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You X.,Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Marine Genomics | Bian C.,Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Marine Genomics | Zan Q.,Shenzhen Wild Animal Rescue Center | Xu X.,BGI Shenzhen | And 45 more authors.
Nature Communications | Year: 2014

Mudskippers are amphibious fishes that have developed morphological and physiological adaptations to match their unique lifestyles. Here we perform whole-genome sequencing of four representative mudskippers to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying these adaptations. We discover an expansion of innate immune system genes in the mudskippers that may provide defence against terrestrial pathogens. Several genes of the ammonia excretion pathway in the gills have experienced positive selection, suggesting their important roles in mudskippers' tolerance to environmental ammonia. Some vision-related genes are differentially lost or mutated, illustrating genomic changes associated with aerial vision. Transcriptomic analyses of mudskippers exposed to air highlight regulatory pathways that are up- or down-regulated in response to hypoxia. The present study provides a valuable resource for understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying water-to-land transition of vertebrates. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Source


Wu Z.,Sun Yat Sen University | Guo Q.,Shenzhen Wildlife Protecting Administration | Li M.G.,Sun Yat Sen University | Jiang L.,Shenzhen Wildlife Protecting Administration | And 4 more authors.
Biological Invasions | Year: 2013

Mikania micrantha (Asteraceae) is one of the 10 most invasive weeds in the world and has caused tremendous economic and environmental losses in southern China. The dodder Cuscuta campestris (Convolvulaceae) is a native holoparasite that can parasitize and suppress M. micrantha, and thus is recommended as an effective control agent. However, the natural growth of dodder lags behind that of M. micrantha and fails to exert direct year-round suppression. To verify the effective parasitic distance, we placed a dodder seedling at a designated distance from the stem of M. micrantha and monitored coiling, haustorium formation, and survival. To verify suitable host stems for the parasite, we grew M. micrantha for more than 6 months to form stems of different sizes, taped dodder seedlings to the stems, and monitored. We used various temperatures to determine the effect on dodder seed germination and M. micrantha sprouting. The results showed that a dodder-host distance of 4 cm decreased the probability of successful parasitism to 0; dodder seedlings cannot parasitize M. micrantha stem diameters ≥0.3 cm; and the temperatures for the highest dodder seed germination and M. micrantha sprouting are 26 and 30 °C, respectively. We conclude that the lack of suitable M. micrantha parts within the dodder's effective parasitism distance is the major cause of restricted dodder parasitism and that the lower temperature for the highest dodder germination compared to that for the highest M. micrantha sprouting may decrease the possibility of parasitism. To acquire aggressive parasitism, dodder should be manually assisted by dispersing its vegetative form. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Source


Yang Q.,Guangdong Neilingding Futian National Nature Reserve | Yang Q.,City University of Hong Kong | Tam F.-Y.,City University of Hong Kong | Wu Y.-L.,Guangdong Neilingding Futian National Nature Reserve | And 3 more authors.
Chinese Journal of Ecology | Year: 2014

The present study examined the relationships between rhizosphere soil characteristics, microbial community and microbial activities in the forests artificially planted with two Sonneratia species at different stand ages (1-, 2-, 7-, 10-and 14-year-old for S. apetala and 1-, 4-, 7-, 10-and 14-year-old for S. caseolaris) in Futian National Nature Reserve, Shenzhen Bay. The rhizosphere soils in S. apetala and S. caseolaris forests at different stand ages were neutral or slightly acidic. The soil organic matter content increased with stand ages, but the total nitrogen (N) and total phosphorus (P) contents increased significantly only from 1-to 7-year-old stands and then decreased with ages. The temporal changes of the microbial biomass carbon, as well as the population sizes of bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes, were similar, with the maximum values in the 7-year-old forest. The microbial respiration rate in S. caseolaris was less than that in S. apetala at the same stand age. The microbial respiration rate increased with ages in S. caseolaris, but reached the peak value in the 7-year-old S. apetala forest. The canonical correlation analysis showed that the microbial biomass carbon and respiration rate in the rhizosphere were significantly correlated with soil organic matter content and pH. Source


Liu L.,Sun Yat Sen University | Li F.,Shenzhen University | Li F.,City University of Hong Kong | Yang Q.,Guangdong Neilingding Futian National Nature Reserve | And 5 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2014

Annual litter production in alien (Sonneratia apetala) and native (Kandelia obovata) mangrove forests in Shenzhen, China were compared from 1999 to 2010. S. apetala had significantly higher litter production than K. obovata, with mean annual total litter of 18.1 t ha-1yr-1 and 15.2 t ha-1yr-1, respectively. The higher litter production in S. apetala forest indicates higher productivity and consequently more nutrient supply to the estuarine ecosystems but may be more invasive due to positive plant-soil feedbacks and nutrient availability to this alien species. Two peaks were recorded in S. apetala (May and October), while only one peak was observed in K. obovata, in early spring (March and April). Leaf and reproductive materials were the main contributors to litter production (>80%) in both forests. These results suggest that the ecological function of S. apetala and its invasive potential can be better understood based on a long-term litter fall analysis. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Li M.,Sun Yat Sen University | Li M.,Guangdong Key Laboratory of Plant Resources | Lu E.,Sun Yat Sen University | Lu E.,Guangdong Key Laboratory of Plant Resources | And 8 more authors.
Shengtai Xuebao/ Acta Ecologica Sinica | Year: 2012

The invasive plant Mikania micrantha H. B. K., which is native to central and south America, has caused serious damages in southern China, especially in secondary forest. The invasive plant is a fast growing herbaceous vine. Under favorable sunlight and moisture, it can easily climb up, spread on top of other plants, and form a thick cover that intercepts light and adds heavy load to the underneath plants. It possesses strong asexual propagation ability and has many branches that easily produce adventitious roots so that a stem fragment can grow into a new independent individual. In addition, it has huge amounts of tiny and easily wind-dispersed seeds as well as a high germination rate. Damage of primary vegetation is the prerequisite of invasion. This work critically evaluated the control methods and strategies that have been developed and adopted in the past ten years to provide scientific evidences for controlling the invasive plant. Several controlling methods have been used in field and each method has its own advantages and limitations. Physical removal through cutting stems and digging roots is suitable for small areas with proper caring but not for large area. Removal should avoid fruiting period or fragment dropping because they may promote unintentional anthropologic dispersal. Chemical herbicides can be used when immediate outcome is needed, especially to interrupt fruiting, to clear the area for planting tree, and to foster young. It should be cautious that spraying herbicides may pose negative impact on environment; furthermore, it does not change the habitat, and thus, the invasive plant may re-invade after a few years of no proper action followed. Cuscuta campestris, a dodder, is a safe controlling agent and can easily parasitize the invasive plant. The application of dodder is suitable to mildly control the invasive plant or at an area where physical removal or chemical control are not appropriate. The proliferation of dodder is always behind that of invasive plant; manual dispersal of dodder to timely grow and disperse is needed. Community restructuring can suppress the invasive plant permanently. The restructuring creates an environment unsuitable for the invasive plant but proper for some fast growing tree species. Community restructuring is particularly suitable for afforestation area, but it costs more than other methods in short term. Natural enemies control and allelopathic control are promising while most are still at the exploratory stage. In future, more attention should be focused on the exploration of effective natural enemies, the integration of controlling methods, and the revelation of distribution pattern in macro level. The correct strategy to control the invasive plant is as follows: persistency rather than fast result for controlling vast area invasion; prevention of invasion to new areas being utmost important; revision of existing evaluation system to direct controlling from cleaning invaded area to protecting un-invaded area; management priority being addressed on mild invasion area and area that potentially becomes the source of dispersal to surrounding and distance area, spend less control resources to areas that have been severely invaded and to remote isolated area that have few human activities; establishing demonstration plot to promote knowledge of correct controlling methods and strategy, to enhance public awareness and to improve public confidence on successful prevention and control of the invasive species. Source

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