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25 January 2024, Volume 46 Issue 01
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  • Correspondence
    Flower morphology of Allium (Amaryllidaceae) and its systematic significance
    Ju Eun Jang, Shukherdorj Baasanmunkh, Nudkhuu Nyamgerel, Seung-Yoon Oh, Jun-Ho Song, Ziyoviddin Yusupov, Komijlon Tojibaev, Hyeok Jae Choi
    2024, 46(01):  3-27.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.06.009
    Abstract ( 22 )   HTML ( )   PDF (233838KB) ( 23 )   Save
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    Allium is a complicated genus that includes approximately 1000 species. Although its morphology is well studied, the taxonomic importance of many morphological traits, including floral traits, are poorly understood. Here, we examined and measured the floral characteristics of 87 accessions of 74 Allium taxa (belonging to 30 sections and nine subgenera) from Central to Eastern Asian countries. We then examined the taxonomic relationships between select flower characteristics and a phylogenetic tree based on ITS sequences. Our results confirm that floral morphology provides key taxonomic information to assess species delimitation in Allium. We found that perianth color is an important characteristic within the subg. Melanocrommyum, Polyprason, and Reticulatobulbosa. In subg. Allium, Cepa, and Rhizirideum, significant characteristics include ovary shape, perianth shape, and inner tepal apex. For species in subg. Angunium, the key taxonomic character is ovule number (only one ovule in per locule). In the subg. Allium, Cepa, Polyprason, and Reticulatobulbosa, which belong to the third evolutionary line of Allium, hood-like appendages occur in the ovary, although these do not occur in subg. Rhizirideum. Our results also indicated that the flower morphology of several species in some sections are not clearly distinguished, e.g., sect. Sacculiferum (subg. Cepa) and sect. Tenuissima (subg. Rhizirideum). This study provides detailed photographs and descriptions of floral characteristics and information on general distributions, habitats, and phenology of the studied taxa.
    Phylotranscriptomic discordance is best explained by incomplete lineage sorting within Allium subgenus Cyathophora and thus hemiplasy accounts for interspecific trait transition
    Zengzhu Zhang, Gang Liu, Minjie Li
    2024, 46(01):  28-38.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.07.004
    Abstract ( 21 )   HTML ( )   PDF (4614KB) ( 17 )   Save
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    The transition of traits between genetically related lineages is a fascinating topic that provides clues to understanding the drivers of speciation and diversification. Much can be learned about this process from phylogeny-based trait evolution. However, such inference is often plagued by genome-wide gene-tree discordance (GTD), mostly due to incomplete lineage sorting (ILS) and/or introgressive hybridization, especially when the genes underlying the traits appear discordant. Here, by collecting transcriptomes, whole chloroplast genomes (cpDNA), and population genetic datasets, we used the coalescent model to turn GTD into a source of information for ILS and employed hemiplasy to explain specific cases of apparent “phylogenetic discordance” between different morphological traits and probable species phylogeny in the Allium subg. Cyathophora. Both concatenation and coalescence methods consistently showed the same phylogenetic topology for species tree inference based on single-copy genes (SCGs), as supported by the KS distribution. However, GTD was high across the genomes of subg. Cyathophora: ~27%–38.9% of the SCG trees were in conflict with the species tree. Plasmid and nuclear incongruence was also present. Our coalescent simulations indicated that such GTD was mainly a product of ILS. Our hemiplasy risk factor calculations supported that random fixation of ancient polymorphisms in different populations during successive speciation events along the subg. Cyathophora phylogeny may have caused the character transition, as well as the anomalous cpDNA tree. Our study exemplifies how phylogenetic noise can be transformed into evolutionary information for understanding character state transitions along species phylogenies.
    How to fill the biodiversity data gap: Is it better to invest in fieldwork or curation?
    Carlos A. Vargas, Marius Bottin, Tiina Sarkinen, James E. Richardson, Marcela Celis, Boris Villanueva, Adriana Sanchez
    2024, 46(01):  39-48.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.06.003
    Abstract ( 7 )   HTML ( )   PDF (8921KB) ( 15 )   Save
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    Data gaps and biases are two important issues that affect the quality of biodiversity information and downstream results. Understanding how best to fill existing gaps and account for biases is necessary to improve our current information most effectively. Two current main approaches for obtaining and improving data include (1) curation of biological collections, and (2) fieldwork. However, the comparative effectiveness of these approaches in improving biodiversity data remains little explored. We used the Flora de Bogotá project to study the magnitude of change in species richness, spatial coverage, and sample coverage of plant records based on curation versus fieldwork. The process of curation resulted in a decrease in species richness (synonym and error removal), but it significantly increased the number of records per species. Fieldwork contributed to a slight increase in species richness, via accumulation of new records. Additionally, curation led to increases in spatial coverage, species observed by locality, the number of plant records by species, and localities by species compared to fieldwork. Overall, curation was more efficient in producing new information compared to fieldwork, mainly because of the large number of records available in herbaria. We recommend intensive curatorial work as the first step in increasing biodiversity data quality and quantity, to identify bias and gaps at the regional scale that can then be targeted with fieldwork. The stepwise strategy would enable fieldwork to be planned more cost-effectively given the limited resources for biodiversity exploration and characterization.
    Life forms affect beta-diversity patterns of larch forests in China
    Wenjing Fang, Qiong Cai, Chengjun Ji, Jiangling Zhu, Zhiyao Tang, Jingyun Fang
    2024, 46(01):  49-58.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.10.003
    Abstract ( 15 )   HTML ( )   PDF (16341KB) ( 15 )   Save
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    Beta-diversity reflects the spatial changes in community species composition which helps to understand how communities are assembled and biodiversity is formed and maintained. Larch (Larix) forests, which are coniferous forests widely distributed in the mountainous and plateau areas in North and Southwest China, are critical for maintaining the environmental conditions and species diversity. Few studies of larch forests have examined the beta-diversity and its constituent components (species turnover and nestedness-resultant components). Here, we used 483 larch forest plots to determine the total beta-diversity and its components in different life forms (i.e., tree, shrub, and herb) of larch forests in China and to evaluate the main drivers that underlie this beta-diversity. We found that total beta-diversity of larch forests was mainly dependent on the species turnover component. In all life forms, total beta-diversity and the species turnover component increased with increasing geographic, elevational, current climatic, and paleoclimatic distances. In contrast, the nestedness-resultant component decreased across these same distances. Geographic and environmental factors explained 20%–25% of total beta-diversity, 18%–27% of species turnover component, and 4%–16% of nestedness-resultant component. Larch forest types significantly affected total beta-diversity and species turnover component. Taken together, our results indicate that life forms affect beta-diversity patterns of larch forests in China, and that beta-diversity is driven by both niche differentiation and dispersal limitation. Our findings help to greatly understand the mechanisms of community assemblies of larch forests in China.
    A phylogenetic approach identifies patterns of beta diversity and floristic subregions of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
    Haibin Yu, Man Yang, Zixin Lu, Weitao Wang, Fangyuan Yu, Yonghua Zhang, Xue Yin, Hongjun Yu, Junjie Hu, David C. Deane
    2024, 46(01):  59-69.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.07.006
    Abstract ( 14 )   HTML ( )   PDF (19817KB) ( 13 )   Save
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    Patterns of taxonomic and phylogenetic beta diversity and their relationships with environmental correlates can help reveal the origin and evolutionary history of regional biota. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) harbors an exceptionally diverse flora, however, a phylogenetic perspective has rarely been used to investigate its beta diversity and floristic regions. In this study, we used a phylogenetic approach to identify patterns of beta diversity and quantitatively delimit floristic regions on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. We also examined the relationships between multifaceted beta diversity, geographical distance, and climatic difference, and evaluated the relative importance of various factors (i.e., climate, topography and history) in shaping patterns of beta diversity. Sørensen dissimilarity indices indicated that patterns of species turnover among sites dominated the QTP. We also found that patterns of both taxonomic and phylogenetic beta diversity were significantly related to geographical distance and climatic difference. The environmental factors that contributed most to these patterns of beta diversity include annual precipitation, mean annual temperature, climatic gradients and climatic instability. Hierarchical dendrograms of dissimilarity and non-metric multidimensional scaling ordination based on phylogenetic beta diversity data identified ten floristic subregions in the QTP. Our results suggest that the contemporary environment and historical climate changes have filtered species composition among sites and eventually determined beta diversity patterns of plants in the QTP.
    Community structure and species diversity dynamics of a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest in China: 2005 to 2020
    Shi-Guang Wei, Lin Li, Kun-Dong Bai, Zhi-Feng Wen, Jing-Gang Zhou, Qin Lin
    2024, 46(01):  70-77.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.07.005
    Abstract ( 13 )   HTML ( )   PDF (2610KB) ( 8 )   Save
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    Here, we characterize the temporal and spatial dynamics of forest community structure and species diversity in a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest in China. We found that community structure in this forest changed over a 15-year period. Specifically, renewal and death of common species was large, with the renewal of individuals mainly concentrated within a few populations, especially those of Aidia canthioides and Cryptocarya concinna. The numbers of individual deaths for common species were concentrated in the small and mid-diameter level. The spatial distribution of community species diversity fluctuated in each monitoring period, showing a more dispersed diversity after the 15-year study period, and the coefficient of variation on quadrats increased. In 2010, the death and renewal of the community and the spatial variation of species diversity were different compared to other survey years. Extreme weather may have affected species regeneration and community stability in our subtropical monsoon evergreen broad-leaved forests. Our findings suggest that strengthening the monitoring and management of the forest community will help better understand the long- and short-term causes of dynamic fluctuations of community structure and species diversity, and reveal the factors that drive changes in community structure.
    Conservation genomic investigation of an endangered conifer, Thuja sutchuenensis, reveals low genetic diversity but also low genetic load
    Tongzhou Tao, Richard I. Milne, Jialiang Li, Heng Yang, Shiyang Wang, Sihan Chen, Kangshan Mao
    2024, 46(01):  78-90.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.06.005
    Abstract ( 9 )   HTML ( )   PDF (2074KB) ( 19 )   Save
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    Endangered species generally have small populations with low genetic diversity and a high genetic load. Thuja sutchuenensis is an endangered conifer endemic to southwestern China. It was once considered extinct in the wild, but in 1999 was rediscovered. However, little is known about its genetic load. We collected 67 individuals from five wild, isolated T. sutchuenensis populations, and used 636,151 SNPs to analyze the level of genetic diversity and genetic load in T. sutchuenensis to delineate the conservation units of T. sutchuenensis, based on whole transcriptome sequencing data, as well as target capture sequencing data. We found that populations of T. sutchuenensis could be divided into three groups. These groups had low levels genetic diversity and were moderately genetically differentiated. Our findings also indicate that T. sutchuenensis suffered two severe bottlenecks around the Last Glaciation Period and Last Glacial Maximum. Among Thuja species, T. sutchuenensis presented the lowest genetic load and hence might have purged deleterious mutations efficiently through purifying selection. However, distribution of fitness effects analysis indicated a high extinction risk for T. sutchuenensis. Multiple lines of evidence identified three management units for T. sutchuenensis. Although T. sutchuenensis possesses a low genetic load, low genetic diversity, suboptimal fitness, and anthropogenic pressures all present an extinction risk for this rare conifer. This might also hold true for many endangered plant species in the mountains all over the world.
    Projected impacts of climate change on the habitat of Xerophyta species in Africa
    Vincent Okelo Wanga, Boniface K. Ngarega, Millicent Akinyi Oulo, Elijah Mbandi Mkala, Veronicah Mutele Ngumbau, Guy Eric Onjalalaina, Wyclif Ochieng Odago, Consolata Nanjala, Clintone Onyango Ochieng, Moses Kirega Gichua, Robert Wahiti Gituru, Guang-Wan Hu
    2024, 46(01):  91-100.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.05.001
    Abstract ( 26 )   HTML ( )   PDF (8448KB) ( 8 )   Save
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    Climate change poses a serious long-term threat to biodiversity. To effectively reduce biodiversity loss, conservationists need to have a thorough understanding of the preferred habitats of species and the variables that affect their distribution. Therefore, predicting the impact of climate change on species-appropriate habitats may help mitigate the potential threats to biodiversity distribution. Xerophyta, a monocotyledonous genus of the family Velloziaceae is native to mainland Africa, Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula. The key drivers of Xerophyta habitat distribution and preference are unknown. Using 308 species occurrence data and eight environmental variables, the MaxEnt model was used to determine the potential distribution of six Xerophyta species in Africa under past, current and future climate change scenarios. The results showed that the models had a good predictive ability (Area Under the Curve and True Skill Statistics values for all SDMs were more than 0.902), indicating high accuracy in forecasting the potential geographic distribution of Xerophyta species. The main bioclimatic variables that impacted potential distributions of most Xerophyta species were mean temperature of the driest quarter (Bio9) and precipitation of the warmest quarter (Bio18). According to our models, tropical Africa has zones of moderate and high suitability for Xerophyta taxa, which is consistent with the majority of documented species localities. The habitat suitability of the existing range of the Xerophyta species varied based on the climate scenario, with most species experiencing a range loss greater than the range gain regardless of the climate scenario. The projected spatiotemporal patterns of Xerophyta species help guide recommendations for conservation efforts.
    Megafossils of Betulaceae from the Oligocene of Qaidam Basin and their paleoenvironmental and phytogeographic implications
    Tao Yang, Jia-Hao Cai, Yan-Zhi Dai, Hong-Yu Chen, Lei Han, Li Zhang, Wei-Yu Liang, Xu-Jun Li, Wen-Jia Li, Jing-Yu Wu, San-Ping Xie, De-Fei Yan
    2024, 46(01):  101-115.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.03.007
    Abstract ( 10 )   HTML ( )   PDF (36450KB) ( 24 )   Save
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    Understanding the paleoenvironment and phytogeographical history of the Tibetan Plateau, China relies on discovering new plant fossils. The Qaidam Basin has long been regarded as an ideal ‘field laboratory’ to investigate the paleoclimate and paleobiological evolution of the northern Tibetan Plateau. However, fossil angiosperms from the Qaidam Basin are rare, and our knowledge of its paleovegetation is poor. Here, we report fossil leaves and fruits of Betulaceae found from the Oligocene Shangganchaigou Formation of northwestern Qaidam Basin (Huatugou area). Comparative morphological analysis led us to assign the fruits to the Betula subgenus Betula and the leaves to Carpinus grandis. These findings, together with other reported fossil plants from the same locality, reveal a close floristic linkage between the Qaidam Basin and Europe during the Oligocene. The northern pathway of this floristic exchange may have crossed through the Qaidam Basin during the late Paleogene. This floristic linkage may have been facilitated by the continuous narrowing of the Turgai Strait and stronger westerlies, which transported moisture and provided favorable climatic conditions. Indeed, fossil plants collected from the Qaidam Basin suggest that during the Oligocene this region had warm and humid deciduous broad-leaf forest, which differs from the region’s modern vegetation and indicates that the Qaidam Basin may have been a suitable region for these plants to flourish and spread during the Oligocene.
    Large-scale interplant exchange of macromolecules between soybean and dodder under nutrient stresses
    Jingxiong Zhang, Shalan Li, Wenxing Li, Zerui Feng, Shuhan Zhang, Xijie Zheng, Yuxing Xu, Guojing Shen, Man Zhao, Guoyan Cao, Xuna Wu, Jianqiang Wu
    2024, 46(01):  116-125.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.11.005
    Abstract ( 6 )   HTML ( )   PDF (2295KB) ( 5 )   Save
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    Parasitic plants and their hosts communicate through haustorial connections. Nutrient deficiency is a common stress for plants, yet little is known about whether and how host plants and parasites communicate during adaptation to such nutrient stresses. In this study, we used transcriptomics and proteomics to analyze how soybean (Glycine max) and its parasitizing dodder (Cuscuta australis) respond to nitrate and phosphate deficiency (-N and -P). After -N and -P treatment, the soybean and dodder plants exhibited substantial changes of transcriptome and proteome, although soybean plants showed very few transcriptional responses to -P and dodder did not show any transcriptional changes to either -N or -P. Importantly, large-scale interplant transport of mRNAs and proteins was detected. Although the mobile mRNAs only comprised at most 0.2% of the transcriptomes, the foreign mobile proteins could reach 6.8% of the total proteins, suggesting that proteins may be the major forms of interplant communications. Furthermore, the interplant mobility of macromolecules was specifically affected by the nutrient regimes and the transport of these macromolecules was very likely independently regulated. This study provides new insight into the communication between host plants and parasites under stress conditions.
    Lipid concentration and composition in xylem sap of woody angiosperms from a tropical savanna and a seasonal rainforest
    Ling-Bo Huang, Xinyi Guan, Amy Ny Aina Aritsara, Jun-Jie Zhu, Steven Jansen, Kun-Fang Cao
    2024, 46(01):  126-133.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.07.001
    Abstract ( 8 )   HTML ( )   PDF (4138KB) ( 8 )   Save
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    Lipids may play an important role in preventing gas embolisms by coating nanobubbles in xylem sap. Few studies on xylem sap lipids have been reported for temperate plants, and it remain unclear whether sap lipids have adaptational significance in tropical plants. In this study, we quantify the lipid composition of xylem sap for angiosperm species from a tropical savanna (seven species) and a seasonal rainforest (five species) using mass spectrometry. We found that all twelve species studied contained lipids in their xylem sap, including galactolipids, phospholipids and triacylglycerol, with a total lipid concentration ranging from 0.09 to 0.26 nmol/L. There was no difference in lipid concentration or composition between plants from the two sites, and the lipid concentration was negatively related to species’ open vessel volume. Furthermore, savanna species showed little variation in lipid composition between the dry and the rainy season. These results support the hypothesis that xylem sap lipids are derived from the cytoplasm of individual conduit cells, remain trapped inside individual conduits, and undergo few changes in composition over consecutive seasons. A xylem sap lipidomic data set, which includes 12 tropical tree species from this study and 11 temperate tree species from literature, revealed no phylogenetic signals in lipid composition for these species. This study fills a knowledge gap in the lipid content of xylem sap in tropical trees and provides additional support for their common distribution in xylem sap of woody angiosperms. It appears that xylem sap lipids have no adaptive significance.
    Short communication
    Spatio-temporal variation of water salinity in mangroves revealed by continuous monitoring and its relationship to floristic diversity
    Wei Wang, Kun Xin, Yujun Chen, Yuechao Chen, Zhongmao Jiang, Nong Sheng, Baowen Liao, Yanmei Xiong
    2024, 46(01):  134-143.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.06.006
    Abstract ( 7 )   HTML ( )   PDF (8366KB) ( 3 )   Save
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    Salinity is among the most critical factors limiting the growth and species distribution of coastal plants. Water salinity in estuarine ecosystems varies temporally and spatially, but the variation patterns across different time scales and salinity fluctuation have rarely been quantified. The effects of salinity on floristic diversity in mangroves are not fully understood due to the temporal and spatial heterogeneity of salinity. In this study, we monitored water salinity at an interval of 10-min over one year in three mangrove catchment areas representing the outer part, middle part, and inner part respectively of Dongzhai Bay, Hainan, China. The number of mangrove community types and dominant mangrove species of the three catchment areas were also investigated. We found that the diurnal variation and dry-season intra-month variation in water salinity were driven by tidal cycles. The seasonal variation in water salinity was mainly driven by rainfall with higher salinity occurring in the dry season and lower salinity occurring in the wet season. Spatially, water salinity was highest at the outer part, intermediate at the middle part, and lowest at the inner part of the bay. The intra-month and annual fluctuations of water salinity were highest at the middle part and lowest at the outer part of the bay. The number of mangrove community types and dominant species were lowest at the outer part, intermediate at the middle part, and highest at the inner part of the bay. These results suggest that the temporal variation of water salinity in mangroves is driven by different factors at different time scales and therefore it is necessary to measure water salinity at different time scales to get a complete picture of the saline environment that mangroves experience. Spatially, lower salinity levels benefit mangrove species richness within a bay landscape, however, further research is needed to distinguish the effects of salinity fluctuation and salinity level in affecting mangrove species richness.
    The first mitogenome of Lauraceae (Cinnamomum chekiangense)
    Changwei Bi, Ning Sun, Fuchuan Han, Kewang Xu, Yong Yang, David K. Ferguson
    2024, 46(01):  144-148.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2023.11.001
    Abstract ( 11 )   HTML ( )   PDF (3708KB) ( 12 )   Save
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