Vol17 No.4: 907-918
【Title】Species richness and biodiversity significance of alpine micro-waterbody systems in Gaoligong Mountain, Northwest Yunnan, China
【Author】LIU Shuo-Ran1,3,4; Davide FORNACCA3,4; YANG Dao-De1*; TAN Lu5; LI Xian-Fu3,4,5; REN Guo-Peng3,4; SUN Jun6; HE Xiao-Yang6; YANG Wen-Shu6; CAI Qing-Hua5; XIAO Wen2,3,4*
【Addresses】1 Institute of Wildlife Conservation, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha 410004, China; 2 Institute of Materia Medica, Dali University, Dali 671003, China; 3 Collaborative Innovation Center for Biodiversity and Conservation in the Three Parallel Rivers Region of China, Dali 671003, China; 4 Institute of Eastern-Himalaya Biodiversity Research, Dali University, Dali 671003, China; 5 State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430072, China; 6 Gong-shan Administration Bureau, Gao-li-gong Mountain National Nature Reserve, Nujiang 67350, China
【Corresponding author】YANG Dao-De; XIAO Wen
【Citation】Liu SR, Fornacca D, Yang DD, et al. (2020) Species richness and biodiversity significance of alpine micro-waterbody systems in Gaoligong Mountain, Northwest Yunnan, China. Journal of Mountain Science 17(4). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-019-5487-7
【Abstract】Water quality, size, connectivity and other physical properties of hydrological systems might have different functions in the formation and maintenance of biodiversity, but this remains mostly unclear due to the lack of undisturbed sites for experimental modelling. Alpine freshwater habitats such as micro-waterbodies (MWB) represent a kind of natural system suitable for biodiversity research. In order to assess potential linkages between environmental factors, connectivity of MWBs and aquatic species richness, we conducted a pilot study in two separated MWB systems located in Gaoligong Mountain, northwest Yunnan province, China. A total of 27 MWBs have been analyzed, including 22 connected and 5 isolated bodies. 13 conventional environmental factors were tested while all kinds of aquatic macro-organisms were collected and classified. Results showed a high environmental heterogeneity among MWBs and significant differences between the two systems but only a few environmental variables such as the depth of soil bottom, total Nitrogen and altitude were related to species richness and the formation of the community structure. As a benefit from the high environmental heterogeneity, the cascaded MWB systems provided divergent habitats able to support species richness at a higher level than the same number of randomly selected MWBs. This finding supports the idea that habitat connectivity matters also in extremely small aquatic ecosystems. Moreover, although still a preliminary result, a polarization effect within connected chains where edge MWBs host higher taxa and endemic taxa richness as well as larger populations, was detectable. This study gives interesting insights on the spatial processes driving community structure and a new prospective for biodiversity conservation. Since alpine MWBs have significant effects on the maintenance of watershed biodiversity, further research on such small and crucial ecosystems is encouraged.
【Keywords】Habitat connectivity; High mountain; Extreme fine scale; Cascaded water system; Richness maintenance; Polarized dispersal