ISSN : 2287-8327
Recent ocean warming near the Korean peninsula and our lack of knowledge of an important vertebrate group, the sea snakes, encouraged us to clarify this part of Korea’s regional fauna. We re-examined photographs that had been used to report the slender-necked sea snake (Hydrophis melanocephalus) in 1995. We discovered it was misidentified. To determine the correct identity of the sea snake, we studied 13 original photographs taken at the collecting site in Sooyoung Bay, Busan-si, in 1995 and determined the snake to be Laticauda semifasciata based on enlarged ventral scales, definitive for Laticaudinae sea snakes, and internasal scales, pale blue body color, divided rostral scale, and evident “V”-shaped stripes on the body trunk, definitive for L. semifasciata. Therefore, the snake caught 30 years ago in Korean waters should be considered the first record of a Laticaudinae sea snake in Korean waters. L. semifasciata is listed as near threatened setting the stage for urgently needed studies of sea snakes in Korea and supporting those currently underway.
Background: As the decomposition of lignocellulosic compounds is a rate-limiting stage in the nutrient mineralization from organic matters, elucidation of the changes in soil enzyme activity can provide insight into the nutrient dynamics and ecosystem functioning. The current study aimed to assess the effect of thinning intensities on soil conditions. Un-thinned control, 20 % thinning, and 30 % thinning treatments were applied to a Larix kaempferi forest, and total carbon and nitrogen, total carbon to total nitrogen ratio, extractable nutrients (inorganic nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium), and enzyme activities (acid phosphatase, β-glucosidase, β-xylosidase, β-glucosaminidase) were investigated. Results: Total carbon and nitrogen concentrations were significantly increased in the 30 % thinning treatment, whereas both the 20 and 30 % thinning treatments did not change total carbon to total nitrogen ratio. Inorganic nitrogen and extractable calcium and magnesium concentrations were significantly increased in the 20 % thinning treatment; however, no significant changes were found for extractable phosphorus and potassium concentrations either in the 20 or the 30 % thinning treatment. However, the applied thinning intensities had no significant influences on acid phosphatase, β-glucosidase, β-xylosidase, and β-glucosaminidase activities. Conclusions: These results indicated that thinning can elevate soil organic matter quantity and nutrient availability, and different thinning intensities may affect extractable soil nutrients inconsistently. The results also demonstrated that such inconsistent patterns in extractable nutrient concentrations after thinning might not be fully explained by the shifts in the enzyme-mediated nutrient mineralization.
Background: Direct impact of inorganic carbon (i.e., carbon dioxide (CO2)) on the periphyton community is important to understand how and to what extent atmospheric conditions can affect the structure and dynamics of these communities in lotic systems. We investigated the influence of elevated CO2 concentration on the periphyton community in the artificially constructed channels during the winter period. The channels made of acrylic paneling were continuously supplied with surface water discharged from a small reservoir, which was supported with ground water, at a flow rate of 5 L/min, and water temperature ranging 4–5℃. The effects of elevated CO2 concentrations (790 ppm) were evaluated in comparison with the control (395 ppm CO2) by analyzing pH, water carbon content and nutrients in water, periphyton composition and biomass, chlorophyll-a, ash-free dry-matter at 2-day intervals for 10 days. Results: After the addition of CO2, significant decreases of pH, NH3-N, and PO4-P (p < 0.05) and increases of chlorophyll-a, ash-free dry-matter, and the cell density of periphyton (p < 0.01) were observed, whereas the species composition of periphyton and water carbon content did not change. Conclusions: These results suggest that elevated CO2 in flowing water system with low temperature could facilitate the growth of periphyton resulting in biomass increase, which could further influence water quality and the consumers throughout the food web.
Background: The structures and soil factors of Suaeda glauca-Suaeda japonica zonal communities and Phragmites australis-S. japonica zonal communities were studied in salt marshes of west and south coasts of South Korea to provide basic data for coastal wetland conservation and restoration. Results: S. glauca community mean length was 67 m and S. japonica community mean length was 567 m in zonal communities, and P. australis and S. japonica community mean length were 57 m and 191 m in zonal communities. Regarding the electrical conductivity, sodium content, and clay contents in Upnae-ri, Shinan-gun, there were significant differences among zonal communities at significance level of 0.05 for two-sided t test. However, other factors were not significantly different. Conclusions: The results indicate that multiple factors such as electronic conductivity, total nitrogen level, clay, and sodium might play important roles in the formation of zonal plant communities of salt marshes.
Background: Previous numerous studies on watershed scale demonstrated that the constructions of upper dams may influence the below dams due to modifications of flow regime and nutrient inputs. Little is known about how the dam constructions influence the downstream lakes or reservoirs in the regional scale. This study demonstrates how the construction of upper dam (i.e., Yongdam Dam) influences nutrient regime, trophic relations, and empirical models in Daechung Reservoir (DR). Yongdam Dam was constructed at the upstream region of DR in year 2000. Results: The analysis of hydrological variables showed that inflow and discharge in the DR were largely reduced after the year 2000. The construction of upper dam construction also resulted in increases of water temperature, pH and conductivity (as an indicator of ionic content) in the DR. Empirical models of TP-CHL and N:P ratio-CHL suggested that stronger responses of CHL to the phosphorus were evident after the upper dam construction, indicating that algal production at a unit phosphorus increased after the upper dam construction. Mann-Kendall tests on the relations of N:P ratios to TN showed weak or no relations (tau = −0.143, z = −0.371, p = 0.7105) before the dam construction, while the relation of N:P ratios to TP showed strong in the periods of before- (tau = −0714, z = −2.351, p = 0.0187) and after the construction (tau = −0.868, z = −4.270, p = 0.0000). This outcome indicates that TP is key determinant on N:P ratios in the reservoir. Scatter Plots on Trophic State Index Deviations (TSIDs) of “TSI(SD) - TSI(CHL)” against “TSI(TP) - TSI(CHL)” showed that the dominance of clay turbidity or light limitation was evident before the upper dam construction [TSI(TP) - TSI(CHL) > 0 and TSI(SD) - TSI(CHL) > 0] and phosphorus limitation became stronger after the dam construction [(TSI(TP) - TSI(CHL) < 0 and TSI(SD) - TSI(CHL) > 0]. Conclusions: Overall, our analysis suggests that the upper dam construction modified the response of trophic components (phytoplankton) to the nutrients or nutrient ratios through the alteration of flow regime, resulting in modifications of ecological functions and trophic relations in the low trophic levels.
Background: Little is known about how chemical water quality is associated with ecological stream health in relation to landuse patterns in a watershed. We evaluated spatial characteristics of water quality characteristics and the ecological health of Dongjin-River basin, Korea in relation to regional landuse pattern. The ecological health was assessed by the multi-metric model of Index of Biological Integrity (IBI), and the water chemistry data were compared with values obtained from the health model. Results: Nutrient and organic matter pollution in Dongjin-River basin, Korea was influenced by land use pattern and the major point sources, so nutrients of TN and TP increased abruptly in Site 4 (Jeongeup Stream), which is directly influenced by wastewater treatment plants along with values of electric conductivity (EC), bacterial number, and sestonic chlorophyll-a. Similar results are shown in the downstream (S7) of Dongjin River. The degradation of chemical water quality in the downstream resulted in greater impairment of the ecological health, and these were also closely associated with the landuse pattern. Forest region had low nutrients (N, P), organic matter, and ionic content (as the EC), whereas urban and agricultural regions had opposite in the parameters. Linear regression analysis of the landuse (arable land; AL) on chemicals indicated that values of AL had positive linear relations with TP (R2 = 0.643, p < 0.01), TN (R2 = 0.502, p < 0.05), BOD (R2 = 0.739, p < 0.01), and suspended solids (SS; (R2 = 0.866, p < 0.01), and a negative relation with TDN:TDP ratios (R2 = 0.719, p < 0.01). Conclusions: Chemical factors were closely associated with land use pattern in the watershed, and these factors influenced the ecological health, based on the multimetric fish IBI model. Overall, the impairments of water chemistry
Background: Macrophytes are commonly utilised as habitat by epiphytic species; thus, complex macrophyte structures can support high diversities and abundances of epiphytic species. We tested the hypothesis that the presence of aquatic macrophytes is an important factor determining Sida crystallina (O.F. Müller, 1776) distribution. Results: An ecological survey was conducted in 147 lentic freshwater bodies. S. crystallina was frequently observed, and its density was strongly associated with macrophyte abundance. S. crystallina was found on emergent plant species such as Phragmites australis and Paspalum distichum, attached to the stem surfaces by adhesive substances secreted by the nuchal organ. Thus, S. crystallina was more strongly attached to macrophytes than to other epiphytic cladoceran species. We found higher densities of S. crystallina in filtered water with increased macrophyte shaking effort (i.e. 10, 20, 40, or 80 times). S. crystallina attachment was not related to fish predation. Stable isotope analysis showed that S. crystallina utilises epiphytic organic matter (EOM) on macrophytes as a food source. Conclusions: Consequently, S. crystallina seems to have a strong association with species-specific macrophyte biomass than with other cladoceran species, which may contribute to this species’ predominance in various freshwater ecosystems where macrophytes are abundant.
Background: In this article, it was analyzed how snow melting affects the assembly of lichen and moss communities in a small area of the coastal region of Barton Peninsula, which is in maritime Antarctic. In the small area, even though there is a huge gap of difference of the environment between the snow-filled area and snow-melt one, the latter did not have distinctive environmental gradients. Results: Depending on the snow melting time, coverage and species diversity of lichens and mosses tend to increase remarkably. For species with significant changes depending on the snow-covered period, there are Andreaea regularis, crustose lichens, Placopsis contortuplicata, Usnea aurantiaco-atra, and snow algae. In this area, the process of vegetation assembly process has shown the directional development in the order of snow algae→crustose, lichen sub-formation→fruticose lichen, moss cushion sub-formation (Andreaea sociation)→fruticose lichen, and moss cushion sub-formation (Usnea sociation), according to the order of snow melting. These directional development stages are shown in gradual change in small area with the snow melting phenomena. However, in the snow-free area, where water is sufficiently supplied, it is expected that moss carpet sub-formation (Sanionia sociation) will be developed. Vegetation development in the small area with the snow melting phenomena, depending on differences of resistance on snow kill and moisture settled by species in according to the time of snow melting, tolerance model to form community is followed. Conclusions: The research results explain the development of vegetation in the Antarctic tundra and its spatial distribution according to the period for growth of lichens and mosses in the summer time by differences of snow melting in the small area. In the future, if research for the community development process in a large scale will be done, it will be helpful to figure out temporal and spatial dynamic of vegetation in the Antarctic tundra where snow and glaciers melt rapidly due to climatic warming.
Background: When developing water quality improvement strategies for eutrophic lakes, questions may arise about the relative importance of point sources and nonpoint sources of phosphorus. For example, there is some skepticism regarding the effectiveness of partial reductions in phosphorus loading; because phosphorus concentrations are too high in hypertrophic lakes, in-lake phosphorus concentrations might still remain within typical range for eutrophic lakes even after the reduction of phosphorus loading. For this study, water quality and the phytoplankton and zooplankton communities were monitored in a hypertrophic reservoir (Lake Wangsong) before and after the reduction of phosphorus loading from a point source (a sewage treatment plant) by the installation of a chemical phosphorus-removal process. Results: Before phosphorus removal, Lake Wangsong was classified as hypertrophic with a median phosphorus concentration of 0.232 mg L−1 and a median chlorophyll-a concentration of 112 mg L−1. The dominant phytoplankton were filamentous cyanobacteria for the most of the ice-free season. Following the installation of the advanced treatment process, phosphorus concentrations were reduced to 81 mg L−1, and the N/P atomic ratio increased from 42 to 102. Chlorophyll-a concentrations decreased to 42 μg L−1, and the duration of cyanobacterial dominance was confined to the summer season. Cyanobacteria in spring and autumn were replaced by diatoms and cryptomonads. Filamentous cyanobacteria in summer were replaced by colony-forming unicellular Microcystis spp. It was remarkable that zooplankton biomass increased despite the decrease in phytoplankton biomass, and especially cladoceran zooplankton which increased drastically. These responses to the reduction of point source P loading to Lake Wangsong imply that reducing the point source P loading can have a big impact even when nonpoint sources account for a large fraction of the total annual phosphorus loading. Conclusions: Our results also show that the phytoplankton community can shift to decreased cyanobacterial dominance and the zooplankton community can shift to higher cladoceran dominance, even when phosphorus concentrations remain within the typical range for eutrophic lakes following the reduction of phosphorus loading.
Background: In order to evaluate the effect of pH, known as a critical factor for shaping the biogeographical microbial patterns in the studies by others, on the bacterial diversity, we selected two sites in a similar geographical location (site 1; north latitude 35.3, longitude 127.8, site 2; north latitude 35.2, longitude 129.2) and compared their soil bacterial diversity between them. The mountain soil at site 1 (Jiri National Park) represented naturally acidic but almost pollution free (pH 5.2) and that at site 2 was neutral but exposed to the pollutants due to the suburban location of a big city (pH 7.7). Methods: Metagenomic DNAs from soil bacteria were extracted and amplified by PCR with 27F/518R primers and pyrosequenced using Roche 454 GS FLX Titanium. Results: Bacterial phyla retrieved from the soil at site 1 were more diverse than those at site 2, and their bacterial compositions were quite different: Almost half of the phyla at site 1 were Proteobacteria (49 %), and the remaining phyla were attributed to 10 other phyla. By contrast, in the soil at site 2, four main phyla (Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria, and Cyanobacteria) composed 94 %; the remainder was attributed to two other phyla. Furthermore, when bacterial composition was examined on the order level, only two Burkholderiales and Rhizobiales were found at both sites. So depending on pH, the bacterial community in soil at site 1 differed from that at site 2, and although the acidic soil of site 1 represented a non-optimal pH for bacterial growth, the bacterial diversity, evenness, and richness at this site were higher than those found in the neutral pH soil at site 2. Conclusions: These results and the indices regarding diversity, richness, and evenness examined in this study indicate that pH alone might not play a main role for bacterial diversity in soil.