2006 Vol. 27, No. 6

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Daytime activity budgets of feral goats (Capra hircus) were studied in 1981, 1982 and 2000 on the Isle of Rum, northwest Scotland. This paper analyzes the influence of key weather variables (temperature and rainfall) and seasonal variations in daylength on daytime activity budgets. This study showed that the percentage of daytime spent in feeding by feral goats on Rum Island decreased with average monthly temperature, while the percentage of daytime spent in lying increased and rainfall had no significant effects on the percentage daytime spent in feeding or lying. The daylength varied greatly from January to December with the longest daylength being in June and July, and the shortest one in December and January. The amount of daytime spent feeding decreased from summer to winter, although the percentage of daytime spent feeding increased greatly from summer to winter. The seasonal variations in daylength seem to be an important factor in constraining feral goats' activity, especially in the cold and wet winters when forage biomass and quality are both at their lowest level. We discuss the influence of such constraining effects on the forage intake of these goats and their winter survival rate, as well as its implication for population regulation of these goats.
Soil spiders were pitfall-trapped once every month in three forest vegetation types of Ziwuling natural secondary forest region, Gansu Province from April to October, 2004. A total of 2?164 spiders were collected, belonging to 43 species in 19 families, captured in 630 pitfall trap collections. Linyphiidae, Gnaphosidae and Lycosodae were found to be the dominant families in all habitat types, and the composition of soil spider assemblages was different between the three habitats. Ecological indices of diversity, richness and evenness were significantly different between the three habitats (P<0.05). The relative abundance of guilds (based on numbers of individuals) varied greatly (P<0.01), which may reflect resource availability within habitat types. The existence of different patterns within the assemblages reflects the importance of maintaining habitat heterogeneity and vegetation types in order to preserve soil spider biodiversity.
Habitat selection of red deer and roe deer was conducted an investigation in the Wandashan Mountains Heilongjiang Province during winter from 2003 to 2005, using transect censuses and stepwise discrimination analysis. The study area included logged and unlogged forest. We set systematic transect lines at intervals of more than 2 000 m. On each transect line large sample plots (10 m×10 m) were set at 50 m intervals. Five small sample plots (2 m×2 m) were set inside every larger plot. Vegetation type, food abundance, snow depth, slope degree, slope aspect, slope position, altitude, shelter class, canopy density, coverage, density, diameter at breast height (DBH), distance to human disturbance and water resource were recorded within each plot. The results revealed that there was significant difference in habitat selection between red deer and roe deer despite partly overlapping distributions. In logged forest, red deer tended to select shrub or miscellaneous tree forest on the middle or upper slopes position with sunny or semi-sunny aspect. They also preferred relatively higher altitude and abundant food that were made up of trees of smaller DBH and a higher density of shrubs. These habitats tended to be 1 000 m away from human disturbance. However roe deer preferred to live in miscellaneous tree or Mongolian Oak forest on the middle or lower slopes with a sunny aspect. They preferred relatively lower altitude and moderate food consisting of trees with larger DBH and shrubs of lower density. The roe deer was insensitive to human activities. By comparison, in the unlogged areas, the red deer selected miscellaneous tree forests with trees of relatively small DBH, relatively higher altitude and abundant food, which were 1 000 m away from human disturbance. Roe deer showed unobvious selection for distance from human activities. Polar and birch mixed forest were most often selected by roe deer.
It was reported that there were significant relationship between species and higher taxons(family and genus) in number. This regulation has its high value to forecast species richness. We applied avian species checklists in different geographic types (natural reserves, administrative regions, zoogeographic regions) in China to study the number relationship between species and higher taxons, including correlation and frequency distribution. Our results showed: (1) Significant correlations existed between species and higher taxons in number (P<0.01), and the correlation of genus-species was stronger than that of family-species. Power model was the best to fit the correlation among logarithmic model, power model, exponential model and linear model; (2) The frequency distributions of species in higher taxons were significant regular (P<0.05). The regulation in genus was stronger than that in family. Power model was the best to fit the correlation among four models. Therefore, we supposed that the correlation between species and higher taxons in number is related with frequency distribution of species in higher taxons.
The mitochondrial DNA Cyt b of 31 Siniperca scherzeri collected from the Yalujiang River, Haihe River, Yangtze River, Qiantangjiang River, Minjiang River and Xijiang River were amplified and partially sequenced using the PCR technique. The results showed that 78 nucleotide sites were variable along 781 bp length of homologous sequence (9.6%), base substitutions happened mostly at the third codon position, and sixteen haplotypes were detected in 31 individuals. Genetic distances between the Yalujiang, Haihe population and the Yangtze, Qiantangjiang, Minjiang and Xijiang population were higher. The analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) supported the conclusion that there was significant genetic differentiation between these six geographical populations (F ST=0.9307, P<0.01). A neighbour joining tree showed that the Yalujiang and Haihe population formed the northern clade and the Yangtze, Minjiang and Xijiang populations formed the southern clade. The Qiantangjiang population formed an independent clade instead of merging into the southern clade. The phylogenetic relationship revealed by the Cyt b sequence was not consistent with the species' geographical distribution patterns.
DNA strand scission and topology changes are catalyzed by DNA topoisomerases. Previous studies suggest that Type ⅡB topoisomerase evolved from Type ⅡA by gene duplication, recombination and absence. However, this study shows that the evolutionary relationship between Type ⅠA and ⅡB is closer than that between Type ⅡA and ⅡB. Thus, Type ⅡB is possibly from Type ⅠA, or Type ⅡB is a special form of ⅠA in archaebacteria; Type ⅡB is probably evolved from ⅡA via ⅠA rather than from ⅡA directly. During the evolution of ⅡA to ⅡB via ⅠA, the catalytic mechanisms of DNA topoisomerases have also been changed; that is, metal ions are necessary in the catalyses for both ⅠA and ⅡA, but no ion is needed for ⅡB.
Go/NoGo tasks are a useful behavioral model in the study of cognitive neurosciences. The present developmental study is aimed at establishing a developmental protocol of Go/NoGo visual-discrimination tasks to investigate more cognitive process. We used two rhesus monkeys to test our procedures. Our results suggested that the monkeys quickly learned Go/NoGo visual-discrimination tasks, and performed NoGo tasks better and easier than Go tasks. Using this visual-discrimination task, we can easily study related cognitive neurosciences.
The dynamic distribution of three different glycoconjugates in oocytes and follicle cells during the oogenesis of Atractomorpha sinensis were detected using biotinlabeled Peanut Agglutinin (PNA), Soy Bean Agglutinin (SBA) and Ulex Europaeus Agglutinin I (UEA-I) lectins. The results showed that during oogenesis there was no distribution of the UEA-I receptor. The receptors of PNA and SBA were found to be dependent on developmental stage and present different distribution patterns accordingly. The binding sites of the two lectins indicated the presence of different sugars (PNA for Galβ1,3GalNAc and SBA for GalNAc) and showed considerable variation during oogenesis. PNA and SBA receptors first appeared at the oocyte growth phase, the PNA receptors then disappeared gradually and the SBA receptors exhibited the greatest expression. At the early phase of yolk formation, PNA and SBA receptors were located just at the brim of ooplasm, which was the region of vitellin formation. However at the later phase of yolk formation, neither of the two receptors was detected. In the mature egg, PNA and SBA receptors were distributed again on the vitellin membrane and the eggshell. The two receptors were also widely distributed in the follicular cells, showing similar distribution variation to the oocytes. The results indicate that the change and modification of the two receptors may be greatly related to the growth of oocytes, the preparation for yolk formation, the differentiation of follicular cells and the maturation of oocytes. The glycoconjugates on the vitellin membrane probably play important roles in sperm and egg recognition. The two lectins bound moderately or strongly to the eggshell, which indicates that the eggshell of A. sinensis contains the GalNAc and Galβ1,3GalNAc glycoproteins.
The complete mitochondrial DNA D-loop sequences from 10 stud Brahman cattle were sequenced and analyzed. The results showed that the genetic diversity of Brahman cattle was rich; the rate of nucleotide variation, haplotype diversity and nucleotide diversity were 6.25%, 0.978±0.054 and 0.014 30±0.008 68, respectively. Nine haplotypes were defined and fell into two distinct lineages, suggesting that Brahman cattle have both Bos indicus (Zebu) and B. taurus genetic background. The taurine haplotypes were predominant at 90% and only Brah-6 belonged to the Asian zebu mthaplotype. This indicates that Brahman cattle was one of the zebu breeds and inherited the excellent characteristics of both the Asian zebu and European beef cattle, such as easy calf delivery, high quality beef, heat tolerance and resistance to various parasites. Breeders introduced Brahman cattle to improve the productivity and adaptability of native cattle. The Zebu has evidently frequently introgressed into the modern taurine breeds. As for modern zebu breeds, B. taurus also highly contributed to their formation, except for the Asian zebu. Furthermore our results also confirm the hypothesis that B. indicus has undergone a separate domestication event and originated from the Indian subcontinent.
The study was conducted to investigate the effects of Albizia julibrissin on growth and brain monoamine neurotransmitters in chronic-stressed rats. Fifteen rats were divided into three groups including the control group, stressed group and Albizia julibrissin treated group. The rats in both the stressed and treated groups were stressed for seven days, and the rats in the treated group were fed with Albizia julibrissin by gavage administration for 10 days after stress. At the conclusion of the experiment, brain tissues were collected from the three groups to analyze the content of homovanillic acid (HVA), norepinephrine (NE), dopamine (DA) and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT). The indices above were determined by high pressure liquid chromatogram (HPLC). The results showed that the daily growth in mass of rats in the stressed group significantly decreased compared with the control group (P=0.011), while the Albizia julibrissin treated group had a higher growth than that of the stressed group (P=0.002). The HVA levels of the hippocampus, striatum and prefrontal lobes in the stressed group were not significantly different from the control group, though there was a tendency for higher levels in the stressed group. The stress had no significant effects on levels of NE, DA and 5-HT. The levels of HVA and DA in the hippocampus in the Albizia julibrissintreated group were significantly higher than those of the stressed group, while DA and 5-HT of the prefrontal lobes and 5-HT of the striatum were significantly lower than the stressed group. These results suggest that Albizia julibrissin alleviates the growth inhibition caused by stress, and regulates the levels of monoamine neurotransmitters of the brain in stressed rats.
Eighteen Spermophilus dauricus were divided according to age into the young group, the sub-adult group and the adult group. The activities of myosin ATPase (mATPase) of the soleus muscle were detected using the mATPase method. The percentages of TypeⅠandⅡ fibres were then determined. The viscera weight and viscera index were measured and calculated. The results revealed: (1) The proportion of TypeⅡ fibres in the soleus muscle were notably lower in the adult and the sub-adult than in the young of S. dauricus; and compared with the sub-adult, the adult showed a significant decrease; (2) the thymus index in young S. dauricus was markedly higher than those of the sub-adult and the adult, the splenic index (SI) in young S. dauricus was markedly higher than that of the sub-adult, whereas the hepatic index (HI) was distinctly lower than those of the sub-adult and the adult. When compared with the sub-adult, the hepatic index of the adult was sharply higher, whereas the other indices showed no significant variation between the two groups. In summary, the proportion of Type Ⅱ fibres gradually decreased with age, both the thymus and the splenic index also decreased with age, whereas the hepatic index gradually increased. These results suggest that the activities of mATPase decline during postnatal development in S. dauricus.
Amphioxus is expected to be a model laboratory animal in the near future because of its important position in evolution, simplified internal organ systems and transparent body. In order to develop the animal into a new laboratory model, we sampled two species of amphioxus (Branchiostoma belcheri and B. japonicum) from Xiamen in September 2003 and April 2004. The captive lancelets were cultured in the laboratory and fed daily with unicellular algae. After three years of laboratory culturing, we successfully obtained a second filial generation of both species, meaning that a full reproductive cycle was achieved in the laboratory. Preliminary observations on the growth of the progeny indicated that warmer water temperature will speed up the growth and development of amphioxus. This hints that amphioxus probably spawns more often in the laboratory, where water temperature is controlled, than in the wild. Most of the second generation lancelets have now metamorphosed into the early sub-adult stage, and their maximum full body lengths were up to 14.6 mm (B. japonicum) and 6.5 mm (B. belcheri), respectively.
The extant papionin monkeys are represented today by several genera including Papio (baboons) and Theropithecus (geladas) in Africa,and Macaca (macaques) in North Africa and Asia. However, During the Pliocene and Pleistocene, while geladas occupied African and India (e.g., Delson, 1984; Prasad, 1996; Fleagle, 1999; Frost & Delson, 2002; El-Zaatari et al, 2005), Papio inhabited only sub-Saharan Africa. In both cases, diversity was considerably greater in the past than today. African papionins were also sympatric with hominins, both groups being found together in major fossil hominin localities throughout East and southern Africa. Papionins are important chronological (faunal) markers for hominin sites as well as providing insights into ecology. In 2001, in Zhongdian County, Yunnan Province, China, a fossil primate was unearthed from a locality along the Jingsha River that strongly morphologically resembles Papio (see Fig.1). This fossil comprises most of a well-preserved mandible with some teeth. The specimen is dated using faunal correlation to the Lower Pleistocene. The presence of a Papio-like lineage in China is important because: 1) it indicates much wider geographic distribution for this previously African-only lineage, offering new information about primate evolution and biogeography; 2) it stems from a time when hominins first occupied East Asia; 3) it was discovered in a region likely to have been a major corridor for settlement of East Asia by hominins and other primates; and 4) it potentially offers new insights into various aspects of hominin ecology.
It is generally accepted that climate has changed greatly on a global scale, and that the earth's climate has already warmed by some degrees over the past century. Ample evidence shows that there have been apparent changes in avian population dynamics, life-history traits and geographic ranges in response to global climate change. This paper briefly reviews the possible effects of climate change on avian biology and ecology all over the world, with emphasis on new findings from several long-term studies in Europe and North America, which provide unique opportunities to investigate how longterm changes in climate affect birds at both individual and population levels. The implications of such long-term studies for future bird studies in China is discussed with hope that this review can contribute to the preparation and plan for studies of climatic effects on birds in China in the future.
We review 20 year long investigations by the Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology on radioecological and ecological consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe for wild animals in the Exclusion Zone (EZ) around the nuclear plant. Using previous observations on bird migrations through Ukraine, we assessed the 137 Cs and 90 Sr carry-out with migrants from the EZ. In addition, we selected animal species as standard indicators of the state of the environment to map: 1) contamination of vertebrates with 137 Cs in the EZ and 2) beta-activity of mollusc shells indicating 90 Sr, in the whole Dnieper drainage area, in the Kiev Administrative Region, and in the EZ. We revealed regular seasonal and long-term trends, relative radionuclide accumulation by different species, transfer and accumulation factors, and used these measurements to diminish the enormous variation and complexity of the data. Secondary ecological changes in forest, devastated by direct irradiation, were caused by the crash of trophic chains and an outbreak of insect pests on dead or sick trees. Ninety-nine percent of the EZ area was not affected directly by irradiation. Ecological changes in this area have been caused by evacuation of the public, cessation of agriculture and forest management, and decontamination on a large scale. After initial changes, animal density and distribution have been stabilized at a limit restricted by natural resources, predators and poachers. A herd of Przewalski horses was successfully introduced into the EZ years ago. We renewed the protected state of nature reserved sites, which existed before, and proposed to expand the area of nature reservation.
Tracing evolutionary relationships among organisms and re-constructing species phylogenetic trees is vital in evolutionary biology. Species in the mammalian order of Carnivora rank top in the animal food chain. Most carnivores have received great interest in the conservation of wild animals and are also crucial model animals for the study of the molecular mechanisms of adaptive evolution. As an order bearing important evolutionarily significance and conservation value, the phylogeny of Carnivora has received special attention. In this article, we reviewed higher-level (interfamilial) phylogeny of carnivores based on previous cytological, morphological and molecular evidence and indicated the existing phylogenetic problems. This review is expected to guide future research of carnivore phylogeny, and also provide theoretical evidence for the use of this order as a model in the study of adaptive evolution.