Journal of Ecology and Environment

pISSN 2287-8327 eISSN 2288-1220
Editorial of special issue “Ecological and environmental impacts of invasive alien species”
A field evaluation of two external transmitter attachment methods for small snakes
Assessing the potential invasiveness of transgenic plants in South Korea: a three-year case study on sunflowers
Strategies to prevent the new infectious diseases from an ecological perspective
Foraging behavior and pollination efficiency of honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) and stingless bees (Tetragonula laeviceps species complex) on mango (Mangifera indica L., cv. Nam Dokmai) in Northern Thailand

Current Issue

  • Abstract : Background: The introduction of new living modified (LM) crops may pose a latent threat to the biodiversity of each country. Here, we used sunflowers (Helianthus annuus L.) as a study system to investigate the potential for invasiveness of LM crops under different environmental conditions when released into a natural ecosystem in South Korea. We examined the seed germination, survival, and flowering of sunflowers under competition with wild plants at different sowing dates (March–December) and plot sizes (1 m × 1 m and 2 m × 2 m).Results: The germination rate showed a significant difference according to the sowing date. In addition, several sunflowers survived in plots with a high germination rate, which also led to a higher flowering rate. We found that the smaller the plot, the smaller the area available for inter-species competition, and the higher the number of surviving sunflower plants. The relative dominance and importance value of the species varied significantly between the sowing dates; in particular, sunflowers sown in March could compete with wild plants for longer than those sown on other sowing dates.Conclusions: These observations indicate that the potential for invasiveness of sunflowers differs depending on the environmental conditions and seed density at the time of release.

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  • Research 2022-07-18 JEE 46:18

    A field evaluation of two external transmitter attachment methods for small snakes

    Il-Kook Park , Hojun Jeong and Daesik Park *

    Abstract : Background: Radio-telemetry is a useful method to investigate the spatial ecology of species in the wild, by tracking the signal of a transmitter attached to an individual. The method of attaching a transmitter to a snake is representatively divided into surgical implantation, and external attachment, which latter is often used in small snake species.Results: In this study, we evaluated and compared the utility of two external attachment methods, the nylon thread method and the tape method, applied to a small grassland snake species of approximately 50 cm snout–vent length, the Slender racer (Orientocoluber spinalis), on an island in the Republic of Korea. The nylon thread method and the tape method were applied to four and five individuals, and radio-tracked for an average of eight and eleven days, respectively. The nylon thread method caused individual injury and disturbed their movement, while using the tape method, the transmitter package sometimes dropped off, but no injury or movement problems occurred.Conclusions: Considering that poor understanding of how to attach the transmitter makes it difficult to investigate the spatial ecology of small snake species, the tape method, evaluated in this study, could be applied to attach a transmitter and to study spatial ecology of such snakes.

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  • Abstract : Background: The coronavirus problem is an ecological problem stemming from a sudden change in the relationship between parasites and hosts. Ecologists judge organisms that are established out of their original territory as exotic species. Unlike in their original habitat, these exotic species become very aggressive in their newly settled habitat. Coronavirus infection damage was bigger in Europe or the United States than that in the country of its origin, China, and its neighboring countries. Therefore, coronavirus infection damage resembles the damage due to the invasive species.Results: Exotic species are found in places with similar environmental conditions to those of their origin when introduced to other ecological regions. However, there are few ecological ill effects in their place of origin, while the damage is usually severe in the ecological regions in which it is introduced. According to historical records, exotic infectious diseases, such as European smallpox and measles, also showed a similar trend and caused great damage in newly established places. Therefore, it is expected that measures to manage exotic species could be used for the prevention of exotic infectious diseases such as the coronavirus.Conclusions: Prevention comes first in the management of exotic species, and in order to come up with preventive measures, it is important to collect information on the characteristics of related organisms and their preferred environment. In this respect, ecosystem management measures such as exotic species management measures could be used as a reference to prevent and suppress the spread. To put these measures into practice, it is urgently required to establish an international integrated information network for collecting and exchanging information between regions and countries. Furthermore, a systematic ecosystem-management strategy in which natural and human environments could continue sustainable lives in their respective locations may serve as a countermeasure to prevent infectious diseases.

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  • Abstract : Background: Epilobium hirsutum L. is designated as an endangered plant in South Ko- rea located in Asia, due to the destruction of its habitats through the development of wet- lands. Therefore, in this study, in order to find a light condition suitable for the growth and ecophysiological responses of Epilobium hirsutum L., those of this plant under treatment with various light qualities in a smart farm were measured.Results: In order to examine the changes in the physiological and growth responses of Epilobium hirsutum L. according to the light qualities, the treatment with light qualities of the smart farm was carried out using the red light: blue light irradiation time ratios of 1:1, 1:1/2, and 1:1/5 and a red light: blue light: white light irradiation time ratio of 1:1:1. As a result, the ecophysiological responses (difference between leaf temperature and atmo- spheric temperature, transpiration rate, net photosynthetic rate, intercellular CO2 partial pressure, photosynthetic quantum efficiency) to light qualities appeared differently ac- cording to the treatments with light qualities. The increase in the blue light ratio increased the difference between the leaf temperature and the atmospheric temperature and the photosynthetic quantum efficiency and decreased the transpiration rate and the inter- cellular CO2 partial pressure. On the other hand, the white light treatment increased the transpiration rate and intercellular CO2 partial pressure and decreased the temperature dif- ference between the leaf temperature and the ambient temperature and photosynthetic quantum efficiency.Conclusions: The light condition suitable for the propagation by the stolons, which are the propagules of Epilobium hirsutum L., in the smart farm, is red, blue and white mixed light with high net photosynthetic rates and low difference between leaf temperature and atmospheric temperature.

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  • Research 2022-07-11 JEE 46:15

    Foraging behavior and pollination efficiency of honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) and stingless bees (Tetragonula laeviceps species complex) on mango (Mangifera indica L., cv. Nam Dokmai) in Northern Thailand

    Bajaree Chuttong1* , Lakkhika Panyaraksa1 , Chantaluk Tiyayon2 , Wilawan Kumpoun3 , Parinya Chantrasri3 , Phurichaya Lertlakkanawat1 , Chuleui Jung4 and Michael Burgett1,5

    Abstract : Background: The mango is one of the essential fruit trees for the economy of Thailand. Mango pollination relies primarily on insects. Other external forces, such as wind, are less efficient since pollen is sticky and aggregating. There is only one report from Thailand on the use of bees as mango pollinators. The study of the behavior and pollination efficiency of honey bees (Apis mellifera) and stingless bees (Tetragonula laeviceps species complex) was conducted in Nam Dokmai mango plantings in Phrao and Mae Taeng districts, Chiang Mai province, between February and March 2019.Results: Our results reveal that the honey bees commenced foraging earlier than the stingless bee. The number of flowers visited within 1 minute by honey bees was higher than that visited by stingless bees. The average numbers of honey bees and stingless bees that flew out of the hive per minute from 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. in the Phrao district were 4.21 ± 1.62 and 9.88 ± 7.63 bees/min, respectively, i.e., higher than those observed in Mae Taeng, which were 3.46 ± 1.13 and 1.23 ± 1.20 bees/min, respectively. The numbers of fruits per tree were significantly higher in the honey bee and stingless bee treatments (T1 and T2) than in the open pollination treatment (T3). The number of fruits between T1 and T2 treatments was not different. In the pollinator exclusion treatment (T4), no fruit was produced. Fruit size factors were not significantly different among T1, T2, and T3 treatments.Conclusions: Our results showed that insect pollination is crucial for mango production, especially with the Nam Dokmai variety in Northern Thailand. As pollinator exclusion treatment showed no fruit set, and pollinator treatment significantly increased the fruit sets compared to open access plots, a managed pollinator program would benefit the mango growers for better productivity. Both the honey bee and the stingless bee were shown to be effective as pollinators.

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  • Abstract : Background: Bamboo forests provides benefits for nature and the welfare of the people of Turen in Malang Regency and Sumbermujur in Lumajang Regency. They interact with the forest to live through the development of forest potential based on local wisdom. This is believed to prevent various adverse impacts on the forest. Local wisdom is related to beliefs or/and taboos, ethics and rules, techniques and technology, as well as forest/ land management traditions carried out by the community in building, managing forests, and Turen springs in Malang Regency and Sumbermujur in Lumajang Regency. Therefore, it is important to study the potential of bamboo forests in Turen and Sumbermujur for ecotourism, the development of bamboo forest ecotourism in Turen and Sumbermujur based on local wisdom, and the potential of bamboo forests in Turen and Sumbermujur in sustainable spring conservation.Results: Bamboo forest ecotourism has become an attractive tourist attraction. It is also beneficial for environmental conservation and the welfare of the surrounding community. The potential of bamboo forests in ecotourism development consists of various types of old bamboo that are fertile which offer environmentally friendly tourism activities by prioritizing aspects of nature conservation and socio-cultural empowerment of the local community. This cannot be separated from the belief that bamboo has supernatural powers (as a protector), so they do not dare to take or damage the existing bamboo. This behavior has a positive impact on springs that are still sustainable.Conclusions: Therefore, the charm of the bamboo forest is a potential that can be developed through ecotourism based on local wisdom. The development of bamboo forest ecotourism based on local wisdom is able to meet the living needs of the surrounding community.

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  • Abstract : Background: In northern Thailand, the longan flower is the principal nectar source for honey production. Microorganisms play a critical function in the agricultural ecology. The morphological characteristics of fungal species found in longan pollen were studied. Aspergillus spp. were found to be invertase-producing strains and were employed in the longan syrup production process. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of invertase-added longan syrup on the adult honey bee population numbers that were fed by this syrup for 16 weeks.Results: Different fungal species were found in longan pollen samples. Aspergillus was the main genus, with three predominant sections: Nigri, Flavi, and Terrei. Other isolated species were Trichoderma spp., Rhizopus spp., Neurospora spp., Chaetomium spp., Fusarium spp. and Penicillium spp. However, Aspergillus spp. is the only fungal species that produces the enzyme invertase. The invertase-producing strains belonging to the Aspergillus section Nigri were found to be A. niger LP5 with an optimum activity at pH 6.0 and 60°C. When A. niger LP5 invertase was used for longan syrup processing, the highest levels of glucose (3.45%) and fructose (2.08%) were found in invertase added longan syrup (C), while fresh (A) and boiled longan syrup (B) had lower contents of both sugars. The sucrose content was detected in (A) at 4.25%, while (B) and (C) were at 4.02% and 3.08%, respectively. An appropriate amount of sugar to feed and maintain the honey bee population was considered. The data showed no statistically significant differences between the two selected forms of longan syrup compared to the sugar syrup examined by the adult honey bee population.Conclusions: The main species of isolated fungi from longan pollen were Aspergillus spp. The discovery of an invertase-producing strain of A. niger LP5 has enabled its application for enzyme utilization in the invert sugar preparation process. The adult worker bee populations fed by longan syrup from both boiled and invertase-added sources showed an increasing trend. Artificial syrup made from longan fruit to feed honey bees when natural food sources are limited can be applied.

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  • Abstract : Background: Pollinators are important ecological elements due to their role in the maintenance of ecosystem health, wild plant reproduction, crop production and food security. The pollinator-plant interaction supports the preservation of plant and animal populations and it also improves the yield in pollination dependent crops. Having knowledge about the plant-pollinator interaction is necessary for development of pesticide risk assessment of pollinators and conservation of endangering species.Results: Traditional methods to discover the relatedness of insects and plants are based on tracing the visiting pollinators by field observations as well as palynology. These methods are time-consuming and needs expert taxonomists to identify different groups of pollinators such as insects or identify flowering plants through palynology. With pace of technology, using molecular methods become popular in identification and classification of organisms. DNA metabarcoding, which is the combination of DNA barcoding and high throughput sequencing, can be applied as an alternative method in identification of mixed origin environmental samples such as pollen loads attached to the body of insects and has been used in DNA-based discovery of plant-pollinator relationship.Conclusions: DNA metabarcoding is practical for plant-pollinator studies, however, lack of reference sequence in online databases, taxonomic resolution, universality of primers are the most crucial limitations. Using multiple molecular markers is preferable due to the limitations of developed universal primers, which improves taxa richness and taxonomic resolution of the studied community.

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  • Research 2022-04-18 JEE 46:11

    Population structure and regeneration of Zanthoxylum armatum DC. in Salyan, Nepal

    Nirmala Phuyal1,2* , Pramod Kumar Jha1 , Pankaj Prasad Raturi3 and Sangeeta Rajbhandary1

    Abstract : Background: Zanthoxylum armatum is one of the 30 prioritized medicinal plants for economic development of Nepal with a high trade value. Understanding the ecology of individual species is important for conservation and cultivation purposes. However, relation of ecological factors on the distribution and populations of Z. armatum in Nepal remain unknown. To address this knowledge gap, an attempt has been made to study the population structure, distribution, and regeneration potentiality of Z. armatum. Vegetation sampling was conducted at six different localities of Salyan district along the elevation range of 1,000 m to 2,000 m.Results: Altogether 50 plant species belonging to 44 genera under 34 families were found to be associated with Z. armatum. Significantly higher species richness was found at Rim (1,400–1,700 m) and Chhatreshwori (1,800–2,000 m) and lower at Kupinde (1,600–1,800 m). The highest population density of Z. armatum was at Kupinde (1,600–1,800 m) with a total of 1,100 individuals/ha. and the lowest at Chhatreshwori (1,800–2,000 m) with 740 individuals/ha. Based on the A/F value (Whitford index), it can be said that Z. armatum has random distribution in the study area. The plants were categorized into seedlings, saplings and adults based on plant height and the status of natural regeneration category determined. The regeneration potentiality of Z. armatum in the study area was fair with the average seedlings and saplings densities of 150 and 100 individuals/ha. Respectively. A Shannon–Weinner index mean value of 2.8 was obtained suggesting high species diversity in the study area.Conclusions: The natural distribution and regeneration of Z. armatum is being affected in the recent years due to anthropogenic disturbances. Increasing market demand and unsustainable harvesting procedures are posing serious threat to Z. armatum. Thus, effective conservation and management initiatives are most important for conserving the natural population of Z. armatum in the study area.

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  • Abstract : Background: Many investigations on phytoplankton from the Nakdong River carried out. However, since the weirs were constructed, only changes in phytoplankton biomass and dominant species have been restrictively studied in phytoplankton investigations in the Nakdong River. Added to this, any investigation on the phytoplankton flora has not been done in the Nakdong River. The aim of this study is to elucidate the characteristics of phytoplankton communities in the Nakdong River with the weirs built in it.Results: We observed a total of 103 taxa of Euglenophytes belonging to 8 genera from middle-lower part of the Nakdong River. The genus Trachelomonas was the most abundant group making up 40 taxa, followed Lepocinclis (20), Phacus (17), Strombomonas (14), Euglena (5), Colacium (3), Monomorphina (3) and Menoideum (1). Among them, a total of 22 taxa including Colacium (1), Lepocinclis (8), Phacus (4), Strombomonas (4) and Trachelomonas (5) were reported for the first time in Korea, and 86 taxa including those new to Korea were first recorded in the Nakdong River. All the species are illustrated with photomicrographs, and new to Korean species briefly discussed with regard to their taxonomy together with photomicrographs.Conclusions: The present study, a total of 22 taxa including one species of Colacium, 8 taxa of Lepocinclis, 4 taxa of Phacus, 4 taxa of Strombomonas and 5 taxa of Trachelomonas were reported for the first time in Korea, and 86 taxa including those new to Korea were first recorded in the Nakdong River.

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  • Abstract : Background: Korean white pine (Pinus koraiensis) is a major commercial species, and the importance of the oak trees (Quercus spp.) is increasing due to various factors such as environmental and ecological values. However, more information is required to clearly understand the growth characteristics of these species especially regarding thinning intensity. This study was performed to provide the basic information to develop the silvicultural guideline and field manual by analyzing tree and stand characteristics in line with thinning intensity in the Korean white pine plantation and oak-dominated natural deciduous forest.Results: Diameter at breast height (DBH) and volume changes by the thinning intensity in the Korean white pine plantation were significantly different from those in the oak-dominated deciduous natural forest. In particular, DBH distribution in the pine stand appeared that there were more large diameter trees as the thinning intensity was higher. DBH periodic annual increment (PAI) of the pine stand was higher as the thinning intensity was stronger and the growth period was shorter. This trend was similarly shown in the natural deciduous forest, but the amount of PAI was smaller than in pine stand. The volume PAI after thinning was not decreased over time. In each stand type, the PAI tended to be lower as stand density was higher. The volume PAI in the pine stand was significantly higher than that in the oak-dominated natural deciduous forest. Dead trees occurred the most in the unthinned plots of each stand type, and those were higher in the natural deciduous forest. Ingrowth trees were observed only in the natural deciduous forest, and its distribution was the lowest in unthinned plots; Korean white pine as ingrowth occurred the most frequently among many tree species.Conclusions: Different effects of thinning treatment on DBH and volume PAI, mortality, and ingrowth were observed for each stand. With respect to forest growth, Korean white pine plantation was superior to the oak-dominated natural deciduous forest. The results of this study offer fundamental information for the development of silvicultural guidelines for Korean white pine plantations and oak-dominated natural deciduous forests in Korea.

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July, 2022
Vol.46

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Journal of Ecology and Environment

pISSN 2287-8327 eISSN 2288-1220