Journal of Ecology and Environment

pISSN 2287-8327 eISSN 2288-1220
Diet analysis of Clithon retropictum in south coast of Korea using metabarcoding
Bacterial communities in the feces of insectivorous bats in South Korea
Ecological analysis and culture methods for freshwater green algae Prasiola japonica
The effect of thinning on trade-offs in ecosystem services: the case study of a Korean pine plantation on Mt. Gari
Ecological health assessment of Mae Kha Canal, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand in 2023

Current Issue

  • Research 2024-04-04 JEE 48:15

    Diet analysis of Clithon retropictum in south coast of Korea using metabarcoding

    SoonWon Hwang1 , Kwangjin Cho2 , Donguk Han3 , Yonghae Back4 , Eunjeong Lee3 , Sangkyu Park1*

    [Abstract] Background: This study focused on the diet of Clithon retropictum, level II endangered species in Korea. Since the development of brackish water zones has led to a decline in the population of this species, to obtain information on the ecology of C. retropictum required for its conservation and restoration. To investigate the actual preys of C. retropictum in south coast of Korea, we conducted high-throughput sequencing and metabarcoding techniques to extract DNA from gut contents and periphyton in their habitats.Results: Total 118 taxonomic groups were detected from periphyton samples. 116 were Chromista and Cyanobacteria dominated in the most samples. In gut contents samples, 98 taxonomic groups were detected. Similar to the results of periphyton, 96 were Chromista and Cyanobacteria dominated in the most samples. In the principal component analysis based on the presence/absence of taxonomic groups, gut content composition showed more clustered patterns corresponding to their habitats. Bryophyta was the most crucial taxonomic group explaining the difference between periphyton and gut contents compositions of C. retropictum.Conclusions: Our finding suggests that C. retropictum may not randomly consume epilithic algae but instead, likely to supplement their diet with Bryophyta.

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  • Research 2024-04-01 JEE 48:14

    The effect of thinning on trade-offs in ecosystem services: the case study of a Korean pine plantation on Mt. Gari

    Kiwoong Lee , Soon Jin Yun , Minsoo Kim , Hee Moon Yang and A Reum Kim *

    [Abstract] Background: The study was carried out to analyze the temporal changes of trade-offs (TOs) between two ecosystem services (ESs) before and after thinning in a Pinus koraiensis plantation on Mt. Gari from 2006 to 2021. As target variables, aboveground carbon (AGC) storage and species richness (SR) were chosen for regulating and supporting services. Thinning was applied from 2007 through 2008 with three treatments: 1) light thinning (LT), 2) heavy thinning (HT), and 3) control (Con).Results: Thinning influenced both AGC and SR. In 2021, AGC in the Con (111.1 t C ha-1) was significantly higher compared to the LT (82.0 t C ha-1) and HT (60.4 t C ha-1) after thinning from 2007 to 2008. Also, SR was marginally higher in the LT (94 species) than in the Con (55 species) and HT (87 species) in 2011. Relative benefits of AGC and SR showed similar trends with the obtained values. In addition, the effects of thinning on TO varied among treatments and over time, demonstrating different degrees of TO between the two ESs. In the LT, TO was 0.13 in 2006 and slightly increased to 0.2 by 2021. TO in the HT exhibited a relatively rapid increase from 0.22 in 2006 to 0.58 by 2021, while To in the Con fluctuated, rising to 0.36 in 2011 from 0.1 in 2006 and decreasing to 0.25 by 2021. Among the three treatments, the degree of TOs between the two ESs was the lowest in the LT.Conclusions: Depending on thinning intensities, the responses of ESs and the degree of TOs vary. Regarding the balance between enhancements and TOs in ESs among treatments, the LT treatment showing intermediate carbon storage, higher SR, and lower TOs will be a proper silvicultural application.

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  • Research 2024-04-01 JEE 48:13

    Ecological analysis and culture methods for freshwater green algae Prasiola japonica

    Dong Sam Kim1† , Dong Seon Kim2† and Jae Youl Cho2*

    [Abstract] Background: Prasiola japonica is a freshwater green algae species that can only be seen in Korea and Japan. The various conditions necessary for its growth and reproduction have not been fully elucidated. Therefore, in this study, we aimed to investigate conditions related to the growth and reproduction of P. japonica for the purpose of conserving and producing this species. We first examined differences in growth according to various conditions in different habitats to understand the growth environment of P. japonica.Results: The experimental results revealed that the optimal temperature for growth and reproduction of P. japonica was between 10°C–15°C, and the optimal light intensity was 1,000–1,500 lux. Furthermore, when Provasoli enriched seawater with iodine (PESI) agar was used, the growth of P. japonica was found to be at least 1.5–8 times greater than that of the general Sohan Valley water sample, and it also showed 2–4.5 faster growth rate to reach 30 µm. These results emphasize the importance of PESI agar in the culture of P. japonica, and are expected to be helpful in suggesting ways to utilize and conserve P. japonica resources.Conclusions: Through these research findings, we suggest new methods for conserving and producing P. japonica, highlight the importance of preserving the P. japonica ecosystem, and explore ways to utilize P. japonica resources. This research promotes the under- standing and protection of P. japonica resources in Korea and beyond, and underscores the need for further research and conservation efforts.

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  • Short communication 2024-04-01 JEE 48:12

    Bacterial communities in the feces of insectivorous bats in South Korea

    Injung An1†* , Byeori Kim1† , Sungbae Joo2 , Kihyun Kim3 and Taek-Woo Lee1

    [Abstract] Bats serve as vectors and natural reservoir hosts for various infectious viruses, bacteria, and fungi. These pathogens have also been detected in bat feces and can cause severe illnesses in hosts, other animals, and humans. Because pathogens can easily spread into the environment through bat feces, determining the bacterial communities in bat guano is crucial to mitigate potential disease transmission and outbreaks. This study primarily aimed to examine bacterial communities in the feces of insectivorous bats living in South Korea. Fecal samples were collected after capturing 84 individuals of four different bat species in two regions of South Korea, and the bacterial microbiota was assessed through next generation sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. The results revealed that, with respect to the relative abundance at the phylum level, Myotis bombinus was dominated by Firmicutes (47.24%) and Proteobacteria (42.66%) whereas Miniopterus fuliginosus (82.78%), Rhinolophus ferrumequinum (63.46%), and Myotis macrodactylus (78.04%) were dominated by Proteobacteria. Alpha diversity analysis showed no difference in abundance between species and a significant difference (p < 0.05) between M. bombinus and M. fuliginosus. Beta-diversity analysis revealed that Clostridium, Asaia, and Enterobacteriaceae_g were clustered as major factors at the genus level using principal component analysis. Additionally, linear discriminant analysis effect size was conducted based on relative expression information to select bacterial markers for each bat species. Clostridium was relatively abundant in M. bombinus, whereas Mycoplasma_g10 was relatively abundant in R. ferrumequinum. Our results provide an overview of bat guano microbiota diversity and the significance of pathogenic taxa for humans and the environment, highlighting a better understanding of preventing emerging diseases. We anticipate that this research will yield bioinformatic data to advance our knowledge of overall microbial genetic diversity and clustering characteristics in insectivorous bat feces in South Korea.

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  • Research 2024-03-11 JEE 48:11

    Ecological health assessment of Mae Kha Canal, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand in 2023

    Onalenna Manene1 , Nick Deadman2 , Chotiwut Techakijvej3 , Songyot Kullasoot3 , Pitak Sapewisut4 , Nattawut Sareein3 and Chitchol Phalaraksh3,4*

    [Abstract] Background: The Mae Kha Canal is one of Chiang Mai’s most important waterways. It supports local agriculture, irrigation, and transportation as well as provides stormwater drainage to prevent floods. Due to the unregulated rapid urbanization of the city and lack of efficient waste and wastewater management systems over the past few decades, the canal has become heavily polluted. This study aimed to evaluate the water quality of Mae Kha canal through assessment of the physico-chemical water quality and coliform bacteria. Moreover, benthic macroinvertebrates were samples and assessed using the Biological Monitoring Working Party (BMWPThai) and Average Score Per Taxon (ASPTThai) as biological indices. Results: The physico-chemical showed low dissolved oxygen levels, high levels of ammonia and phosphates, and elevated levels of biochemical oxygen demand, indicating that the water quality had significantly deteriorated. The canal was found to be heavily polluted, with most sites falling into the polluted to very heavily polluted. Coliform bacteria analysis revealed alarmingly high levels of total coliform bacteria and fecal coliform bacteria in the canal. The BMWPThai and ASPTThai scores indicated poor to very poor water quality. Conclusions: The physico-chemical and coliform bacteria indicated that the water quality of the Mae Kha canal had significantly deteriorated. The biological indices also indicated the poor to very poor water quality. This study underscores the urgent need for comprehensive remediation efforts, emphasizing strategic planning, investment, and community engagement to revive the canal’s ecological health and water quality.

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  • Research 2024-02-23 JEE 48:10

    Tree species migration to north and expansion in their habitat under future climate: an analysis of eight tree species Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

    Muhammad Abdullah Durrani1 , Rohma Raza1 , Muhammad Shakil2 , Shakeel Sabir3* and Muhammad Danish4

    [Abstract] Background: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government initiated the Billion Tree Tsunami Afforestation Project including regeneration and afforestation approaches. An effort was made to assess the distribution characteristics of afforested species under present and future climatic scenarios using ecological niche modelling. For sustainable forest management, landscape ecology can play a significant role. A significant change in the potential distribution of tree species is expected globally with changing climate. Ecological niche modeling provides the valuable information about the current and future distribution of species that can play crucial role in deciding the potential sites for afforestation which can be used by government institutes for afforestation programs. In this context, the potential distribution of 8 tree species, Cedrus deodara, Dalbergia sissoo, Juglans regia, Pinus wallichiana, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Senegalia modesta, Populus ciliata, and Vachellia nilotica was modeled.Results: Maxent species distribution model was used to predict current and future distribution of tree species using bioclimatic variables along with soil type and elevation. Future climate scenarios, shared socio-economic pathways (SSP)2-4.5 and SSP5-8.5 were considered for the years 2041–2060 and 2081–2100. The model predicted high risk of decreasing potential distribution under SSP2-4.5 and SSP5-8.5 climate change scenarios for years 2041–2060 and 2081–2100, respectively. Recent afforestation conservation sites of these 8 tree species do not fall within their predicted potential habitat for SSP2-4.5 and SSP5-8.5 climate scenarios.Conclusions: Each tree species responded independently in terms of its potential habitat to future climatic conditions. Cedrus deodara and P. ciliata are predicted to migrate to higher altitude towards north in present and future climate scenarios. Habitat of D. sissoo, P. wallichiana, J. regia, and V. nilotica is practiced to be declined in future climate scenarios. Eucalyptus camaldulensis is expected to be expanded its suitability area in future with eastward shift. Senegalia modesta habitat increased in the middle of the century but decreased afterwards in later half of the century. The changing and shifting forests create challenges for sustainable landscapes. Therefore, the study is an attempt to provide management tools for monitoring the climate change-driven shifting of forest landscapes.

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  • [Abstract] Background: In Korea, riparian zones and some floodplains have been converted into agricultural fields and urban areas. However, there are essential for maintaining biodiversity, as they are important ecological spaces. There are also very important spaces for humanity, as they perform various ecosystem services in a changing environment including climate change. Due to the importance of rivers, river restoration projects have been promoted for a long time, but their achievement has been insignificant. Development should be pursued by thoroughly evaluating the success of the restoration project. Ecological restoration is to accelerate succession, a process that a disturbed ecosystem recovers itself, with human assistance. Ecological restoration can be a test bed for testing ecological theories in the field. In this respect, ecological restoration should go beyond a ‘simple landscaping exercise’ and apply ecological models and theories in restoration practice.Results: The cross-section of the restored stream is far from natural rivers due to its steep slope and artificial material. The vegetation profiles of the restored streams did not reflect the flooding regime of the river. The species composition of the vegetation in the restored stream showed a significant difference from that of the reference stream, and was also different from that of an unrestored urban stream. Although species richness was high and the proportion of exotic species was low in the restored stream, the effect was offset by the high proportion of gardening and landscaping plants or obligate terrestrial plants.Conclusions: Based on both the morphological and ecological characteristics of the river, the restoration effect in the restored stream was evaluated to be very low. In order to solve the problems, a systematic adaptive management plan is urgently required. Furthermore, it is necessary to institutionalize the evaluation of restoration effects for the development of river restoration projects in the future.

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  • [Abstract] Background: Despite many environmental problems, plastic waste emissions have been a significant surge during last few decades in the Republic of Korea. Furthermore, the emergence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has lead to an increased use and disposal of plastic waste worldwide. This paper tried to present summarized data related to the production and disposal of plastics especially before and after the COVID-19 pandemic with environmental impacts of plastics. Also, review of plastic waste reduction policies and feasible policies to promote an act for a safe, sustainable environment are presented.Results: Plastics cause many environmental problems due to their non-degrading properties and have a huge direct and indirect impact on Ecosystems and Public Health. Microplastics need a lot of attention because their environmental effects are not yet fully identified. Despite plastic’s significant impact on climate change, the impact is not yet widely known to the public. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of plastic has surged and recycling has decreased due to the increase in delivery food and online shopping. Korea is introducing very active plastic and waste management policies, but it is necessary to implement more active policies by referring to the cases of other countries.Conclusions: In this article, we have scrutinized the evolution of plastic waste generation in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and delved into policy frameworks adopted by other nations, which South Korea can draw valuable lessons from. The formidable challenges posed by plastic waste, the remarkable shifts witnessed during the COVID-19 era, and the multifaceted response strategies elucidated in this paper all play a pivotal role in steering South Korea toward a sustainable future.

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  • Research 2024-02-07 JEE 48:07

    Terrestrial pest gastropod diversity and spatiotemporal variations in highland agricultural lands of Sri Lanka

    Dinelka Thilakarathne1,2 , Nadeela Hirimuthugoda3 , Kithsiri Ranawana3 and Shalika Kumburegama3*

    [Abstract] Background: The available information on terrestrial pest gastropods and their impact on the environment worldwide is scarce and outdated. The present study aimed to address this gap by conducting the first comprehensive survey of pest gastropods in the Nuwara Eliya District, an important vegetable growing area in the highlands of Sri Lanka. Eighty agricultural lands were surveyed over two years by establishing ten 1 m2 sampling plots per crop type in each agricultural land. Geo-coordinates, air temperature, elevation, relative humidity, daily rainfall, soil pH, species richness and abundance were recorded for rainy and non-rainy periods. The relationship between species composition and environmental variables was analyzed using multi-regression models and distribution maps.Results: Out of the 14 species recorded in agricultural lands, nine were identified as exotic pest species. Species abundance (t = 4.69, p < 0.05) and diversity was higher in the rainy period and the dominant species during this period were Bradybaena similaris (t = 2.69, p < 0.05) and Deroceras reticulatum (t = 2. 46, p < 0.05). Eggs and estivating adults were found in soil and under decaying organic matter during the non-rainy period. The exotic species showed broader preferences for the measured environmental factors and showed a wider range in distribution compared to the native species. Variation in pest gastropod composition was significantly accounted for by elevation, relative humidity, soil pH and daily rainfall. Additionally, the species richness and abundance varied across locations due to the combined effects of elevation, crop type and stage, and field type.Conclusions: The study emphasizes the importance of understanding the biology and ecology of gastropod pests to develop effective management strategies. By considering the influence of environmental factors and implementing appropriate soil management techniques, such as targeting specific habitats and crop stages, it is possible to mitigate pest populations and minimize their impact on agricultural lands. Overall, this research contributes valuable insights into the dynamics and interactions of terrestrial gastropods in agricultural ecosystems, supporting sustainable pest management practices.

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  • [Abstract] Background: The present study aims to identify the pattern and size of Juniperus species (Juniperus phoenicea and J. procera) in the natural forests in terms of tree dimension, size structure and density, discussing the existing both species in Sarrawat Mountains for suggesting the preservation, conservation, and sustainable development. For achieving this, the height and mean crown diameter of each individual was measured based on 2–4 diameter measurements per ind. (506 ind. for J. phoenicea and 322 ind. for J. procera).Results: The size index of both species was classified into 7 classes: the first (< 100 cm) and the second (100–200 cm) classes were chosen to represent the juvenile stage. The total mean of the J. phoenicea population increased with the increase of altitude, while the whole population decreased after altitude of 2,000 m. The total mean of the J. procera population increased with the increase of altitude till altitude of 2,000–2,100 m.Conclusions: The present study indicated that both of species grow at low altitudes, they only grow at altitude above 1,700 m above sea level. The present study indicated that the study area has the two Juniperus spp. (J. phoenicea and J. procera) associated together all over the area. The results were discussed and compared with other related studies.

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  • Research 2024-01-31 JEE 48:05

    Seasonal variation in longitudinal connectivity for fish community in the Hotancheon from the Geum River, as assessed by environmental DNA metabarcoding

    Hyuk Je Lee1*† , Yu Rim Kim1† , Hee-kyu Choi1 , Seo Yeon Byeon1,2 , Soon Young Hwang1 , Kwang-Guk An3 , Seo Jin Ki4 and Dae-Yeul Bae5

    [Abstract] Background: Longitudinal connectivity in river systems strongly affects biological components related to ecosystem functioning, thereby playing an important role in shaping local biodiversity and ecosystem health. Environmental DNA (eDNA)-based metabarcoding has an advantage of enabling to sensitively diagnose the presence/absence of species, becoming an efficient/effective approach for studying the community structure of ecosystems. However, little attention has been paid to eDNA-based biomonitoring for river systems, particularly for assessing the river longitudinal connectivity. In this study, by using eDNA we analyzed and compared species diversity and composition among artificial barriers to assess the longitudinal connectivity of the fish community along down-, mid- and upstream in the Hotancheon from the Geum River basin. Moreover, we investigated temporal variation in eDNA fish community structure and species diversity according to season. Results: The results of species detected between eDNA and conventional surveys revealed higher sensitivity for eDNA and 61% of species (23/38) detected in both methods. The results showed that eDNA-based fish community structure differs from down-, mid- and upstream, and species diversity decreased from down to upstream regardless of season. We found that there was generally higher species diversity at the study sites in spring (a total number of species across the sites [n] = 29) than in autumn (n = 27). Nonmetric multidimensional scaling and heatmap analyses further suggest that there was a tendency for community clusters to form in the down-, mid- and upstream, and seasonal variation in the community structure also existed for the sites. Dominant species in the Hotancheon was Rhynchocypris oxycephalus (26.07%) regardless of season, and subdominant species was Nipponocypris koreanus (16.50%) in spring and Odontobutis platycephala (15.73%) in autumn. Artificial barriers appeared to negatively affect the connectivity of some fish species of high mobility. Conclusions: This study attempts to establish a biological monitoring system by highlighting the versatility and power of eDNA metabarcoding in monitoring native fish community and further evaluating the longitudinal connectivity of river ecosystems. The results of this study suggest that eDNA can be applied to identify fish community structure and species diversity in river systems, although some shortcomings remain still need to be resolved.

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  • Research 2024-01-23 JEE 48:04

    Evaluation of stingless bee (Tetragonula pagdeni) honey properties and melissopalynological analysis from different geographical origins in Thailand

    Jakkrawut Maitip1* , Amonwit Polgate1 , Woranika Promsart1 , Jinatchaya Butdee1 , Athitta Rueangwong1 , Tanatip Sittisorn1 , Wankuson Chanasit2, Satasak Jorakit3 and Prapai Kodcharin4

    [Abstract] Background: Honey from different geographical origins can have distinct characteristics due to variations in the floral sources available to stingless bees in different regions. The most abundant stingless bee for meliponiculture in Thailand is Tetragonula pagdeni. However, only a few studies about the properties of honey from a different origin were carried out. The objective of this study was focused on a comparative study to evaluate the melissopalynological, physicochemical, antioxidant activities, and total phenolic contents (TPCs) of stingless bee honey produced by T. pagdeni from different parts of Thailand. Results: Fifty honey samples were collected from five locations, and the physicochemical properties of T. pagdeni honey samples are acidic (pH 3.02–4.15) and have a high water content (18.42–25.06 %w/w), which is related to the regions of meliponary. Melisopalynological analysis reveals the predominant pollen from Melaleuca quinquenervia, Cocus nuciferca, Nephelium lappaceum, Salacca wallichiana, and multiflora honey. All honey samples were analyzed for their TPC and 2,2-diphenyl1-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging activity. The results show that all samples had high TPC and antioxidant activities with a strong correlation (p < 0.05). Conclusions: The data from this study indicates the importance of geographical origin, which links physicochemical properties, phenolic compounds, and functional characteristics to their floral. Besides, the floral sources and harvesting location affected the properties of stingless bee honey. Our results identify Melaleuca honey as a promising source of phenolic content and antioxidant activity that can be used as a functional food, as well as multiflora and Cocus honey. However, further studies are required to characterize the phenolic compound and its biological potential, which could be a stingless bee honey biomarker and quality control, simultaneously with the physicochemical analysis.

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Journal of Ecology and Environment

pISSN 2287-8327 eISSN 2288-1220