485 Works

Data from: Turtle embryos move to optimal thermal environments within the egg

Bo Zhao, Teng Li, Richard Shine, Wei-Guo Du & W.-G. Du
A recent study demonstrated that the embryos of soft-shelled turtles can reposition themselves within their eggs to exploit locally warm conditions. In the current paper, we ask whether turtle embryos actively seek out optimal thermal environments for their development, as do post-hatching individuals. Specifically, (1) do reptile embryos move away from dangerously-high temperatures, as well as towards warm temperatures? and (2) is such embryonic movement due to active thermoregulation, or (more simply) to passive embryonic...

Data from: Wolbachia infection and dramatic intraspecific mitochondrial DNA divergence in a fig wasp

Jin-Hua Xiao, Ning-Xin Wang, Robert W. Murphy, James M. Cook, Ling-Yi Jia & Da-Wei Huang
Mitochondria and Wolbachia are maternally inherited genomes that exhibit strong linkage disequilibrium in many organisms. We surveyed Wolbachia infections in 187 specimens of the fig wasp species, Ceratosolen solmsi, and found an infection prevalence of 89.3%. DNA Sequencing of 20 individuals each from Wolbachia-infected and uninfected sub-populations revealed extreme mtDNA divergence (up to 9.2% and 15.3% in CO1 and cytochrome b, respectively) between infected and uninfected wasps. Further, mtDNA diversity was significantly reduced within the...

Data from: The functional significance of complex floral colour pattern in a food-deceptive orchid

Xiaokai Ma, Jun Shi, Hans Banziger, Yangna Sun, Yanyan Guo, Zhongjian Liu, Steven D. Johnson & Yibo Luo
Many non-rewarding orchid species mimic the signals of co-occurring food flowers and thereby attract food-seeking animal pollinators. These signals are often visually complex with a colour pattern that contrasts between outer and central parts. The significance of this colour complexity for the pollination success of flowers of deceptive orchids has scarcely been investigated. We tested the effects of the colour patterns of the food-deceptive orchid Paphiopedilum micranthum on bumblebee visitation choices and pollination success using...

Data from: Correct calculation of CO2 efflux using a closed-chamber linked to a non-dispersive infrared gas analyzer

Gbadamassi G. O. Dossa, Ekananda Paudel, Hongyan Wang, Kunfang Cao, Douglas Schaefer & Rhett D. Harrison
1. Improved understanding of the carbon (C) cycle is essential to model future climates and how this may feedback to affect greenhouse-gas fluxes. 2 .We summarize previous work quantifying respiration rates of organic substrates and briefly discuss how advances in technology, specifically the use of chambers linked to a non-dispersive infra-red gas analyzer (NDIR), can be applied to assess carbon dynamics from short-term field measurements. This technology hastens measurement and is relatively inexpensive, enabling researchers...

Data from: Effects of plant functional group loss on soil biota and net ecosystem exchange: a plant removal experiment in the Mongolian grassland

Dima Chen, Qingmin Pan, Yongfei Bai, Shuijin Hu, Jianhui Huang, Qibing Wang, Shahid Naeem, James J. Elser, Jianguo Wu & Xingguo Han
1. The rapid loss of global biodiversity can greatly affect the functioning of above-ground components of ecosystems. However, how such biodiversity losses affect below-ground communities and linkages to soil carbon (C) sequestration is unclear. Here we describe how losses in plant functional groups (PFGs) affect soil microbial and nematode communities and net ecosystem exchange (NEE) in a 4-year removal experiment conducted on the Mongolian plateau, the world's largest remaining natural grassland. 2. Our results demonstrated...

Data from: Community-wide changes in inter-taxonomic temporal co-occurrence resulting from phenological shifts

Fangyuan Hua, Junhua Hu, Yang Liu, Xingli Giam, Tien Ming Lee, Hao Luo, Jia Wu, Qiaoyi Liang, Jian Zhao, Xiaoyan Long, Hong Pang, Biao Wang, Wei Liang, Zhengwang Zhang, Xuejie Gao & Jiang Zhu
Global climate change is known to affect the assembly of ecological communities by altering species’ spatial distribution patterns, but little is known about how climate change may affect community assembly by changing species’ temporal co-occurrence patterns, which is highly likely given the widely observed phenological shifts associated with climate change. Here we analyzed a 29-year phenological data set comprising community-level information on the timing and span of temporal occurrence in 11 seasonally occurring animal taxon...

Data from: Bayesian morphological clock methods resurrect placoderm monophyly and reveal rapid early evolution in jawed vertebrates

Benedict King, Tuo Qiao, Michael S. Y. Lee, Min Zhu & John A. Long
The phylogeny of early gnathostomes provides an important framework for understanding one of the most significant evolutionary events, the origin and diversification of jawed vertebrates. A series of recent cladistic analyses have suggested that the placoderms, an extinct group of armoured fish, form a paraphyletic group basal to all other jawed vertebrates. We revised and expanded this morphological data set, most notably by sampling autapomorphies in a similar way to parsimony-informative traits, thus ensuring this...

Data from: Atmospheric deposition exposes Qinling pandas to toxic pollutants

Yi-Ping Chen, Ying-Juan Zheng, Qiang Liu, Yi Song, Zhi-Sheng An, Qing-Yi Ma & Aaron M. Ellison
The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is one of the most endangered animals in the world, and it is recognized worldwide as a symbol for conservation. A previous study showed that wild and captive pandas, especially those of the Qinling subspecies, were exposed to toxicants in their diet of bamboo; the ultimate origin of these toxicants is unknown. Here we show that atmospheric deposition is the most likely origin of heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants...

Data from: Does plant diversity increase top–down control of herbivorous insects in tropical forest?

Bruno Leles, Xiao Xue, Bonifacio O. Pasion, Akihiro Nakamura & Kyle W. Tomlinson
Higher trophic level interactions are key mediators of ecosystem functioning in tropical forests. A rich body of theory has been developed to predict the effects of plant diversity on communities at higher trophic levels and the mechanisms underlying such effects. The ’enemies hypothesis’ states that predators exert more effective top–down control of herbivorous insects with increasing plant diversity. Support for this hypothesis has been found in temperate forests and agroecosystems, but remains understudied in tropical...

Data from: Indications for three independent domestication events for the tea plant (Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze) and new insights into the origin of tea germplasm in China and India revealed by nuclear microsatellites

M. K. Meegahakumbura, M. Wambulwa, K. K. Thapa, M. M. Li, M. Möller, J.C. Xu, J.B. Yang, B.Y. Liu, S. Ranjitkar, J. Liu, D.Z. Li, L.M. Gao, M. C. Wambulwa, D. Z. Li, L. M. Gao, J. B. Yang & J. C. Xu
Background: Tea is the world’s most popular non-alcoholic beverage. China and India are known to be the largest tea producing countries and recognized as the centers for the domestication of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze). However, molecular studies on the origin, domestication and relationships of the main teas, China type, Assam type and Cambod type are lacking. Methodology/Principal Findings: Twenty-three nuclear microsatellite markers were used to investigate the genetic diversity, relatedness, and...

Data from: Dianyuea gen. nov. (Salicaceae: Scyphostegioideae) from southwestern China

Ce Shang, Shuai Liao, Yong-Jie Guo & Zhi-Xiang Zhang
Dianyuea C. Shang, S. Liao & Z. X. Zhang, a new monotypic genus of Salicaceae based on Flacourtia turbinata H. J. Dong & H. Peng, is described and illustrated. Morphologically, Dianyuea differs from Flacourtia Comm. ex L'Hér. by having six connate stamens, basal placentation and lobed seed appendages. All those features indicate that Dianyuea is allied with Scyphostegia Stapf. A molecular phylogenetic analysis using plastid trnL-F, matK, and rbcL sequence data for representatives of 16...

Data from: High nighttime humidity and dissolved organic carbon content support rapid decomposition of standing litter in a semi-arid landscape

Jing Wang, Lingli Liu, Xin Wang, Sen Yang, Beibei Zhang, Ping Li, Chunlian Qiao, Meifeng Deng & Weixing Liu
1. Litter in arid and semi-arid ecosystems usually exhibits a prolonged standing dead phase after senescence; however, we know little about the ways in which abiotic and microbial processes affect standing litter decomposition. 2. We conducted a 26-month (in situ) decomposition experiment in a steppe to investigate the potential mechanisms governing the decomposition of standing litter, and a 192-day laboratory incubation experiment to further explore the impacts of the standing dead stage on the subsequent...

Data from: Mitochondrial genomes of domestic animals need scrutiny

Ni-Ni Shi, Long Fan, Yong-Gang Yao, Min-Sheng Peng & Ya-Ping Zhang
More than 1000 complete or near-complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences have been deposited in GenBank for eight common domestic animals (cattle, dog, goat, horse, pig, sheep, yak and chicken) and their close wild ancestors or relatives, as well. Nevertheless, few efforts have been performed to evaluate the sequence data quality. Herein, we conducted a phylogenetic survey of these complete or near-complete mtDNA sequences based on mtDNA haplogroup trees for the eight animals. We show that...

Data from: The first flea with fully distended abdomen from the Early Cretaceous of China

Taiping Gao, Chungkun Shih, Alexandr P. Rasnitsyn, Xing Xu, Shuo Wang & Dong Ren
Background: Fleas, the most notorious insect ectoparasites of human, dogs, cats, birds, etc., have recently been traced to its basal and primitive ancestors during the Middle Jurassic. Compared with extant fleas, these large basal fleas have many different features. Although several fossil species with transitional morphologies filled the evolutionary blank, the early evolution of these ectoparasites is still poorly known. Results: Here we report a new flea with transitional morphology, Pseudopulex tanlan sp. nov., assigned...

Data from: Comparative phylogeography of the plateau zokor (Eospalax baileyi) and its host-associated flea (Neopsylla paranoma) in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Gonghua Lin, Fang Zhao, Hongjian Chen, Xiaogong Deng, Jianping Su & Tongzuo Zhang
Background: Specific host-parasite systems often embody a particular co-distribution phenomenon, in which the parasite’s phylogeographic pattern is dependent on its host. In practice, however, both congruent and incongruent phylogeographic patterns between the host and the parasite have been reported. Here, we compared the population genetics of the plateau zokor (Eospalax baileyi), a subterranean rodent, and its host-associated flea species, Neopsylla paranoma, with an aim to determine whether the two animals share a similar phylogeographic pattern....

Data from: Nitrogen saturation in humid tropical forests after 6 years of nitrogen and phosphorus addition: hypothesis testing

Hao Chen, Geshere A. Gurmesa, Wei Zhang, Xiaomin Zhu, Mianhai Zheng, Qinggong Mao, Tao Zhang & Jiangming Mo
Nitrogen (N) saturation hypothesis suggests that when an ecosystem reaches N-saturation, continued N input will cause increased N leaching, nitrous oxide (N2O) emission, and N mineralization and nitrification rates. It also suggests that a different element will become the main limiting factor when N saturation has been reached. Although this hypothesis has been tested in temperate forests, whether they can be directly applied to N-saturated tropical forests remain poorly addressed. To test this hypothesis, soil...

Brain size variation along altitudinal gradients in the Asiatic Toad (Bufo gargarizans)

Zhongyi Yao
Size changes of brain and brain regions along altitudinal gradients provide insight into the trade-off between energetic expenditure and cognitive capacity. We investigated the brain size variations of the Asiatic Toad (Bufo gargarizans) across altitudes from 700m to 3200m. A total of 325 individuals from 11 sites and two transects were sampled. To reduce confounding factors, all sampling sites within each transect were within a maximum distance of 85km and minimum altitudinal difference close to...

Data from: Dryland soils in northern China sequester carbon during the early-2000s warming hiatus period

Dan Kou, Wenhong Ma, Jinzhi Ding, Beibei Zhang, Kai Fang, Huifeng Hu, Jianchun Yu, Tian Wang, Shuqi Qin, Xia Zhao, Jingyun Fang & Yuanhe Yang
1. Drylands, covering ~45% of the Earth’s terrestrial surface and supporting ~38% of the global population, play a dominant role in the trend and inter-annual variability of global land carbon (C) sink. Given that a large proportion of organic C is stored in soils, our knowledge on soil C dynamics in drylands is crucial to evaluate terrestrial C-climate feedback. However, credible understanding on this issue is still greatly limited by the lack of direct observations....

Data from: Facilitation by leguminous shrubs increases along a precipitation gradient

Hai-Yang Zhang, Xiao-Tao Lü, Alan K. Knapp, Henrik Hartmann, Edith Bai, Xiao-Bo Wang, Zheng-Wen Wang, Xiao-Guang Wang, Qiang Yu & Xing-Guo Han
Combining nutrient dynamics (plant nutrient uptake and soil fertility) can help uncover mechanisms of shrub-grass interactions and assess the validity of the stress-gradient hypothesis, which predicts that facilitation between plants increases in stressful environments. However, how facilitation via shrub-mediated nutrient increases varies with precipitation is poorly resolved. We first synthesized a global dataset from 66 studies and evaluated how shrubs affected soil organic carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) in grasslands along a precipitation gradient. We...

Data from: Savannahs of Asia: evidence for antiquity, biogeography and an uncertain future

Jayashree Ratnam, Kyle W. Tomlinson, Dina N. Rasquinha & Mahesh Sankaran
The savannahs of Asia remain locally unrecognized as distinctive ecosystems, and continue to be viewed as degraded forests or seasonally dry tropical forests. These colonial-era legacies are problematic, because they fail to recognize the unique diversity of Asian savannahs and the critical roles of fire and herbivory in maintaining ecosystem health and diversity. In this review, we show that: the palaeo-historical evidence suggests that the savannahs of Asia have existed for at least 1 million...

Data from: Pollen limitation, reproductive success and flowering frequency in single-flowered plants

Haiqin Sun, Bao-Qiang Huang, Xiao-Hong Yu, Chang-Bao Tian, Qi-Xuan Peng & De-Jun An
1. Flowering plants exhibit striking interspecific and intraspecific variation in flower number, which strongly influences the reproductive success of animal-pollinated plants. However, the reproductive consequences of producing a single flower are poorly understood. 2. Here, we test if plants producing a single flower have a reproductive disadvantage compared to plants producing multiple flowers by combining field investigation of five deceptive orchids and a survey of published literature. Pollen limitation was estimated by comparing fruit production...

Data from: Chronic nitrogen addition induces a cascade of plant community responses with both seasonal and progressive dynamics

Xiaobing Zhou, Matthew Bowker, Ye Tao, Lin Wu, Yuanming Zhang & Matthew A. Bowker
Short-lived herbaceous plants provide a useful model to rapidly reveal how multiple generations of plants in natural plant communities of sensitive desert ecosystems will be affected by N deposition. We monitored dynamic responses of community structure, richness, evenness, density and biomass of herbaceous plants to experimental N addition (2:1 NH4+:NO3− added at 0, 0.5, 1, 3, 6 and 24 g N m− 2 a− 1) in three seasons in each of three years in the...

Data from: Population transcriptomes reveal synergistic responses of DNA polymorphism and RNA expression to extreme environments on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau in a predatory bird

Shengkai Pan, Tongzuo Zhang, Zhengqin Rong, Li Hu, Zhongru Gu, Qi Wu, Shanshan Dong, Qiong Liu, Zhenzhen Lin, Lucia Deutschova, Xin-Hai Li, Andrew Dixon, Michael W. Bruford, Xiangjiang Zhan & Xinhai Li
Low oxygen and temperature pose key physiological challenges for endotherms living on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau (QTP). Molecular adaptations to high-altitude living have been detected in the genomes of Tibetans, their domesticated animals and a few wild species, but the contribution of transcriptional variation to altitudinal adaptation remains to be determined. Here we studied a top QTP predator, the saker falcon, and analysed how the transcriptome has become modified to cope with the stresses of hypoxia...

Data from: Speciation history of a species complex of Primulina eburnea (Gesneriaceae) from limestone karsts of south China, a biodiversity hotspot

Jing Wang, Bin Ai, Hanghui Kong & Ming Kang
Limestone karsts in southern China are characterized by high edaphic and topographic heterogeneity and host high levels of species richness and endemism. However, the evolutionary mechanisms for generating such biodiversity remain poorly understood. Here, we performed species delimitation, population genetic analyses, simulations of gene flow, and analyses of floral morphological traits to infer the geographic history of speciation in a species complex of Primulina eburnea from limestone karsts of south China. Using Bayesian species delimitation,...

Data from: Abundance of small mammals correlates with their elevational range sizes and elevational distributions in the subtropics

Zhixin Wen, Yongjie Wu, Jilong Cheng, Tianlong Cai, Yuanbao Du, Deyan Ge, Lin Xia & Qisen Yang
The idea that a positive abundance-range size relationship (ARR) is pervasive in nature has been challenged by recent studies focused on montane and island vertebrate assemblages. However, because some of these studies used species’ local abundance and regional or global range size in examining the ARRs, the negative and neutral trends reported are questionable. Here, by relating species’ mean abundance along elevational gradients to elevational range size, we examined the ARRs of non-flying small mammals...

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