The relationship between vegetation and soil erosion deserves attention due to its scientific importance and practical applications. A great deal of information is available about the mechanisms and benefits of vegetation in the control of soil erosion, but the effects of soil erosion on vegetation development and succession is poorly documented. Research shows that soil erosion is the most important driving force for the degradation of upland and mountain ecosystems. Soil erosion interferes with the process of plant community development and vegetation succession, commencing with seed formation and impacting throughout the whole growth phase and affecting seed availability, dispersal, germination and establishment, plant community structure and spatial distribution. There have been almost no studies on the effects of soil erosion on seed development and availability, of surface flows on seed movement and redistribution, and their influences on soil seed bank and on vegetation establishment and distribution. However, these effects may be the main cause of low vegetation cover in regions of high soil erosion activity and these issues need to be investigated. Moreover, soil erosion is not only a negative influence on vegetation succession and restoration, but also a driving force of plant adaptation and evolution. Consequently, we need to study the effects of soil erosion on ecological processes and on development and regulation of vegetation succession from the points of view of pedology and vegetation, plant and seed ecology, and to establish an integrated theory and technology for deriving practical solutions to soil erosion problems.
is a North American species and in Poland it is currently invasive in character. It is used to recultivate sand excavations and others, most often in order to make the process of plant and soil succession more advanced. It has been observed that in places were dominated in plantations, the herbaceous vegetation under the trees is poor and sometimes other vascular plants are not appearing at all. Plants usually overgrow the space out of the canopy shade. The positive influence of on a habitat is primarily connected with the chemical composition of plant litter, as well as with the biology of the species. Chemical composition of litter has been researched. The greatest accumulation of elements has been observed in the following parts: green leaves (Ca > K > Mg > P > Si > Na > Fe > Zn > Al > Mn) and leaf litter (Ca > K > Mg > Si > Fe > P > Na > Al > Zn > Mn). Similar regularities are observed in the remaining litter of It must be emphasized that nitrogen occurs in similar quantities in particular samples and it varies from 1.01 to 2.65%. The plant litter reaction (pH) vary from acid to weakly acid. In a short period of time under the canopy of a 10 cm organic and humus horizont (O/A) has developed.
Greenhouse experiments were conducted to assess the effect of salinisation of soil on emergence, growth, water content, proline content and mineral accumulation of seedlings of (Hook.) Raf. (Fabaceae). Sodium chloride (NaCl) was added to the soil and salinity was maintained at 0.3, 1.9, 3.9, 6.0 and 7.9 dS m . A negative relationship between seedling emergence and salt concentration was obtained. Salinity caused reduction in water content and water potential of tissues (leaves, stems, tap roots and lateral roots) that resulted in internal water deficit to plants. Consequently, shoot and root elongation, leaf expansion and dry matter accumulation in leaves, stems, tap roots and lateral root tissues of seedlings significantly decreased in response to increasing concentration of salt. Proline content in tissues was very low. There were no effective mechanisms to control net uptake of Na on root plasma membrane and subsequently its transport to shoot tissues. Potassium content significantly decreased in tissues in response to salinisation of soil. This tree species is a moderate salt-tolerant glycophytic plant. Nitrogen and calcium content in tissues significantly decreased as soil salinity increased. Phosphors content in tissues exhibited a declining trend with increase in soil salinity. Changes in tissues and whole-plant accumulation pattern of other elements tested, as well as possible mechanisms for avoidance of Na toxicity in this tree species in response to salinisation, are discussed.
In order to obtain high productivity for a cotton crop, one of the major requirements is to establish an adequate plant population. The use of good-quality seed may ultimately be the best approach to attain this goal problem. The objective of this research was to study the effect of N-fertilization (at rates of 95.2 and 142.8 kg of N ha ), foliar application of K (at rates of 0, 0.38, 0.77, 1.15 kg of K O ha , applied twice during square initiation and boll development stages) and the plant growth retardant (PGR), mepiquat chloride (applied twice, 75 days after planting at 0.0 [control] and 0.048 kg a.i. ha , and 90 days after planting at 0.0 [control] and 0.024 kg a.i. ha ), on seed yield, viability, and seedling vigor of Egyptian cotton ( cv. Giza 86). A field experiment was conducted at the Agricultural Research Center, Giza, Egypt in two growing seasons. Growth, mineral uptake, seed yield per plant and per ha, seed weight, seed viability, seedling vigor and cool germination test performance were all found to increase significantly due to the addition of the high N-rate, the foliar application of three potassium concentrations, and the PGR mepiquat chloride. The N and K rates as well as application of mepiquat chloride had no significant effect on the germination rate index in both seasons. Under the conditions of this study, applying N at a rate of 142.8 kg ha combined with spraying cotton plants with K O at 1.15 kg ha and with mepiquat chloride at 0.048 + 0.024 kg ha were found to improve seed yield as well as seed viability and seedling vigor in the next season.
In a mixed forest in Hong Kong, the foraging ecology of nine species of insectivorous birds was studied. Leaves and branches of diameters smaller than 2 cm were the most frequently searched microhabitats. Gleaning was the most frequently used foraging method. Apart from Blue-winged Minla and Japanese White-eye, no two species used similar proportions of vertical strata and microhabitats at the same time. Bird species using similar proportion of microhabitats were foraging in different proportion of vertical strata. This niche segregation enabled the bird species to coexist in the same habitat. Velvet-fronted Nuthatch differed from other species by its more frequent use of branches of diameters larger than 2 cm and tree trunks. This might be one of the reasons why this exotic species successfully established a breeding population in the study area.
are listed as endangered in China. The population size has declined recently, prompting an increase in the level of listing from grade three in 2002 to grade five in 2006. We analyzed the genetic diversity of wild populations using 17 microsatellite markers to establish a scientific basis for conservation of this species. We collected tissue samples from four populations in the Heilongjiang River basin: Huma River (HM), Hutou (HT), Haiqing (HQ), and Zhuaji (ZJ). A total of 21 loci were amplified, 18 of which were polymorphic. The number of alleles per locus ranged from 2 to 9 (mean: 4.1905). There were 13 highly polymorphic loci and 5 moderately polymorphic loci. Analysis of five genetic diversity parameters ( and suggested moderate levels of diversity within the populations. The populations were ranked HT > HQ > ZJ > HM, but the differences in diversity were not statistically significant ( > 0.05). A comparison of variation among all four populations suggested Hardy–Weinberg disequilibrium at 20% of the loci. Genetic differentiation ( ) was 0.0644 and the gene flow among populations was estimated at 3.36 individuals per generation. The majority of diversity (93.88%) occurred among individuals within a population. In contrast, relatively little (6.12%) of the genetic diversity was distributed between the populations. An analysis of genetic differentiation and genetic distance between pairs of populations revealed that both parameters were higher in comparisons of the HM population to the HT, HQ, and ZJ populations than among the three latter populations. This suggests that the HM population has a distinct genetic structure. We hypothesize that habitat degradation and excessive fishing, not low genetic diversity, has caused the decline in populations. However, this species should be protected from further declines in genetic diversity.
Image analysis systems have facilitated rapid measurements of fine root length (RL), diameter (RD), volume (RV), etc. The WinRHIZO system is unlike other image analysis systems in that it can detect, and make corrections for, areas of root overlap. It is designed to be capable of using both Regent’s non-statistical method (WinRHIZO method) and Tennant’s statistical method (line-intersect method), and can simultaneously output the root measurements by both methods when they are chosen at the same time. This study tested: (1), the efficacy of the overlap correction function in the WinRHIZO system; and (2), the consistency of fine root measurements between the WinRHIZO and Tennant methods with two sets of root measurement data from winter wheat ( L.). The results showed that there were significant differences in RL, RD and RV between small root samples with and without stumps. The impact of root stumps outweighed the overlap correction efficacy in WinRHIZO. The values from the Tennant method are significantly different from those using the WinRHIZO method, although both results are statistically closely correlated. This indicated how critical it was to use without-stump root samples when using image analysis systems to measure RL, RD, RV, etc., and to keep in mind that a significant difference in root measurements may be methodologically related when comparing the results of various experiments from these two methods. Our research results bear important implications for the study of root ecology.
Understanding of the biomass (dry weight) allocation and water relations in populations will provide useful information on the growth patterns and resource-allocation dynamics. By destructive sampling, foliage, branch and root biomass were measured in the endangered shrub populations growing in Shanxi province, North China. Biomass partitioning and water content relationships were compared at the branch and whole-plant levels, and as a function of basal diameter (plant size). The biomass was mainly distributed in the bigger branches at the branch level, and in the branch wood at the whole-plant level, and branch biomass (but not foliage or root biomass) increases significantly with increasing basal diameter. As a result, branch wood became the major biomass pool, even though considerable biomass was also allocated to the roots. However, the relative water content decreased from the periphery of the crown to the interior of the shrub at the branch level, and from the aboveground to the belowground at the whole-plant level though no significant variation among foliage, branches, and roots. Yet it increased significantly for the whole-plant with increasing basal diameter. The ratio of belowground to aboveground biomass was smaller than 1.0, even as a function of basal diameter. These growth responses indicated a strong adaptation to the shrub’s growing conditions. Biomass was primarily allocated above the ground and the aboveground components grew faster than the belowground one.
The strong altitudinal gradients leading to dramatic variations in environmental conditions in mountain regions provide unique and sometimes the best opportunities to study plant responses and adaptation to global climate change. We investigated the morphological characteristics, aboveground biomass and its allocation of (Mitford) T.P. Yi along an altitudinal gradient ranging from 1200 m (the lowest distribution boundary of ) to 1810 m a.s.l. (the uppermost distribution limit) in the Wolong Nature Reserve, southwestern China. Except for a nearly linear increase in internode number and a linear decrease in shoot biomass with increasing elevation, other parameters studied changed non-linearly with increasing elevation. These results may imply that the local-environmental conditions do not change linearly with altitude. The growth of , as a low-altitude species, may be impacted by precipitation rather than by temperature. Hence, this dwarf bamboo species may be more sensitive to change in the amount and pattern of precipitation caused by rapid global climate change.
Herkogamy may act as a mechanism to reduce interference between the reproductive functions of female and male organs, but too great a distance between stigmas and anthers may also decrease the outcross pollen transfer and male and female fitness. Our goal was to quantify the effect of movement herkogamy in on reproductive success and its contribution to pollen receipt and reproductive assurance. Field investigations and hand-pollination experiments were performed to test: (1) the relationship between herkogamy before curvature of un-pollinated lobes and reproductive success under pollinator exclusion; (2) the contribution of movement herkogamy to pollen receipt; and (3) the relationship between pollen load and seed set. We noted that variation in herkogamy before curvature of un-pollinated lobes did not affect the outcome of autogamous self-pollination measured by fruit set and mean number of seeds per fruit. Under natural conditions, 39% of pollen grains deposited per flower were from autogamous self-pollination via movement herkogamy resulting in contact between anthers and stigmas. The relationship between the amount of pollen grains and the number of seeds per capsule was highly significant. Flowers producing four or five seeds received more pollen grains than those producing only one seed. Our data provides experimental evidence that movement herkogamy, which decreases the separation between anthers and stigmas and results in delayed self-pollination, contributes to pollen receipt and further enhances seed set when pollinators are scarce or absent.
Nitrogen (N) cycles through air, water and soil and plays an important role in the synthesis of complex N compounds in all forms of life on the planet earth by combining with carbon, hydrogen and oxygen (O). Besides, natural fixation of N by microorganisms, advertent and inadvertent fixation of N by human activities (e.g. landscape transformations, fossil fuel burning and use of N in agricultural fields) are altering the global cycle of N. As a result of human activities, N enters in water bodies (e.g. streams, estuaries and coastal regions) making them hostile for aquatic life and contaminates ground water (used for drinking) through nitrate ( ) leaching which causes a number of health problems to human beings and animals. Hence, reduction in level of in water bodies and ground water is a prerequisite that can be met through sustainable management of natural and modified ecosystems. More specifically, agricultural management practices need to be better designed to synchronize the availability of with that of the crop N demand. These management goals can be achieved by thorough understanding of the origin and fate of N, by using isotopic analysis of N and O in , which can provide the best management options for N in the environment. Overall, an integrated approach would be required to limit N production/use and release to prevent critical environmental limit being exceeded.
Five different primer combinations were used for the analysis of 152 B biotype (Gennadius) individuals and five individuals collected from 19 counties and seven host plants in Shanxi province in China, respectively. The main objective of the present study was to use AFLP markers to determine the genetic diversity of populations collected from Shanxi Province. The use of these primer combinations allowed the identification of 127 polymorphic bands (52.26%) from 60 to 500 bp. The average number of polymorphic bands per primer was 25.4 while the range for the five primers was 20–32. The average degree of heterozygosity was 0.251, while the range for the five primers was 0.204–0.289. The results suggested definite genetic diversity among different populations. Cluster analysis showed that populations were firstly scattered to three genetic groups according to the regions, then every genetic group was scattered to several subgroups according to the host plants, which revealed the genetic variability of B biotype populations has been not only among different regions, but also among different host plants in Shanxi Province.
The foraging habitat selections of brown-eared pheasant ( ) and the common pheasant ( ) were studied in Huanglongshan Nature Reserve Shaanxi, China. Foraging habitat characteristics were measured on the basis of expected differences between species at 183 sites from November to December 2006 and January 2007. The results showed that both species selected foraging habitats with altitude (50%), visibility class (500 individuals/100 m ) for common pheasant. We also found that the common pheasant avoid predators by concealment whereas brown-eared pheasant evade predations by running away strategy.
Understanding spatio-temporal distribution patterns of a species is essential to successful species and habitat conservation. The fluctuations of the red crowned crane population were studied after collecting the data about breeding red-crown cranes from Zhalong National Natural Reserve (Zhalong NNR) since 1981; and their spatial distribution patterns were also quantified in variant time periods with the method nearest neighbor analysis (NNA); the main factors leading to the dynamics of the bird population were analyzed. The results showed the red-crown crane population had fluctuated dramatically from 1981 to 2005. The number dropped rapidly to the minimum of the bird population to endanger the existence of the population by the year of 2005. And the spatial distribution pattern changed from uniform distribution to aggregated distribution during 1996–2005. These changes reflected that the distributions of habitats had undergone a process of fragmentation, and the area of the suitable habitats suffered such a continuous loss that there were insufficient habitats to sustain the bird population any more. And consequently, the decline of the bird population occurred. The wildfire and the anthropogenic activities were the driving forces which accounted for the degradation of the habitats and hereafter the fluctuations of the red-crown population.
Thirty-two 10 × 10 m quadrats were set up in four mangrove communities for the study of the niches of nine plants with horizontal and vertical resource sequences in Dawei Bay, Qi’ao Island, Zhuhai City. Generally, species diversities of natural mangroves were higher than those of plantations. The diversities decreased along sequence of substrate layer, shrub layer and tree layer in natural mangroves; and were highest on the shrub layer in plantations. At the horizontal resource sequence, the niche breadth varied 0.132–0.896 ( ) and 0.120–0.693 ( ). The niche breadth of and were the highest and that of was the lowest. At the vertical resource sequence, the niche breadth varied 0–0.400 ( ) and 0.333–0.747 ( ). All the niche breadth values were the lowest except those of and . The niche similarity of the populations varied 0–0.746 and 0–1.000 at the horizontal and vertical resource sequences, respectively. . and . had niche overlap with all plants at the horizontal resource sequence, while the introduced and had no such overlapping between six and five plants in the community, respectively. At the vertical resource sequence, . and . had niche overlapping with all the populations. The more niche overlapping existed among the other populations. The results indicated that, currently, the mangrove plantation in Qi’ao Island had a simplex structure and composition of species. The status of plant populations’ niche was determined by the species selected and structure of afforestation. It is suggested to create forest gaps artificially and introduce saplings to reverse its current status of lower niche breadth, facilitate natural regeneration and spreading of and , and accelerate the restoration process of natural mangrove. Simultaneously, the species matching and planting methods of mix stands should be emphasized in the future.
The effects of starvation on larval growth, survival, and metamorphosis of Manila clam at the temperature of 19.6–21.6 °C, the salinity of 34‰ and pH of 8.0 were investigated from May 18 to July 18, 2006. In this study, the early, middle and late umbo-veliger larvae with the shell lengths of 100, 140, and 190 μm were subject to temporary food deprivation for up to 4.5, 20, and 25 at 0.5, 4, 5 intervals, followed by refeeding for the remaining of a 24, 20, 25 period, respectively. The results suggested that the larvae should have shown considerable tolerance to starvation due to their endogenous and exterior nutrition material, for larvae and time to the point-of-no-return (PNR: the threshold point during starvation after which larvae could no longer metamorphose even if food is provided) were calculated to be 4.25, 17.54, and 22.17 . As the starvation period prolonged, the mean shell length of larvae starved got close to constants at 1.5, 4, and 15 after starvation, which were different for larvae at different stages when starvation began, survival of larvae decreased, and was lower in treatments starved earlier in development than those starved later, for the early, middle and late umbo-veliger larvae, after 4.5, 20 and 25 of starvation period, few larvaes were alive. After starvation period, the alive larvaes were able to metamorphose and had a capability of compensatory growth when refeeding was given. Starvation not only affected metamorphosis rate, but also caused the delay in the time to metamorphosis and the decrease in the metamorphosed sizes. For example, for the continuously-fed larvae, duration to metamorphosis was 20.7 , for larvae with a size of 100-μm starved for up to 4 , larvae with a size of 140-μm starved for up to 16 , larvae with a size of 190-μm starved for up to 20 , duration to metamorphosis were 29.7, 31.7, and 37.7 , the delay in duration to metamorphosis were 9, 11, and 17 , respectively. Furthermore, importance of nutrition material for maintaining larval survival during starvation and the compensatory growth on larvae at the same feeding time were discussed.
The diets of the wolf , red fox and raccoon dog were studied in the grassland of eastern Inner Mongolia from August to October in 2007 and from March to July in 2008. Feces were collected from dens and latrines. The frequency of occurrence and the dry weight of the remains of each food item in the feces were calculated. Livestock (50.65% frequency of occurrence) constituted the bulk of the wolf diet, while small rodents (76.31% frequency of occurrence) were most frequently eaten by the foxes. Small rodents (22.69% frequency of occurrence) were important to the raccoon dogs but they also frequently consumed birds (39.81% frequency of occurrence) and insects (26.39% frequency of occurrence). The wolf was the most omnivorous and the red fox was the least omnivorous of these three kinds of canidae according to the diversity index. The food niches of the wolf and the red fox overlapped more than that of the raccoon dog and other species. These three kinds of canidae shared many resources and consequently competition occurred to them. However, their diets also differed to some extent which helped them to avoid competition. Furthermore, raccoon dogs were dormant in winter when food was scarce, which may be the reason why all these species could coexist in a rather unproductive grassland.
Cone-cores discarded by Eurasian red squirrels were used to study the habitat selection of Korean pine-seeds hoarding, in forest patch Nos. 16 and 19 in Liangshui Nature Reserve, China. Ten transects with a total length of 15 km were uniformly set, and data from 343 valid samples were collected in a 369 hm area. One hundred and eighty four were hoarding samples which were determined according to the cluster analysis based on the number of the cone-cores, while the other 159 were control samples. The principal component analysis, using 11 habitat factors, suggested that the distance from Korean pine forest, forest type, number of Korean pine seedlings, density and type of bush significantly influenced the habitat selection of hoarding by Eurasian red squirrels. The results of Bailey’s method indicated that the squirrels showed (1) preference for natural coniferous forest, natural fir and spruce forest and planted spruce forest; (2) avoidance of planted Korean pine forest and planted larch forest; and (3) random use of natural Korean pine forest. Moreover the distance from the Korean pines in the range of 150–600 m showed no effect on the habitat selection of hoarding by the Eurasian red squirrels. More than 50% of the cone-cores were discarded in either fringe or gap of the Korean pine forest with more cone-cores found at <300 m than at 300 m away (One-Way ANOVA; = 3, 183, = 5.76, = 0.0009). This demonstrated that the Eurasian red squirrels could take the cone-cores out of the Korean pine forest. The density of bushes in samples of hoarding area was significantly lower than that in control samples (Kruskal–Wallis test; = 1, = 83.99, < 0.0001). The number of the Korean pine seedlings in samples of hoarding area was significantly higher than that in the control samples (Kruskal–Wallis test; = 1, = 104.13, < 0.0001). This illustrated that the hoarding habitat favoured the germination of the Korean pine seedlings. In conclusion the behavior of hoarding Korean pine seeds by the Eurasian red squirrels can promote the regeneration and dispersal of the Korean pines.
A pot experiment was conducted to evaluate the bioaccumulation of heavy metals and growth response of rice plants after exposure to single and combined contamination by Cu, Cd and Pb. The results showed that the biomass production was not significantly affected by either single or combined treatment of Cu, Cd and Pb. Adding Cu (Cd, or Pb) separately all increased concentrations of the respective element in root and shoot ( < 0.001). In the combined contamination, Pb promoted both root and shoot absorption of Cu and Cd ( < 0.001), and Cu affected Cd and Pb absorption in the root, but Pb concentrations in both root and shoot were not affected by Cd application. The formation of iron plaques varied obviously with soil types. Heavy metal accumulation in iron plaques was induced by the three elements ( < 0.001). Furthermore, the three heavy metals exhibited an interactive relationship as measured by the Cu, Cd, Pb and Fe concentrations in root surface iron plaques. The iron plaques partially inhibited transfer of Pb to root and shoot, but no such effect was observed for Cu and Cd. This research indicates that the interaction among different heavy metal elements is very complex. It is very important to have a clear understanding on the associated mechanism and the consequential impact on plant growth.
To understand the soil fungal community diversity in different zones of the Zoige Alpine Wetland, BIOLOG analysis and traditional culture method were employed in our research. Three sample sites namely the Conservatory Station up-hill slope (CSUS), the Flower Lake side (FLS) and the Conservatory Station down slope (CSDS) with increasing by water content were investigated. The results of BIOLOG showed that fungal catabolic richness index ( ) and Shannon diversity index ( ) increasingly rose with water content augmented from CSUS to CSDS, while different from the former tendency, the fungal catabolic activity was highest at CSDS and lowest at FLS. Principal component analysis (PCA) results demonstrated the functional diversity of fungal community varied among the three sample sites, showing us more similarity between CSDS and FLS, and considerable difference between CSUS and the former two sites. The outcome of traditional culture method illustrated the number of soil fungi increased from CSUS to CSDS, while the sort of fungal species that could be cultured did not show much difference among the three sample sites.