Zhejiang Museum of Natural History

Hangzhou, China

Zhejiang Museum of Natural History

Hangzhou, China
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Wang Y.,Zhejiang University | Ding P.,Zhejiang University | Chen S.,Zhejiang Museum of Natural History | Zheng G.,Beijing Normal University
Landscape and Urban Planning | Year: 2013

Nestedness is a pattern frequently observed in fragmented systems and has important implications for conservation. The few existing nestedness studies in urban landscapes have focused on the resident and breeding birds, while little attention has been paid to the wintering birds. Using distribution data of 60 bird species collected on 20 urban woodlots in Hangzhou, China, we tested for the existence of the nestedness and the underlying mechanisms for breeding birds and wintering species separately. We used the line-transect method to survey bird occupancy and abundance on 20 woodlots. We used two recently developed metrics, WNODF and NODF, to estimate nestedness. We used partial Spearman rank correlations to examine the associations of nestedness and habitat variables (area, isolation, habitat richness and human disturbance). We also used information-theoretic methods based on Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) to determine ecological processes underlying nestedness. The community compositions of breeding birds and wintering species were all significantly nested. Habitat nestedness is the main driver of species nestedness for all the bird assemblages. Human disturbance played an important role in the development of species nestedness for breeding birds, but not for wintering species. Nestedness of all the bird assemblages was not due to passive sampling, selective extinction or selective colonization. From a conservation viewpoint, our results indicate that we should protect woodlots with diverse habitats priorly and refrain from using breeding birds and wintering species as surrogates for each other in developing conservation planning. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Xu G.-H.,CAS Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology | Zhao L.-J.,Zhejiang Museum of Natural History | Gao K.-Q.,Peking University | Wu F.-X.,CAS Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2013

Flying fishes are extraordinary aquatic vertebrates capable of gliding great distances over water by exploiting their enlarged pectoral fins and asymmetrical caudal fin. Some 50 species of extant flying fishes are classified in the Exocoetidae (Neopterygii: Teleostei), which have a fossil record no older than the Eocene. The Thoracopteridae is the only pre-Cenozoic group of non-teleosts that shows an array of features associated with the capability of over-water gliding. Until recently, however, the fossil record of the Thoracopteridae has been limited to the Upper Triassic of Austria and Italy. Here, we report the discovery of exceptionally well-preserved fossils of a new thoracopterid flying fish from the Middle Triassic of China, which represents the earliest evidence of an over-water gliding strategy in vertebrates. The results of a phylogenetic analysis resolve the Thoracopteridae as a stem-group of the Neopterygii that is more crown-ward than the Peltopleuriformes, yet more basal than the Luganoiiformes. As the first record of the Thoracopteride in Asia, this new discovery extends the geographical distribution of this group from the western to eastern rim of the Palaeotethys Ocean, providing new evidence to support the Triassic biological exchanges between Europe and southern China. Additionally, the Middle Triassic date of the new thoracopterid supports the hypothesis that the re-establishment of marine ecosystems after end-Permian mass extinction is more rapid than previously thought. © 2012 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

Sato T.,Tokyo Gakugei University | Sato T.,Canadian Museum of Nature | Zhao L.-J.,Zhejiang Museum of Natural History | Wu X.-C.,Canadian Museum of Nature | Li C.,CAS Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology
Palaeontology | Year: 2014

An adult skeleton of the pistosauroid sauropterygian Yunguisaurus liae reveals a number of morphological features not observed in the holotype, such as the complete morphology of the skull roof, stapes, atlas and axis, ventral view of the postcranium, and nearly complete limbs and tail. Size and morphological differences between the two specimens are mostly regarded as ontogenetic variation, and newly added data did not affect the phylogenetic relationships with other pistosauroids significantly. The number of mesopodia (11 carpals and 8 tarsals) exceeds that known in any other Triassic marine reptiles and does not serve as a precursor of the plesiosaurian pattern with fewer mesopodia of different topology; it demonstrates variability of the limb morphology among the Triassic pistosauroids. The pectoral girdles of Corosaurus, Augustasaurus and Yunguisaurus may indicate early stages of the adaptation towards the plesiosaurian style of paraxial limb movements with ventroposterior power stroke. © The Palaeontological Association.

Shen S.-Z.,CAS Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology | Zhang H.,CAS Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology | Shi G.R.,Deakin University | Li W.-Z.,Deakin University | And 3 more authors.
Gondwana Research | Year: 2013

Palaeobiogeography of four consecutive Early Permian (Cisuralian) stages is quantitatively analyzed based on a global database of brachiopods consisting of 9131 occurrences, 3003 species of 515 genera of brachiopods from 2757 localities all over the world. Our analyses reveal three distinct largely palaeolatitude-related palaeobiogeographical realms developed during the Cisuralian like the other stages of the Permian. Six distinct provinces are distinguished during the Asselian. The Asselian brachiopod faunas from Gondwanaland and its surrounding areas in general are not well differentiated at the provincial level and characterized an Indoralian province. A large transitional zone (Southern Transitional Zone, STZ) between the Palaeoequatorial and Gondwanan Realms and another distinct Austrazean province in the eastern margin of Gondwanaland were formed from Sakmarian, contemporaneous with the largest peak of the Late Palaeozoic Ice Age. In contrast to the STZ, the palaeogeographical stations in the northern temperate transitional zone are not differentiated before Kungurian; instead they are grouped with the stations in the palaeoequatorial region, thus collectively constituting a large asymmetrical Cathaysian province stretching from South China, Iran in the western Palaeotethys to the Mongolian continent in the north. The Northeast European province mainly consisting of the stations in the Ural Fold Belt and eastern and northeastern parts of the European Platform shows a closer palaeobiogeographical relationship with the Cathaysian province when the Ural seaway opened to the Palaeotethys in the southern end before the Kungurian, but became more distinguished during the Kungurian after the closure of the Ural seaway and showed a relationship with the faunas of the Boreal Realm and the Northern Transitional Zone (NTZ). The stations in Texas, western North America constitute a distinct Grandian province based on the high-diversity brachiopod faunas with abundant endemic taxa, and became distinguishable even at the realm level during the Kungurian. Three high-latitude provinces, the Verkolyman province with characteristic Boreal brachiopod faunas, the Paratinan province with some bipolar and cosmopolitan genera in South America, and the Austrazean province in eastern Australia and New Zealand, were present from the Sakmarian.Further Principal Co-Ordinate analysis (PCO) and Minimum Spanning Tree (MST) analysis suggest that palaeolatitude-related thermal gradient was the major controlling determinant for the Cisuralian provincialism and brachiopod distribution. In addition, geographic barriers and regional eustatic changes also played some roles in the brachiopod distribution and Cisuralian marine palaeobiogeography. The transition from an icehouse to greenhouse stage led to a steady increase in brachiopod diversity and provincialism during the Cisuralian and Guadalupian. © 2012 International Association for Gondwana Research.

Xu G.-H.,CAS Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology | Zhao L.-J.,Zhejiang Museum of Natural History | Coates M.I.,University of Chicago
Biology Letters | Year: 2014

The Halecomorphi are a major subdivision of the ray-finned fishes. Although living halecomorphs are represented solely by the freshwater bowfin, Amia calva, this clade has a rich fossil history, and the resolution of interrelationships among extinct members is central to the problem of understanding the origin of the Teleostei, the largest clade of extant vertebrates. The Ionoscopiformes are extinct marine halecomorphs that were inferred to have originated in the Late Jurassic of Europe, and subsequently dispersed to the Early Cretaceous of the New World. Here, we report the discovery of a new ionoscopiform, Robustichthys luopingensis gen. et sp. nov., based on eightwell-preserved specimens from the Anisian (242-247 Ma), Middle Triassic marine deposits of Luoping, eastern Yunnan Province, China. The new species documents the oldest known ionoscopiform, extending the stratigraphic range of this group by approximately 90 Ma, and the geographical distribution of this group into the Middle Triassic of South China, a part of eastern Palaeotethys Ocean. These new data provide a minimum estimate for the split of Ionoscopiformes from its sister clade Amiiformes and shed new light on the origin of ionoscopiform fishes. © 2014 The Author(s).

Xu G.-H.,CAS Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology | Zhao L.-J.,Zhejiang Museum of Natural History | Shen C.-C.,CAS Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology
Biology Letters | Year: 2015

Gliding adaptations in thoracopterid flying fishes represent a remarkable case of convergent evolution of overwater gliding strategy with modern exocoetid flying fishes, but the evolutionary origin of this strategy was poorly known in the thoracopterids because of lack of transitional forms. Until recently, all thoracopterids, from the Late Triassic of Austria and Italy and theMiddle Triassic of South China, were highly specialized 'four-winged' gliders in having wing-like paired fins and an asymmetrical caudal fin with the lower caudal lobe notably larger than the upper lobe. Here, we show that the new genus Wushaichthys and the previously alleged 'peltopleurid' Peripeltopleurus, from the Middle Triassic (Ladinian, 235-242 Ma) of South China and near the Ladinian/Anisian boundary of southern Switzerland and northern Italy, respectively, represent the most primitive and oldest known thoracopterids. Wushaichthys, the most basal thoracopterid, shows certain derived features of this group in the skull. Peripeltopleurus shows a condition intermediate between Wushaichthys and Thoracopterus in having a slightly asymmetrical caudal fin but still lacking wing-like paired fins. Phylogenetic studies suggest that the evolution of overwater gliding of thoracopteridswas gradual in nature; a four-stage adaption following the 'cranial specialization-asymmetrical caudal fin-enlarged paired fins-scale reduction' sequence has been recognized in thoracopterid evolution. Moreover, Wushaichthys and Peripeltopleurus bear hooklets on the anal fin of supposed males, resembling those of modern viviparious teleosts. Early thoracopterids probably had evolved a live-bearing reproductive strategy. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

Wang Y.,Zhejiang University | Chen S.,Zhejiang Museum of Natural History | Ding P.,Zhejiang University
Journal of Biogeography | Year: 2011

Aim A fundamental question in community ecology is whether general assembly rules determine the structure of natural communities. Although many types of assembly rules have been described, including Diamond's assembly rules, constant body-size ratios, favoured states, and nestedness, few studies have tested multiple assembly rule models simultaneously. Therefore, little is known about the relative importance of potential underlying factors such as interspecific competition, inter-guild competition, selective extinction and habitat nestedness in structuring community composition. Here, we test the above four assembly rule models and examine the causal basis for the observed patterns using bird data collected on islands of an inundated lake. Location Thousand Island Lake, China. Methods We collected data on presence-absence matrices, body size and functional groups for bird assemblages on 42 islands from 2007 to 2009. To test the above four assembly rule models, we used null model analyses to compare observed species co-occurrence patterns, body-size distributions and functional group distributions with randomly generated assemblages. To ensure that the results were not biased by the inclusion of species with extremely different ecologies, we conducted separate analyses for the entire assemblage and for various subset matrices classified according to foraging guilds. Results The bird assemblages did not support predictions by several competitively structured assembly rule models, including Diamond's assembly rules, constant body-size ratios, and favoured states. In contrast, bird assemblages were highly significantly nested and were apparently shaped by extinction processes mediated through area effects and habitat nestedness. The nestedness of bird assemblages was not a result of passive sampling or selective colonization. These results were very consistent, regardless of whether the entire assemblage or the subset matrices were analysed. Main conclusions Our results suggest that bird assemblages were shaped by extinction processes mediated through area effects and habitat nestedness, rather than by interspecific or inter-guild competition. From a conservation point of view, our results indicate that we should protect both the largest islands with the most species-rich communities and habitat-rich islands in order to maximize the number of species preserved. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Jin X.,Zhejiang Museum of Natural History | Jackson F.D.,Montana State University | Varricchio D.J.,Montana State University | Azuma Y.,Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum | He T.,Zhejiang Museum of Natural History
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology | Year: 2010

Three clutches and eight additional eggs are described from the Upper Cretaceous Chichengshan Formation in the Lishui Basin of Zhejiang Province, China. The three clutches contain 6-18 partial or complete spherical eggs, 14-18 cm in diameter. The eggshell thickness and reticulate pore system are identical to Dictyoolithus hongpoensis Zhao, 1994. However, the eggshell lacks superimposed shell units previously reported in this oospecies. The difference in microstructure most likely results from the reliance on thin section analysis in the original study; furthermore, superimposed shell units are inadequately documented in all Dictyoolithus oospecies due to the absence of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) or low (×45) magnification of SEM imaging. Cladistic analysis and the presence of the following characters support a theropod affinity of Dictyoolithus hongpoensis: relatively narrow spacing of nucleation sites, mammillary cones with blocky calcite cleavage, prismatic columns, and parallel laminae within the shell units. We reevaluate previous assignment of Dictyoolithus eggs to the Dinosauroid-spherulitic Basic Type and advocate discontinuation of Basic Type and Morphotype in fossil egg classification. © 2010 by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Lu J.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences | Unwin D.M.,University of Leicester | Jin X.,Zhejiang Museum of Natural History | Liu Y.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences | Ji Q.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2010

The fossil record is a unique source of evidence for important evolutionary phenomena such as transitions between major clades. Frustratingly, relevant fossils are still comparatively rare, most transitions have yet to be documented in detail and the mechanisms that underpin such events, typified by rapid large scale changes and for which microevolutionary processes seem insufficient, are still unclear. A new pterosaur (Mesozoic flying reptile) from the Middle Jurassic of China, Darwinopterus modularis gen. et sp. nov., provides the first insights into a prominent, but poorly understood transition between basal, predominantly long-tailed pterosaurs and the more derived, exclusively short-tailed pterodactyloids. Darwinopterus exhibits a remarkable 'modular' combination of characters: the skull and neck are typically pterodactyloid, exhibiting numerous derived character states, while the remainder of the skeleton is almost completely plesiomorphic and identical to that of basal pterosaurs. This pattern supports the idea that modules, tightly integrated complexes of characters with discrete, semi-independent and temporally persistent histories, were the principal focus of natural selection and played a leading role in evolutionary transitions. © 2009 The Royal Society.

Yuan L.-Y.,CAS Wuhan Institute of Hydrobiology | Zhang E.,Zhejiang Museum of Natural History
Zootaxa | Year: 2010

Differences in coloration and morphology between two subspecies of Acrossocheilus hemispinus were investigated based on museum-stored and freshly-caught specimens. There are marked differences in the coloration of either juveniles or adults, and in sexual dimorphism, between A. h. hemispinus and A. h. cinctus. Multivariate analysis of morphometric data too, shows the two taxa to be distinguishable from each other. Differences in body coloration and morphometric characters coincide with those of the mouthpart structure and the coiling pattern of the intestine in A. h. hemispinus and A. h. cinctus. Morphological distinction, coupled with different habitat and food preferences, supports the taxonomic elevation of the two hitherto subspecific populations of A. hemispinus to species. © 2010 Magnolia Press.

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