The genetic benefits individuals receive from mate choice have been the focus of numerous studies, with several showing support for both intrinsic genetic benefits and compatibility effects on fertilization success and offspring viability. However, the robustness of these effects have rarely been tested across an ecologically relevant environmental gradient. In particular, sperm environment is a crucial factor determining fertilization success in many species, especially those with external fertilization. Here, we test the importance of sperm environment in mediating compatibility-based selection on fertilization using a factorial breeding design. We detected a significant intrinsic male effect on fertilization success at only one of four sperm concentrations. Compatibility effects were significant at the two highest sperm concentrations and, interestingly, the magnitude of the compatibility effect consistently increased with sperm concentration. This suggests that females are able to modify the probability of sperm-egg fusion as the amount of sperm available increases.
A life-history trade-off between low mortality in the dark and rapid growth in the light is one of the most widely accepted mechanisms underlying plant ecological strategies in tropical forests. Differences in plant functional traits are thought to underlie these distinct ecological strategies; however, very few studies have shown relationships between functional traits and demographic rates within a functional group. We present 8 years of growth and mortality data from saplings of 15 species of Dipterocarpaceae planted into logged-over forest in Malaysian Borneo, and the relationships between these demographic rates and four key functional traits: wood density, specific leaf area (SLA), seed mass, and leaf C:N ratio. Species-specific differences in growth rates were separated from seedling size effects by fitting nonlinear mixed-effects models, to repeated measurements taken on individuals at multiple time points. Mortality data were analyzed using binary logistic regressions in a mixed-effects models framework. Growth increased and mortality decreased with increasing light availability. Species differed in both their growth and mortality rates, yet there was little evidence for a statistical interaction between species and light for either response. There was a positive relationship between growth rate and the predicted probability of mortality regardless of light environment, suggesting that this relationship may be driven by a general trade-off between traits that maximize growth and traits that minimize mortality, rather than through differential species responses to light. Our results indicate that wood density is an important trait that indicates both the ability of species to grow and resistance to mortality, but no other trait was correlated with either growth or mortality. Therefore, the growth mortality trade-off among species of dipterocarp appears to be general in being independent of species crossovers in performance in different light environments.
HFCs (heterozygosity-fitness correlations) measure the direct relationship between an individual's genetic diversity and fitness. The effects of parental heterozygosity and the environment on HFCs are currently under-researched. We investigated these in a high-density U.K. population of European badgers (Meles meles), using a multimodel capture-mark-recapture framework and 35 microsatellite loci. We detected interannual variation in first-year, but not adult, survival probability. Adult females had higher annual survival probabilities than adult males. Cubs with more heterozygous fathers had higher first-year survival, but only in wetter summers; there was no relationship with individual or maternal heterozygosity. Moist soil conditions enhance badger food supply (earthworms), improving survival. In dryer years, higher indiscriminate mortality rates appear to mask differential heterozygosity-related survival effects. This paternal interaction was significant in the most supported model; however, the model-averaged estimate had a relative importance of 0.50 and overlapped zero slightly. First-year survival probabilities were not correlated with the inbreeding coefficient (f); however, small sample sizes limited the power to detect inbreeding depression. Correlations between individual heterozygosity and inbreeding were weak, in line with published meta-analyses showing that HFCs tend to be weak. We found support for general rather than local heterozygosity effects on first-year survival probability, and g2 indicated that our markers had power to detect inbreeding. We emphasize the importance of assessing how environmental stressors can influence the magnitude and direction of HFCs and of considering how parental genetic diversity can affect fitness-related traits, which could play an important role in the evolution of mate choice.
Freshwater eels have fascinated biologists for centuries due to the spectacular long-distance migrations between the eels' freshwater habitats and their spawning areas far out in the ocean and the mysteries of their ecology. The spawning areas of Atlantic eels and Japanese eel were located far offshore in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, respectively, and their reproduction took place thousands of kilometers away from their growth habitats. Phylogenetic studies have revealed that freshwater eels originated in the Indonesian region. However, remarkably little is known about the life histories of tropical freshwater eels despite the fact that tropical eels are key to understanding the nature of primitive forms of catadromous migration. This study found spawning-condition tropical freshwater eels in Lake Poso, central Sulawesi, Indonesia, with considerably high gonadosomatic index values and with histologically fully developed gonads. This study provides the first evidence that under certain conditions, freshwater eels have conditions that are immediately able to spawn even in river downstream. The results suggest that, in contrast to the migrations made by the Atlantic and Japanese eels, freshwater eels originally migrated only short distances of <100 kilometers to local spawning areas adjacent to their freshwater growth habitats. Ancestral eels most likely underwent a catadromous migration from local short-distance movements in tropical coastal waters to the long-distance migrations characteristic of present-day temperate eels, which has been well established as occurring in subtropical gyres in both hemispheres.
Compensatory growth (CG) may be an adaptive mechanism that helps to restore an organisms' growth trajectory and adult size from deviations caused by early life resource limitation. Yet, few studies have investigated the genetic basis of CG potential and existence of genetically based population differentiation in CG potential. We studied population differentiation, genetic basis, and costs of CG potential in nine-spined sticklebacks (Pungitius pungitius) differing in their normal growth patterns. As selection favors large body size in pond and small body size in marine populations, we expected CG to occur in the pond but not in the marine population. By manipulating feeding conditions (viz. high, low and recovery feeding treatments), we found clear evidence for CG in the pond but not in the marine population, as well as evidence for catch-up growth (i.e., size compensation without growth acceleration) in both populations. In the marine population, overcompensation occurred individuals from the recovery treatment grew eventually larger than those from the high feeding treatment. In both populations, the recovery feeding treatment reduced maturation probability. The recovery feeding treatment also reduced survival probability in the marine but not in the pond population. Analysis of interpopulation hybrids further suggested that both genetic and maternal effects contributed to the population differences in CG. Hence, apart from demonstrating intrinsic costs for recovery growth, both genetic and maternal effects were identified to be important modulators of CG responses. The results provide an evidence for adaptive differentiation in recovery growth potential.
Agricultural expansion and intensification are major threats to global biodiversity, ecological functions, and ecosystem services. The rapid expansion of oil palm in forested tropical landscapes is of particular concern given their high biodiversity. Identifying management approaches that maintain native species and associated ecological processes within oil palm plantations is therefore a priority. Riparian reserves are strips of forest retained alongside rivers in cultivated areas, primarily for their positive hydrological impact. However, they can also support a range of forest-dependent species or ecosystem services. We surveyed communities of dung beetles and measured dung removal activity in an oil palm-dominated landscape in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. The species richness, diversity, and functional group richness of dung beetles in riparian reserves were significantly higher than in oil palm, but lower than in adjacent logged forests. The community composition of the riparian reserves was more similar to logged forest than oil palm. Despite the pronounced differences in biodiversity, we did not find significant differences in dung removal rates among land uses. We also found no evidence that riparian reserves enhance dung removal rates within surrounding oil palm. These results contrast previous studies showing positive relationships between dung beetle species richness and dung removal in tropical forests. We found weak but significant positive relationships between riparian reserve width and dung beetle diversity, and between reserve vegetation complexity and dung beetle abundance, suggesting that these features may increase the conservation value of riparian reserves. Synthesis and applications: The similarity between riparian reserves and logged forest demonstrates that retaining riparian reserves increases biodiversity within oil palm landscapes. However, the lack of correlation between dung beetle community characteristics and dung removal highlights the need for further research into spatial variation in biodiversity-ecosystem function relationships and how the results of such studies are affected by methodological choices.
Distribution of tropical rainforests in Southeastern Asia has changed over geo-logical time scale, due to movement of tectonic plates and/or global climatic changes. Shorea parvifolia is one of the most common tropical lowland rainforest tree species in Southeastern Asia. To infer population structure and demographic history of S. parvifolia, as indicators of temporal changes in the distribution and extent of tropical rainforest in this region, we studied levels and patterns of nucleotide polymorphism in the following five nuclear gene regions: GapC, GBSSI, PgiC, SBE2, and SODH. Seven populations from peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, and eastern Borneo were included in the analyses. STRUCTURE analysis revealed that the investigated populations are divided into two groups: Sumatra-Malay and Borneo. Furthermore, each group contained one admixed population. Under isolation with migration model, divergence of the two groups was estimated to occur between late Pliocene (2.6 MYA) and middle Pleistocene (0.7 MYA). The log-likelihood ratio tests of several demographic models strongly supported model with population expansion and low level of migration after divergence of the Sumatra-Malay and Borneo groups. The inferred demographic history of S. parvifolia suggested the presence of a scarcely forested land bridge on the Sunda Shelf during glacial periods in the Pleistocene and predominance of tropical lowland rainforest at least in Sumatra and eastern Borneo.
Drought and pests are primary abiotic and biotic factors proposed as selective filters acting on species distributions along rainfall gradients in tropical forests and may contribute importantly to species distributional limits, performance, and diversity gradients. Recent research demonstrates linkages between species distributions along rainfall gradients and physiological drought tolerance; corresponding experimental examinations of the contribution of pest pressure to distributional limits and potential interactions between drought and herbivory are limited. This study aims to quantitate differential performance and herbivory as a function of species range limits across a climatic and floristic transition in Southeast Asia. Khao Chong Botanical Garden, Thailand and Pasoh Forest Reserve, Malaysia straddle the Kangar-Pattani Line. A reciprocal transplantation across a seasonality gradient was established using two groups of species ("widespread" taxa whose distributions include seasonally dry forests and "aseasonal" taxa whose distributions are limited to aseasonal forests). Growth, biomass allocation, survival, and herbivory were monitored for 19 months. Systematic differences in performance were a function of species distribution in relation to rainfall seasonality. In aseasonal Pasoh, aseasonal species had both greater growth and survivorship than widespread species. These differences were not a function of differential herbivory as widespread and aseasonal species experienced similar damage in the aseasonal forest. In seasonally dry Khao Chong, widespread species showed higher survivorship than aseasonal species, but these differences were only apparent during drought. We link this differential performance to physiological mechanisms as well as differential tolerance of biotic pressure during drought stress. Systematic decreases in seedling survival in aseasonal taxa during drought corresponded with previously documented physiological differences and may be exacerbated by herbivore damage. These results have important implications for tropical diversity and community composition in light of predicted increases in the frequency and severity of drought in hyperdiverse tropical forests.
Beta diversity - the variation in species composition among spatially discrete communities - and sampling grain - the size of samples being compared - may alter our perspectives of diversity within and between landscapes before and after agricultural conversion. Such assumptions are usually based on point comparisons, which do not accurately capture actual differences in total diversity. Beta diversity is often not rigorously examined. We investigated the beta diversity of ground-foraging ant communities in fragmented oil palm and forest landscapes in Sabah, Malaysia, using diversity metrics transformed from Hill number equivalents to remove dependences on alpha diversity. We compared the beta diversities of oil palm and forest, across three hierarchically nested sampling grains. We found that oil palm and forest communities had a greater percentage of total shared species when larger samples were compared. Across all grains and disregarding relative abundances, there was higher beta diversity of all species among forest communities. However, there were higher beta diversities of common and very abundant (dominant) species in oil palm as compared to forests. Differences in beta diversities between oil palm and forest were greatest at the largest sampling grain. Larger sampling grains in oil palm may generate bigger species pools, increasing the probability of shared species with forest samples. Greater beta diversity of all species in forest may be attributed to rare species. Oil palm communities may be more heterogeneous in common and dominant species because of variable community assembly events. Rare and also common species are better captured at larger grains, boosting differences in beta diversity between larger samples of forest and oil palm communities. Although agricultural landscapes support a lower total diversity than natural forests, diversity especially of abundant species is still important for maintaining ecosystem stability. Diversity in agricultural landscapes may be greater than expected when beta diversity is accounted for at large spatial scales.
Tropical ectotherms are predicted to be especially vulnerable to climate change because their thermal tolerance limits generally lie close to current maximum air temperatures. This prediction derives primarily from studies on insects and lizards and remains untested for other taxa with contrasting ecologies. We studied the HCT (heat coma temperatures) and ULT (upper lethal temperatures) of 40 species of tropical eulittoral snails (Littorinidae and Neritidae) inhabiting exposed rocky shores and shaded mangrove forests in Oceania, Africa, Asia and North America. We also estimated extremes in animal body temperature at each site using a simple heat budget model and historical (20 years) air temperature and solar radiation data. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that HCT and ULT exhibit limited adaptive variation across habitats (mangroves vs. rocky shores) or geographic locations despite their contrasting thermal regimes. Instead, the elevated heat tolerance of these species (HCT = 44.5 ± 1.8°C and ULT = 52.1 ± 2.2°C) seems to reflect the extreme temperature variability of intertidal systems. Sensitivity to climate warming, which was quantified as the difference between HCT or ULT and maximum body temperature, differed greatly between snails from sunny (rocky shore; Thermal Safety Margin, TSM = -14.8 ± 3.3°C and -6.2 ± 4.4°C for HCT and ULT, respectively) and shaded (mangrove) habitats (TSM = 5.1 ± 3.6°C and 12.5 ± 3.6°C). Negative TSMs in rocky shore animals suggest that mortality is likely ameliorated during extreme climatic events by behavioral thermoregulation. Given the low variability in heat tolerance across species, habitat and geographic location account for most of the variation in TSM and may adequately predict the vulnerability to climate change. These findings caution against generalizations on the impact of global warming across ectothermic taxa and highlight how the consideration of nonmodel animals, ecological transitions, and behavioral responses may alter predictions of studies that ignore these biological details.
Seed dispersal governs the distribution of plant propagules in the landscape and hence forms the template on which density-dependent processes act. Dispersal is therefore a vital component of many species coexistence and forest dynamics models and is of applied value in understanding forest regeneration. Research on the processes that facilitate forest regeneration and restoration is given further weight in the context of widespread loss and degradation of tropical forests, and provides impetus to improve estimates of seed dispersal for tropical forest trees. South-East Asian lowland rainforests, which have been subject to severe degradation, are dominated by trees of the Dipterocarpaceae family which constitute over 40% of forest biomass. Dipterocarp dispersal is generally considered to be poor given their large, gyration-dispersed fruits. However, there is wide variability in fruit size and morphology which we hypothesize mechanistically underpins dispersal potential through the lift provided to seeds mediated by the wings. We explored experimentally how the ratio of fruit wing area to mass ("inverse wing loading," IWL) explains variation in seed dispersal kernels among 13 dipterocarp species by releasing fruit from a canopy tower. Horizontal seed dispersal distances increased with IWL, especially at high wind speeds. Seed dispersal of all species was predominantly local, with 90% of seed dispersing <10 m, although maximum dispersal distances varied widely among species. We present a generic seed dispersal model for dipterocarps based on attributes of seed morphology and provide modeled seed dispersal kernels for all dipterocarp species with IWLs of 1-50, representing 75% of species in Borneo.
The hypotheses that beta diversity should increase with decreasing latitude and increase with spatial extent of a region have rarely been tested based on a comparative analysis of multiple datasets, and no such study has focused on stream insects. We first assessed how well variability in beta diversity of stream insect metacommunities is predicted by insect group, latitude, spatial extent, altitudinal range, and dataset properties across multiple drainage basins throughout the world. Second, we assessed the relative roles of environmental and spatial factors in driving variation in assemblage composition within each drainage basin. Our analyses were based on a dataset of 95 stream insect metacommunities from 31 drainage basins distributed around the world. We used dissimilarity-based indices to quantify beta diversity for each metacommunity and, subsequently, regressed beta diversity on insect group, latitude, spatial extent, altitudinal range, and dataset properties (e.g., number of sites and percentage of presences). Within each metacommunity, we used a combination of spatial eigenfunction analyses and partial redundancy analysis to partition variation in assemblage structure into environmental, shared, spatial, and unexplained fractions. We found that dataset properties were more important predictors of beta diversity than ecological and geographical factors across multiple drainage basins. In the within-basin analyses, environmental and spatial variables were generally poor predictors of variation in assemblage composition. Our results revealed deviation from general biodiversity patterns because beta diversity did not show the expected decreasing trend with latitude. Our results also call for reconsideration of just how predictable stream assemblages are along ecological gradients, with implications for environmental assessment and conservation decisions. Our findings may also be applicable to other dynamic systems where predictability is low.
Endemic species on islands are highly susceptible to local extinction, in particular if they are exposed to invasive species. Invasive predators, such as feral cats, have been introduced to islands around the world, causing major losses in local biodiversity. In order to control and manage invasive species successfully, information about source populations and level of gene flow is essential. Here, we investigate the origin of feral cats of Hawaiian and Australian islands to verify their European ancestry and a potential pattern of isolation by distance. We analyzed the genetic structure and diversity of feral cats from eleven islands as well as samples from Malaysia and Europe using mitochondrial DNA (ND5 and ND6 regions) and microsatellite DNA data. Our results suggest an overall European origin of Hawaiian cats with no pattern of isolation by distance between Australian, Malaysian, and Hawaiian populations. Instead, we found low levels of genetic differentiation between samples from Tasman Island, Lana'i, Kaho'olawe, Cocos (Keeling) Island, and Asia. As these populations are separated by up to 10,000 kilometers, we assume an extensive passive dispersal event along global maritime trade routes in the beginning of the 19th century, connecting Australian, Asian, and Hawaiian islands. Thus, islands populations, which are characterized by low levels of current gene flow, represent valuable sources of information on historical, human-mediated global dispersal patterns of feral cats.
A large body of evidence indicates that evolutionary innovations of novel organs have facilitated the subsequent diversification of species. Investigation of the evolutionary history of such organs should provide important clues for understanding the basis for species diversification. An Asian natricine snake, Rhabdophis tigrinus, possesses a series of unusual organs, called nuchal glands, which contain cardiotonic steroid toxins known as bufadienolides. Rhabdophis tigrinus sequesters bufadienolides from its toad prey and stores them in the nuchal glands as a defensive mechanism. Among more than 3,500 species of snakes, only 17 Asian natricine species are known to possess nuchal glands or their homologues. These 17 species belong to three nominal genera, Balanophis, Macropisthodon, and Rhabdophis. In Macropisthodon and Rhabdophis, however, species without nuchal glands also exist. To infer the evolutionary history of the nuchal glands, we investigated the molecular phylogenetic relationships among Asian natricine species with and without nuchal glands, based on variations in partial sequences of Mt-CYB, Cmos, and RAG1 (total 2,767 bp). Results show that all species with nuchal glands belong to a single clade (NGC). Therefore, we infer that the common ancestor of this clade possessed nuchal glands with no independent origins of the glands within the members. Our results also imply that some species have secondarily lost the glands. Given the estimated divergence time of related species, the ancestor of the nuchal gland clade emerged 19.18 mya. Our study shows that nuchal glands are fruitful subjects for exploring the evolution of novel organs. In addition, our analysis indicates that reevaluation of the taxonomic status of the genera Balanophis and Macropisthodon is required. We propose to assign all species belonging to the NGC to the genus Rhabdophis, pending further study.
Monoculture farming is pervasive in industrial oil palm agriculture, including those RSPO plantations certified as sustainably managed. This farming practice does not promote the maintenance of farmland biodiversity. However, little scientific attention has been given to polyculture farming in oil palm production landscapes. Polyculture farming is likely to increase the floristic diversity and stand structural complexity that underpins biodiversity. Mist nets were used to sample birds at 120 smallholdings in Peninsular Malaysia. At each site, 12 vegetation structure characteristics were measured. We compared bird species richness, abundance, and composition between monoculture and polyculture smallholdings and used predictive models to examine the effects of habitat quality on avian biodiversity. Bird species richness was significantly greater in polyculture than that of monoculture smallholdings. The number of fallen and standing, dead oil palms were also important positive predictors of species richness. Bird abundance was also strongly increased by standing and dead oil palms and decreased with oil palm stand height. Our results indicate that polyculture farming can improve bird species richness in oil palm production landscapes. In addition, key habitat variables that are closely associated with farming practices, such as the removal of dead trees, should and can be managed by oil palm growers in order to promote biodiversity. To increase the sustainability of oil palm agriculture, it is imperative that stakeholders modify the way oil palms are currently planted and managed. Our findings can guide policy makers and certification bodies to promote oil palm production landscapes that will function more sustainably and increase existing biodiversity of oil palm landscapes.
Fruit bats provide valuable pollination services to humans through a unique coevolutionary relationship with chiropterophilous plants. However, chiropterophily in the Old World and the pollination roles of large bats, such as flying foxes (Pteropus spp., Acerodon spp., Desmalopex spp.), are still poorly understood and require further elucidation. Efforts to protect these bats have been hampered by a lack of basic quantitative information on their role as ecosystem service providers. Here, we investigate the role of the locally endangered island flying fox Pteropus hypomelanus in the pollination ecology of durian (Durio zibethinus), an economically important crop in Southeast Asia. On Tioman Island, Peninsular Malaysia, we deployed 19 stations of paired infrared camera and video traps across varying heights at four individual flowering trees in a durian orchard. We detected at least nine species of animal visitors, but only bats had mutualistic interactions with durian flowers. There was a clear vertical stratification in the feeding niches of flying foxes and nectar bats, with flying foxes feeding at greater heights in the trees. Flying foxes had a positive effect on mature fruit set and therefore serve as important pollinators for durian trees. As such, semi-wild durian trees-particularly tall ones-may be dependent on flying foxes for enhancing reproductive success. Our study is the first to quantify the role of flying foxes in durian pollination, demonstrating that these giant fruit bats may have far more important ecological, evolutionary, and economic roles than previously thought. This has important implications and can aid efforts to promote flying fox conservation, especially in Southeast Asian countries.
The tropical climate in China exists in southeastern Xizang (Tibet), southwestern to southeastern Yunnan, southwestern Guangxi, southern Guangdon, southern Taiwan, and Hainan, and these southern Chinese areas contain tropical floras. I checked and synonymized native seed plants from these tropical areas in China and recognized 12,844 species of seed plants included in 2,181 genera and 227 families. In the tropical flora of southern China, the families are mainly distributed in tropical areas and extend into temperate zones and contribute to the majority of the taxa present. The genera with tropical distributions also make up the most of the total flora. In terms of geographical elements, the genera with tropical Asian distribution constitute the highest proportion, which implies tropical Asian or Indo-Malaysia affinity. Floristic composition and geographical elements are conspicuous from region to region due to different geological history and ecological environments, although floristic similarities from these regions are more than 90% and 64% at the family and generic levels, respectively, but lower than 50% at specific level. These differences in the regional floras could be influenced by historical events associated with the uplift of the Himalayas, such as the southeastward extrusion of the Indochina geoblock, clockwise rotation and southeastward movement of Lanping-Simao geoblock, and southeastward movement of Hainan Island. The similarity coefficients between the flora of southern China and those of Indochina countries are more than 96% and 80% at family and generic levels, indicating their close floristic affinity and inclusion in the same biogeographically floristic unit.
In hyperdiverse tropical forests, the key drivers of litter decomposition are poorly understood despite its crucial role in facilitating nutrient availability for plants and microbes. Selective logging is a pressing land use with potential for considerable impacts on plant-soil interactions, litter decomposition, and nutrient cycling. Here, in Borneo's tropical rainforests, we test the hypothesis that decomposition is driven by litter quality and that there is a significant "home-field advantage," that is positive interaction between local litter quality and land use. We determined mass loss of leaf litter, collected from selectively logged and old-growth forest, in a fully factorial experimental design, using meshes that either allowed or precluded access by mesofauna. We measured leaf litter chemical composition before and after the experiment. Key soil chemical and biological properties and microclimatic conditions were measured as land-use descriptors. We found that despite substantial differences in litter quality, the main driver of decomposition was land-use type. Whilst inclusion of mesofauna accelerated decomposition, their effect was independent of land use and litter quality. Decomposition of all litters was slower in selectively logged forest than in old-growth forest. However, there was significantly greater loss of nutrients from litter, especially phosphorus, in selectively logged forest. The analyses of several covariates detected minor microclimatic differences between land-use types but no alterations in soil chemical properties or free-living microbial composition. These results demonstrate that selective logging can significantly reduce litter decomposition in tropical rainforest with no evidence of a home-field advantage. We show that loss of key limiting nutrients from litter (P & N) is greater in selectively logged forest. Overall, the findings hint at subtle differences in microclimate overriding litter quality that result in reduced decomposition rates in selectively logged forests and potentially affect biogeochemical nutrient cycling in the long term.
DNA barcoding involves the use of one or more short, standardized DNA fragments for the rapid identification of species. A 648-bp segment near the 5' terminus of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene has been adopted as the universal DNA barcode for members of the animal kingdom, but its utility in mushrooms is complicated by the frequent occurrence of large introns. As a consequence, ITS has been adopted as the standard DNA barcode marker for mushrooms despite several shortcomings. This study employed newly designed primers coupled with cDNA analysis to examine COI sequence diversity in six species of Pleurotus and compared these results with those for ITS. The ability of the COI gene to discriminate six species of Pleurotus, the commonly cultivated oyster mushroom, was examined by analysis of cDNA. The amplification success, sequence variation within and among species, and the ability to design effective primers was tested. We compared ITS sequences to their COI cDNA counterparts for all isolates. ITS discriminated between all six species, but some sequence results were uninterpretable, because of length variation among ITS copies. By comparison, a complete COI sequences were recovered from all but three individuals of Pleurotus giganteus where only the 5' region was obtained. The COI sequences permitted the resolution of all species when partial data was excluded for P. giganteus. Our results suggest that COI can be a useful barcode marker for mushrooms when cDNA analysis is adopted, permitting identifications in cases where ITS cannot be recovered or where it offers higher resolution when fresh tissue is. The suitability of this approach remains to be confirmed for other mushrooms.
Tropical forest degradation is a global environmental issue. In degraded forests, seedling recruitment of canopy trees is vital for forest regeneration and recovery. We investigated how selective logging, a pervasive driver of tropical forest degradation, impacts canopy tree seedling recruitment, focusing on an endemic dipterocarp Dryobalanops lanceolata in Sabah, Borneo. During a mast-fruiting event in intensively logged and nearby unlogged forest, we examined four stages of the seedling recruitment process: seed production, seed predation, and negative density-dependent germination and seedling survival. Our results suggest that each stage of the seedling recruitment process is altered in logged forest. The seed crop of D. lanceolata trees in logged forest was one-third smaller than that produced by trees in unlogged forest. The functional role of vertebrates in seed predation increased in logged forest while that of non-vertebrates declined. Seeds in logged forest were less likely to germinate than those in unlogged forest. Germination increased with local-scale conspecific seed density in unlogged forest, but seedling survival tended to decline. However, both germination and seedling survival increased with local-scale conspecific seed density in logged forest. Notably, seed crop size, germination, and seedling survival tended to increase for larger trees in both unlogged and logged forests, suggesting that sustainable timber extraction and silvicultural practices designed to minimize damage to the residual stand are important to prevent seedling recruitment failure. Overall, these impacts sustained by several aspects of seedling recruitment in a mast-fruiting year suggest that intensive selective logging may affect long-term population dynamics of D. lanceolata. It is necessary to establish if other dipterocarp species, many of which are threatened by the timber trade, are similarly affected in tropical forests degraded by intensive selective logging.