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25 December 2016, Volume 38 Issue 06
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  • Editorials
    Wu Zhengyi and his contributions to plant taxonomy and phytogeography
    Zhekun Zhou, Hang Sun
    2016, 38(06):  259-261.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2016.12.002
    Abstract ( 55 )   HTML ( )   PDF (611KB) ( 3 )   Save
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    Appreciation of a Great Man: Wu Zhengyi (1916–2013)
    Peter H. Raven
    2016, 38(06):  262-263.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2016.11.009
    Abstract ( 48 )   HTML ( )   PDF (303KB) ( 1 )   Save
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    Mobilizing and integrating big data in studies of spatial and phylogenetic patterns of biodiversity
    Douglas E. Soltis, Pamela S. Soltis
    2016, 38(06):  264-270.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2016.12.001
    Abstract ( 65 )   HTML ( )   PDF (5470KB) ( 1 )   Save
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    The current global challenges that threaten biodiversity are immense and rapidly growing. These biodiversity challenges demand approaches that meld bioinformatics, large-scale phylogeny reconstruction, use of digitized specimen data, and complex post-tree analyses (e.g. niche modeling, niche diversification, and other ecological analyses). Recent developments in phylogenetics coupled with emerging cyberinfrastructure and new data sources provide unparalleled opportunities for mobilizing and integrating massive amounts of biological data, driving the discovery of complex patterns and new hypotheses for further study. These developments are not trivial in that biodiversity data on the global scale now being collected and analyzed are inherently complex. The ongoing integration and maturation of biodiversity tools discussed here is transforming biodiversity science, enabling what we broadly term “next-generation” investigations in systematics, ecology, and evolution (i.e., “biodiversity science”). New training that integrates domain knowledge in biodiversity and data science skills is also needed to accelerate research in these areas. Integrative biodiversity science is crucial to the future of global biodiversity. We cannot simply react to continued threats to biodiversity, but via the use of an integrative, multifaceted, big data approach, researchers can now make biodiversity projections to provide crucial data not only for scientists, but also for the public, land managers, policy makers, urban planners, and agriculture.
    Cenozoic plant diversity of Yunnan: A review
    Yongjiang Huang, Linbo Jia, Qiong Wang, Volker Mosbrugger, Torsten Utescher, Tao Su, Zhekun Zhou
    2016, 38(06):  271-282.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2016.11.004
    Abstract ( 65 )   HTML ( )   PDF (31256KB) ( 22 )   Save
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    Yunnan in southwestern China is renowned for its high plant diversity. To understand how this modern botanical richness formed, it is critical to investigate the past biodiversity throughout the geological time. In this review, we present a summary on plant diversity, floristics and climates in the Cenozoic of Yunnan and document their changes, by compiling published palaeobotanical sources. Our review demonstrates that thus far a total of 386 fossil species of ferns, gymnosperms and angiosperms belonging to 170 genera within 66 families have been reported from the Cenozoic, particularly the Neogene, of Yunnan. Angiosperms display the highest richness represented by 353 species grouped into 155 genera within 60 families, with Fagaceae, Fabaceae, Lauraceae and Juglandaceae being the most diversified. Most of the families and genera recorded as fossils still occur in Yunnan, but seven genera have disappeared, including Berryophyllum, Cedrelospermum, Cedrus, Palaeocarya, Podocarpium, Sequoia and Wataria. The regional extinction of these genera is commonly referred to an aridification of the dry season associated with Asian monsoon development. Floristic analyses indicate that in the late Miocene, Yunnan had three floristic regions: a northern subtropical floristic region in the northeast, a subtropical floristic region in the east, and a tropical floristic region in the southwest. In the late Pliocene, Yunnan saw two kinds of floristic regions: a subalpine floristic region in the northwest, and two subtropical floristic regions separately in the southwest and the eastern center. These floristic concepts are verified by results from our areal type analyses which suggest that in the Miocene southwestern Yunnan supported the most Pantropic elements, while in the Pliocene southwestern Yunnan had abundant Tropical Asia (Indo–Malaysia) type and East Asia and North America disjunct type that were absent from northwestern Yunnan. From the late Miocene to late Pliocene through to the present, floristic composition and vegetation types changed markedly, presumably in response to altitude changes and coeval global cooling. An integration of palaeoclimate data suggests that during the Neogene Yunnan was warmer and wetter than today. Moreover, northern Yunnan witnessed a pronounced temperature decline, while southern Yunnan experienced only moderate temperature changes. Summer precipitation was consistently higher than winter precipitation, suggesting a rainfall seasonality. This summary on palaeoclimates helps us to understand under what conditions plant diversity occurred and evolved in Yunnan throughout the Cenozoic.
    Using a mega-phylogeny of seed plants to test for non-random patterns of areal-types across the Chinese tree of life
    Rong Li
    2016, 38(06):  283-288.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2016.08.003
    Abstract ( 51 )   HTML ( )   PDF (3214KB) ( 3 )   Save
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    The species composition of plant assemblages can in large part be explained by a long history of biogeographic and evolutionary events. Over the past decade, botanists and plant ecologists have increasingly sought to quantify phylogenetic signal in ecological traits to help inform their inferences regarding the mechanisms driving plant assemblages. However, most studies with a test of phylogenetic signal in the ecological traits have focused on a local scale, while comparatively few studies have been carried out on a regional scale. In this study, I presented a family-level phylogeny and a genus-level phylogeny that included all families and genera of extant seed plants in China, and use both phylogenies to examine whether areal-types or distribution patterns of families and genera of seed plants are non-randomly distributed across the Chinese tree of life. My study shows that the areal-types of families and genera of seed plants exhibit significant phylogenetic signal across the family- or genus-level phylogeny of seed plants in China.
    Notes on the key role of stenochoric endemic plants in the floristic regionalization of Yunnan
    Zhenwen Liu, Hua Peng
    2016, 38(06):  289-294.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2016.11.011
    Abstract ( 58 )   HTML ( )   PDF (742KB) ( 21 )   Save
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    With the accumulation and accessibility of information about plant species, it is time to re-evaluate and further divide a global biodiversity hotspot region, Yunnan, located in southwestern China. In this study, we combined data on the distribution of 1010 stenochoric endemic seed plants, vegetation constitution, geological history and climate change, and used these to propose a new system of floristic regions. We identified 11 distinct floristic subregions and 84 floristic provinces within Yunnan. Our work confirmed some views emphasized by Wu Zhengyi that the stenochoric endemic species play a key role in defining floristic provinces; that stenochoric endemic plants with long collection and publication histories are more valuable; that greater attention should be paid to woody plants; and that for Yunnan, a border region, some trans-border distributed elements should be treated cautiously.
    Combined community ecology and floristics, a synthetic study on the upper montane evergreen broad-leaved forests in Yunnan, southwestern China
    Hua Zhu, Yong Chai, Shisun Zhou, Lichun Yan, Jipu Shi, Guoping Yang
    2016, 38(06):  295-302.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2016.11.001
    Abstract ( 60 )   HTML ( )   PDF (1389KB) ( 1 )   Save
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    The upper montane evergreen broad-leaved forest in Yunnan occurs mainly in the zone of persistent cloud and has a discontinuous, island-like, distribution. It is diverse, rich in endemic species, and likely to be sensitive to climate change. Six 1-ha sampling plots were established across the main distribution area of the upper montane evergreen broad-leaved forest in Yunnan. All trees with d.b.h. > 1 cm in each plot were identified. Patterns of seed plant distributions were quantified at the specific, generic and family levels. The forests are dominated by the families Fagaceae, Lauraceae, Theaceae and Magnoliaceae, but are very diverse with only a few species shared between sites. Floristic similarities at the family and generic level were high, but they were low at the specific level, with species complementarity between plots. Diversity varied greatly among sites, with greater species richness and more rare species in western Yunnan than central Yunnan. The flora is dominated by tropical biogeographical elements, mainly the pantropic and the tropical Asian distributions at the family and genus levels. In contrast, at the species level, the flora is dominated by the southwest or the southeast China distributions, including Yunnan endemics. This suggests that the flora of the upper montane forest in Yunnan could have a tropical floristic origin, and has adapted to cooler temperatures with the uplift of the Himalayas. Due to great sensitivity to climate, high endemism and species complementarity, as well as the discontinuous, island-like, distribution patterns of the upper montane forest in Yunnan, the regional conservation of the forest is especially needed.
    Trait variation and functional diversity maintenance of understory herbaceous species coexisting along an elevational gradient in Yulong Mountain, Southwest China
    Yahuang Luo, Jie Liu, Shaolin Tan, Marc W. Cadotte, Kun Xu, Lianming Gao, Dezhu Li
    2016, 38(06):  303-311.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2016.11.002
    Abstract ( 64 )   HTML ( )   PDF (4383KB) ( 1 )   Save
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    Characterizing trait variation across different ecological scales in plant communities has been viewed as a way to gain insights into the mechanisms driving species coexistence. However, little is known about how changes in intraspecific and interspecific traits across sites influence species richness and community assembly, especially in understory herbaceous communities. Here we partitioned the variance of four functional traits (maximum height, leaf thickness, leaf area and specific leaf area) across four nested biological scales: individual, species, plot, and elevation to quantify the scale-dependent distributions of understory herbaceous trait variance. We also integrated the comparison of the trait variance ratios to null models to investigate the effects of different ecological processes on community assembly and functional diversity along a 1200-m elevational gradient in Yulong Mountain. We found interspecific trait variation was the main trait variation component for leaf traits, although intraspecific trait variation ranged from 10% to 28% of total variation. In particular, maximum height exhibited high plasticity, and intraspecific variation accounted for 44% of the total variation. Despite the fact that species composition varied across elevation and species richness decreased dramatically along the elevational gradient, there was little variance at our largest (elevation) scale in leaf traits and functional diversity remained constant along the elevational gradient, indicating that traits responded to smaller scale influences. External filtering was only observed at high elevations. However, strong internal filtering was detected along the entire elevational gradient in understory herbaceous communities, possibly due to competition. Our results provide evidence that species coexistence in understory herbaceous communities might be structured by differential niche-assembled processes. This approach--integrating different biological scales of trait variation--may provide a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in the structure of communities.
    Wuacanthus (Acanthaceae), a new Chinese endemic genus segregated from Justicia (Acanthaceae)
    Yunfei Deng, Chunming Gao, Nianhe Xia, Hua Peng
    2016, 38(06):  312-321.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2016.11.010
    Abstract ( 70 )   HTML ( )   PDF (10118KB) ( 26 )   Save
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    A new genus, Wuacanthus Y.F. Deng, N.H. Xia & H. Peng (Acanthaceae), is described from the Hengduan Mountains, China. Wuacanthus is based on Wuacanthus microdontus (W.W.Sm.) Y.F. Deng, N.H. Xia & H. Peng, originally published in Justicia and then moved to Mananthes. The new genus is characterized by its shrub habit, strongly 2-lipped corolla, the 2-lobed upper lip, 3-lobed lower lip, 2 stamens, bithecous anthers, parallel thecae with two spurs at the base, 2 ovules in each locule, and the 4-seeded capsule. Phylogenetic analyses show that the new genus belongs to the Pseuderanthemum lineage in tribe Justicieae. Wuacanthus is closely related to Pseuderanthemum but differs from the latter by its shorter corolla tube and two minute spurs at the base of each anther-theca. W. microdontus is assessed with the status EN B2ab (iii) based on the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria.
    Resurrection of the genus Botrydium Spach (Chenopodiaceae), with a description of four new species from China, Peru and Burundi
    Mingli Zhang, Gelin Zhu
    2016, 38(06):  322-329.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2016.10.005
    Abstract ( 78 )   HTML ( )   PDF (8376KB) ( 5 )   Save
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    Based on specimens from twenty-one herbaria from China and USA, as well as observations using SEM, the genus Botrydium is resurrected as Neobotrydium. It has a number of distinctive characters: the plants are covered with granular hairs and granulated globular gland-grains, strong smell, and dichasia. Neobotrydium is removed from Chenopodium. The differences between Neobotrydium and Chenopodium, as well as circumscriptions of five glandular genera, Neobotrydium, Cycloloma, Roubieva, Ambrina, and Dysphania are discussed. Neobotrydium comprises twenty species which occur in Asia, Europe, North Africa, North America to Northwest of South America and Australia. Four new species are described: Neobotrydium corniculatum and Neobotrydium ornithopodum from China, Neobotrydium peruensis from South America, and Neobotrydium burundiensis from Africa. A diagnostic key is presented.
    Chronicle of Wu Zhengyi
    Chunchao Lv
    2016, 38(06):  330-344.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2016.11.008
    Abstract ( 25 )   HTML ( )   PDF (531KB) ( 0 )   Save
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