[Abstract] Background: The least weasel (Mustela nivalis) holds the distinction of being the world’s smallest carnivorous animal, yet its presence in South Korea has remained poorly understood. To address this knowledge gap, this study investigates the habitat preferences and distribution of the least weasel in South Korea.Results: Our study compiled presence data from various sources, including citizen reports, national surveys, and expert observations. The results confirmed the nationwide presence of the least weasel in mainland South Korea, with notable concentration regions such as Gangwon province. Among the various habitats, forest edges and forests emerged as the predominant choice, with over half of the documented locations situated within these environments, particularly in broadleaf forests. Additionally, the data reveal a year-round presence of the least weasel, with recorded cases occurring at varying levels throughout the year.Conclusions: Our research advances the understanding of least weasels in South Korea. Despite the relatively modest dataset, our results provide as a valuable resource for future conservation initiatives, emphasizing the significance of forested landscapes. Additionally, it assists in identifying priority areas for protection and management efforts. To secure the future of the least weasel in South Korea and beyond, further research, including longterm monitoring and genetic studies, is imperative.
[Abstract] The United States (US) National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a continental-scale observation facility, constructed and operated by Battelle, that collects long-term ecological data to better understand and forecast how US ecosystems are changing. All data and samples are collected using standardized methods at 81 field sites across the US and are freely and openly available through the NEON data portal, application programming interface (API), and the NEON Biorepository. NSF led a decade-long design process with the research community, including numerous workshops to inform the key features of NEON, culminating in a formal final design review with an expert panel in 2009. The NEON construction phase began in 2012 and was completed in May 2019, when the observatory began the full operations phase. Full operations are defined as all 81 NEON sites completely built and fully operational, with data being collected using instrumented and observational methods. The intent of the NSF is for NEON operations to continue over a 30-year period. Each challenge encountered, problem solved, and risk realized on NEON offers up lessons learned for constructing and operating distributed ecological data collection infrastructure and data networks. NEON’s construction phase included offices, labs, towers, aquatic instrumentation, terrestrial sampling plots, permits, development and testing of the instrumentation and associated cyberinfrastructure, and the development of community-supported collection plans. Although colocation of some sites with existing research sites and use of mostly “off the shelf” instrumentation was part of the design, successful completion of the construction phase required the development of new technologies and software for collecting and processing the hundreds of samples and 5.6 billion data records a day produced across NEON. Continued operation of NEON involves reexamining the decisions made in the past and using the input of the scientific community to evolve, upgrade, and improve data collection and resiliency at the field sites. Successes to date include improvements in flexibility and resilience for aquatic infrastructure designs, improved engagement with the scientific community that uses NEON data, and enhanced methods to deal with obsolescence of the instrumentation and infrastructure across the observatory.
[Abstract] Background: Inner Mongolia, desertification is happening due to climate change and land use alterations. In order to evaluate desert restoration effectiveness, this study compares number of species and species diversity in restored (with planted trees), unrestored area, and the reference ecosystem (Ref-E, typical steppe and woody steppe).Results: The Ref-E had the most plant species (64 taxa), while the unrestored area had the fewest (5 taxa). Among restored areas (restored in 2012, 2008, 2005), older restoration sites had more species (18–42). Similarly, species richness (3.93–0.41) and diversity (1.99–0.40) were highest in the Ref-E and lowest in unrestored areas, with older restored sites having higher values.Conclusions: More plant species and diversity in older restoration areas suggest progress toward ecosystem stabilization, approaching the Ref-E. Therefore, tree planting in Inner Mongolia’s Hulunbuir semi-arid desert is a successful restoration effort.
[Abstract] Background: Many insectivorous bats have flexible diets, and the difference in prey item consumption among species is one of the key mechanisms that allows for the avoidance of interspecies competition and promotes coexistence within a microhabitat. In Korea, of the 24 bat species that are known to be distributed, eight insectivorous bats use forest areas as both roosting and foraging sites. Here, we aimed to understand the resource partitioning and coexistence strategies between two bat species, Myotis ikonnikovi and Plecotus ognevi, cohabiting the Mt. Jumbong forests, by comparing the differences in dietary consumption based on habitat utilization.Results: Upon examining their dietary composition using the DNA meta-barcoding approach, we identified 403 prey items (amplicon sequence variants). A greater prey diversity including Lepidoptera, Diptera, Coleoptera, and Ephemeroptera, was detected from M. ikonnikovi, whereas most prey items identified from P. ognevi belonged to Lepidoptera. The diversity index of prey items was higher for M. ikonnikovi (H’: 5.67, D: 0.995) than that for P. ognevi (H’: 4.31, D: 0.985). Pianka’s index value was 0.207, indicating little overlap in the dietary composition of these bat species. Our results suggest that M. ikonnikovi has a wider diet composition than P. ognevi.Conclusions: Based on the dietary analysis results, our results suggests the possibility of differences in foraging site preferences or microhabitat utilization between two bat species cohabiting the Mt. Jumbong. In addition, these differences may represent one of the important mechanism in reducing interspecific competition and enabling coexistence between the two bat species. We expected that our results will be valuable for understanding resource partitioning and the coexistence of bats inhabiting the Korean forests.
[Abstract] Background: The most hazardous wastewater sources in the northern part of the Middle Nile Delta, Egypt; receiving a massive amount of agricultural, industrial, and sewage drainage are Kitchener drain which is one of the tallest drainage systems, and Burullus Lake which represents the 2nd largest Egyptian coastal lake.Results: The current work is to determine the abundance and frequency of cyanophytes, chlorophytes, and bacillariophytes and the correlation between them and environmental abiotic components. Among sixty nine microalgal species, 19 species are belong Cyanophyta, 26 belong Chlorophyta and 24 belong Bacillariophyta. Genus Scenedesmus (Chlorophyta) was the most abundant in the study area (13 species), followed by Genus Oscillatoria (9 species) and Genus Navicula (7 species). Nostoc muscorum and Chlorella vulgaris were the most common and recorded in all sites (100% of the locations) under study. The application of the two-way indicator species analysis (TWINSPAN) and detrended correspondence analysis revealed agglomerating of 4 groups (communities) at 4th level of classification and reasonable segregation between these groups. Zinc, cadmium and lead were showed the highest levels (0.26 ± 0.03, 0.26 ± 0.06, and 0.17 ± 0.01 ppm, respectively).Conclusions: The correlation analysis between water and community variables indicated a high negative correlation of total algae richness with nickel (r = –0.936, p < 0.01). Cyanophyta and Bacillariophyta were correlated negatively (r = –0.842, p < 0.01). However, Chlorophyta showed a negative richness with each of Ni and Pb (r = –0.965, –0.873, respectively) on one hand and a high positive correlation was revealed (r = 0.964) with all environmental variables on the other hand.
[Abstract] Background: Endemic species are important components in the flora of most world regions. Most of these species have become threatened and exposed to extinction within the last few years. The present study aims to evaluate the ecosystem services offered by the endemic plant taxa in Egypt and the threats that affect them. Twenty-five field visits were conducted during summer 2018 to spring 2022 to several locations all over Egypt. In each location, the main habitats, national distribution, abundance, goods and threats were recorded.Results: Egypt has 41 endemic taxa belonging to 36 genera and 20 families inhabiting 10 main habitats. Rocky surfaces and sandy formations have the highest number of endemic species. The relation between the number of endemic taxa and the abundance categories indicated that 2 taxa are rare (4.9% of the total taxa), while the remaining were very rare (95%). The most represented offered good was the medicinal uses (32 taxa = 78%), while fuel plants were only represented by 2 taxa (2 taxa = 4.9%). Besides, 14 taxa (34.1% of the total studied taxa) have at least 1 environmental service. Soil fertility (7 taxa = 50%) was the most represented, followed by sand accumulations (6 taxa out of 14 taxa = 43%), while shading plant was the least (1 taxon = 7.1%) (Rosa arabica). The most represented threat is over-cutting and over-collecting (38 taxa = 92.7%), while mining and quarrying is the least represented (4 taxa = 9.8%).Conclusions: The potential and actual goods, services and threats of the endemic taxa were assessed as follows; field observation, information collected from local inhabitants and herbalists, and a literature review. The present study recommended planning a strategy about the importance, threats and conservation of endemic taxa in Egypt that would help in the protection and rescue of these plants and increase awareness about the importance of these plants.
[Abstract] Background: The flowering and fruiting periods play an important role in biological processes. The deciduous dipterocarp forest is an important forest type in Thailand, however the phenological studies are still limited, particularly in different plant life forms. Thus, the present study focused on the flowering and fruiting phenology of herbs, climbers, shrubs, and trees in the deciduous dipterocarp forest at Lampang province of Northern Thailand. Field visits were made to record plant life forms and observe reproductive phenological events at monthly intervals from November 2018 to October 2019 and September to December 2020.Results: The phenological observations were based on 126 species of 45 families and 102 genera. Flowering and fruiting periods showed similar patterns in herbaceous plants, climbers, and shrubs. Most of these species produced flowers and fruits from the end of the rainy season (October) to the winter season (November–January). Whereas most of flowering and fruiting trees were found from the summer season (March–April) to the beginning of the rainy season (May–June). Most of the dry-fruited species occurred during the dry period (winter and summer seasons), while the majority of fleshy-fruited species dominated in the wet period (rainy season). The statistical analysis supported the phenological patterns of flowering and fruiting in the present study. There were significant negative correlations between the number of flowering and fruiting species and temperature. The number of flowering and fruiting species is significantly impacted by the interaction between seasons and plant life forms.Conclusions: Plant life form seems to be the important factor that affects the different phenological patterns in the studied plants. The abiotic and biotic factors play major roles in reproductive phenology. However, long-term study and in-depth phenological observations are necessary for better understanding.
[Abstract] Background: Free-living amoebae (FLA) are widely distributed in freshwater, seawater, soil, and extreme environments, and play a critical role as feeders on diverse preys in the ecosystem. Also, some FLA can become opportunistic pathogens in animals including humans. The taxa Amoebozoa and Heterolobosea are important amoeboid groups associated with human pathogens. However, the identification and habitat of amoebae belonging to Amoebozoa and Heterolobosea remain poorly reported in the Republic of Korea. This study highlights the first record for identification and source of four amoebae including putative pathogens in the Republic of Korea.Results: In the present study, four previously reported FLA were isolated from freshwaters in Sangju Gonggeomji Reservoir (strain GO001), one of the largest reservoirs during the Joseon Dynasty period, and along the Nakdong River, the largest river in the Republic of Korea (strains NR5-2, NR12-1, and NR14-1) for the first time. Microscopic observations and 18S rDNA phylogenetic trees revealed the four isolated strains to be Acanthamoeba polyphaga (strains NR5-2 and NR12-1), Tetramitus waccamawensis (strain GO001), and Naegleria australiensis (strain NR14-1). Strains NR5-2 and NR12-1 might be the same species and belonged to the morphological Group 2 and the T4 genotype of Acanthamoeba. Strain GO001 formed a clade with T. waccamawensis in 18S rDNA phylogeny, and showed morphological characteristics similar to previously recorded strains, although the species’ flagellate form was not observed. Strain NR14-1 had the typical morphology of Naegleria and formed a strongly supported clade with previously recorded strains of N. australiensis in phylogenetic analysis of 18S rDNA sequences.Conclusions: On the bases of morphological and molecular analyses, four strains of FLA were newly observed and classified in the Republic of Korea. Three strains belonging to the two species (A. polyphaga and N. australiensis) isolated from the Nakdong River have the potential to act as opportunistic pathogens that can cause fatal diseases (i.e. granulomatous amoebic encephalitis, Acanthamoeba Keratitis, and meningoencephalitis) in animals including humans. The Nakdong River in the Republic of Korea may provide a habitat for potentially pathogenic amoebae, but additional research is required to confirm the true pathogenicity of these FLA now known in the Republic of Korea.
[Abstract] Background: This study analyzed the physiological adaptations of a woody plant, Vitex rotundifolia, in Goraebul coastal sand dunes from May to September 2022. Environmental factors and physiological of plants growing under field and controlled (pot) conditions were compared.Results: Photosynthesis in plants growing in the coastal sand dunes and pots was the highest in June 2022 and July 2022, respectively. Chlorophyll fluorescence indicated the presence of stress in the coastal sand dune environment. The net photosynthesis rate (PN) and Y(II) were highest in June in the coastal sand dune environment and July in the pot environment. In August and September, Y(NPQ) increased in the plants in the coastal sand dune environment, showing their photoprotective mechanism. Chlorophyll a and b contents in the pot plant leaves were higher than those in the coastal sand dune plant leaves; however, chlorophyll-a/b ratio was higher in the coastal sand dune plant leaves than in the pot plant leaves, suggesting a relatively high photosynthetic efficiency. Carotenoid content in the coastal sand dune plant leaves was higher in August and September 2022 than that in the pot plant leaves. Leaf water and soluble carbohydrate contents of the coastal sand dune plant leaves decreased in September 2022, leading to rapid leaf abscission. Diurnal variations in photosynthesis and chlorophyll fluorescence in both environments showed peak activity at 12:00 hour; however, the coastal sand dune plants had lower growth rates and Y(II) than the pot plants. Plants in the coastal sand dunes had higher leaf water and ion contents, indicating that they adapted to water stress through osmotic adjustments. However, plants growing in the coastal sand dunes exhibited reduced photosynthetic activity and accelerated decline due to seasonal temperature decreases. These findings demonstrate the adaptation mechanisms of V. rotundifolia to water stress, poor soils, and high temperature conditions in coastal sand dunes.Conclusions: The observed variations indicate the responses of the V. rotundifolia to environmental stress, and may reveal its survival strategies and adaptation mechanisms to stress. The results provide insights into the ecophysiological characteristics of V. rotundifolia and a basis for the conservation and restoration of damaged coastal sand dunes.
[Abstract] Background: Ecophysiological characteristics of Rosa rugosa were analyzed under different environmental factors from May to October 2022. Photosynthesis, chlorophyll fluorescence, chlorophyll content, leaf water content (LWC), osmolality, carbohydrate content, and total ion content were measured to compare the physiological characteristics of R. rugosa at two study sites (i.e., in large pots and in the Goraebul coastal sand dune area).Results: When R. rugosa was exposed to high temperatures, photosynthetic parameters including net photosynthetic rate (PN) and stomatal conductance (gs) in both experiment areas declined. In addition, severe photoinhibition occurs when R. rugosa is continuously exposed to high photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), and because of this, relatively low Y(II) (i.e., the quantum yield of photochemical energy conversion in photosystem II [PSII]) and high Y(NO) (i.e., the quantum yield of non-regulated, non-photochemical energy loss in PSII) in the R. rugosa of the pot were observed. As the high Y(NPQ) (i.e., the quantum yield of regulated non-photochemical energy loss in PSII) of R. rugosa in the coastal sand dune, they dissipated the excessed photon energy through the non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) mechanism when they were exposed to relatively low PAR and low temperature. Rosa rugosa in the coastal sand dune has higher chlorophyll a and carotenoid content. The high chlorophyll a + b and low chlorophyll a/b ratios seemed to optimize light absorption in response to low PAR. High carotenoid content played an important role in NPQ. As a part of the osmotic regulation in response to low LWCs, R. rugosa exposed to high temperatures and continuously high PAR used soluble carbohydrates and ions to maintain high osmolality.Conclusions: We found that Fv/Fm was lower in the potted plants than in the coastal sand dune plants, indicating the vulnerability of R. rugosa to high temperatures and PAR levels. We expect that the suitable habitat range for R. rugosa will shrink and move to north under climate change conditions.
[Abstract] Background: Knowledge of the spatial trends of plant invasions in different habitats is essential for a better understanding of the process of these invasions. We examined the variation in invasive alien plant species (IAS) richness and composition at two spatial scales defined by elevation and habitat types (roadside, forest, and cultivated lands) in the Makawanpur district of Nepal. Following an elevation gradient ranging from 500 to 2,400 m asl along a mountain road, plant species cover was recorded within sample plots of size 10 m × 5 m. Systematic random sampling was adopted in every 100 m elevation intervals on three habitat types.Results: Altogether 18 invasive alien plants belonging to eight families were recorded within 60 plots, of which 14 species (representing 80%) were from tropical North and South America. The most common plants by their frequency were Ageratina adenophora, Chromolaena odorata, Bidens pilosa, Lantana camara, and Parthenium hysterophorus. We found a significant relationship between species composition and elevation in the study area. Low-elevation regions had a higher number of alien species as compared to high-elevation regions within different habitat types.Conclusions: The species richness and density of IAS were higher in the road site followed by the cultivated land and forest sites. This pattern occurred throughout the elevation range and habitats. IAS were found mostly in the open land with high sunlight availability. Information from such scientific assessment of invasive alien plants will assist in developing appropriate management plans in the Makawanpur district.
[Abstract] Background: Comparing with the several types of infrastructures, linear infrastructures are known to facilitate the spread of undesirable species in ecosystems. Recently, some new man-made habitats (e.g., gravel pads of the high-voltage towers, solid wastes and sewage habitats) were established along the Deltaic Mediterranean coast of Egypt as a result of the construction of the E-W coastal international highway. The current study evaluates the floristic composition associated with the pads of high-voltage towers that had been constructed for stabilizing the power line towers in the North Nile Delta. Plant cover was measured for 22 randomly stand.Results: Eighty-four species were recorded, of which 35 are perennials (41.6%), 2 biennials (2.3%) and 47 annuals (56.0%) belonging to 23 families. The largest families were Asteraceae (16 species), Poaceae (15 species), Chenopodiaceae (12 species), and Fabaceae (7 species). Ten aliens (10.7%) out of the 84 species were recorded. Therophytes have the highest percentage (58%), followed by hemicryptophytes (14%), chamaephytes (11%). Six vegetation groups were recognized in the study area after the application of two way indicator species analysis (TWINSPAN), Arthrocnemum macrostachyum, Phragmites australis, and Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum have the highest presence percentage. Both of Salsola cyclophylla and Solanum villosum were recorded for the first time in North Nile Delta. Natural habitat had the highest α-diversity, but the lowest β-diversity (4.9, 15.4), while gravel pads had the reverse (2.7, 30.8). Some species which are native to the desert habitats (e.g., Rumex pictus, Salsola kali, and Carthamus tenuis) were able to invade the North Nile Delta.Conclusions: Habitat of gravel pads is an expressing form about the intense of disturbance in Deltaic Mediterranean coast of Egypt. More of efforts should be carried out to avoid more human disturbances that creating as ruderal habitats which open the gate to invasive species in the flora of North Nile Delta.
Jyoti Khatri-Chettri1 , Maan Bahadur Rokaya2,3 and Bharat Babu Shrestha1*
Daniel Bisrat1,2* and Chuleui Jung1,3
Bajaree Chuttong1* , Lakkhika Panyaraksa1, Chantaluk Tiyayon2, Wilawan Kumpoun3, Parinya Chantrasri3, Phurichaya Lertlakkanawat1, Chuleui Jung4 and Michael Burgett1,5
Daniel Bisrat1,2* and Chuleui Jung1,3
This journal was supported by the Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies Grant funded
by the Korean Government (Ministry of Education).