecosystem services, environmental risk assessment, non-target effects, surrogate species
Ling S, Meng Q, Tang L, Ren M (2017)
Pollination Syndromes of Chinese Gesneriaceae: a Comparative Study between Hainan Island and Neighboring Regions
The Botanical Review 1-15.
The species-rich Gesneriaceae are typically a tropical family in Asia, showing a monophyletic radiation and high endemism in Southwest China and Hainan Island. The Chinese species have diverse floral traits and pollination systems, but the detailed patterns of diversity and possible differentiations between Hainan Island and the Chinese mainland remain unclear. Here, we enumerate the species diversity and proportion of endemics of Gesneriaceae for Hainan Island and the nearby Chinese provinces of Yunnan, Guangxi, Guizhou, and Guangdong. We then investigate the species evolutionary histories and main floral traits to evaluate speciation and pollination syndromes for the island and mainland flora. We recognize 24 (eight endemic) species on Hainan Island, 236 (106 endemic) in Yunnan, 211 (120 endemic) in Guangxi, 97 (28 endemic) in Guizhou, and 60 (20 endemic) in Guangdong. Although Hainan Island harbors fewer species than nearby regions, probably due to its smaller area, its endemic ratio is high, only slightly lower than Guangxi. A phylogenetic tree based on nuclear ITS 1/2 and chloroplast Trn L-F indicated most Hainan-endemic species were genetically close to species from Southeast Asia, rather than mainland China. For most floral traits, e.g., growth form, corolla type and color, Hainan Island species show no differences from other regions. Hainan Island and Yunnan Province have equal proportions of species with four or two stamens, whereas most species in other regions have two stamens. Hainan Island has a much higher percentage (21%) of actinomorphic species than other regions (< 10%). Most species in Hainan Island have exserted stamens, while stamens are included in most species in other regions. We did not find any increased tendency in floral traits that promote selfing for the island flora. Generalist pollination mechanisms, supported by characters such as actinomorphic corolla, appear to provide sufficient reproductive assurance in pollinator-depauperate Hainan Island.
Keywords: Adaptive evolution, Endemic species, Floral syndromes, Hainan Island, Pollination system, Speciation