During our observations of changes in halophyte distribution in Hampyeong Bay over a period of five years, we found that the distribution area showed a maintenance for Phragmites communis community, a tendency of gradual increase for Zoysia sinica community, gradual decrease for Suaeda maritima community, and disappearance for Limonium tetragonum community during the studied period. The Phragmites communis community stably settled in areas adjacent to land and appeared not to be significantly affected by physical factors (such as tides and waves) or disturbances caused by biological factors (such as interspecific competition). Among studied species, germination time was shown to be the fastest for Suaeda maritima. In addition, this species showed certain characteristics that allowed it to settle primarily in new habitats formed by sand deposition as its growth was not halted under conditions with high amounts of sand and high organic matter content. However, in areas where Zoysia sinica and Suaeda maritima resided together, the area inhabited by Suaeda maritima gradually decreased due to interspecific competition between the two species. This was believed to be the result of a sharp decrease in the germination of Suaeda maritima since May, while the germination of Zoysia sinica was continuously maintained, indicating that the latter had an advantage in terms of seedling competition. In the case of the Limonium tetragonum community, its habitat was found to have been completely destroyed because it was covered by sand. The study area was confirmed to have undergone a large change in topography as tides and waves resulted in sand deposition onto these lands. Hampyeong Bay is considered to have experienced changes in halophyte distribution related to certain complex factors, such as changes in physical habitats and changes in biological factors such as interspecific competition.
Iris dichotoma Pall. found on Daechung Island in Korea has been designated as an endangered species. To aid in conservation efforts of this species, this study investigated its germination characteristics and seed dormancy type. Four sets of seeds were incubated at different temperatures (4/1°C, 15/6°C, 20/10°C, and 25/15°C). One set of seeds was cold stratified (4 weeks at 4/1°C). The final germination rate and mean germination time showed that the optimal germination temperature was 25/15°C. Final germination rates were ~70%, showing no significant difference among temperature treatments. However, mean germination time were significantly different among all temperature treatments except for 4/1°C. Mean germination time for seeds with temperature treatments of 15/6°C, 20/10°C, and 25/15°C were 3.2, 2.1, and 1.5 weeks, respectively. At 25/15°C, the mean germination time was half of that at 15/6°C. Seeds of I. dichotoma had fully developed embryos at the time of dispersal. No additional growth of the embryo was observed. Cold stratification did not affect the final germination rate or the mean germination time. This study shows that seeds of I. dichotoma have no physiological or morphological dormancy, unlike other members of the Iris genus known to have seed dormancy that needs a relatively high incubation temperature (≥25/15°C) for mass propagation to occur. These results will be useful for understanding ecophysiological mechanisms related to the species’ habitat. They are also useful for mass propagation of I. dichotoma for the purpose of conserving this endangered species.
This study investigated the impact of baseflow on fish community in the Ungcheon stream (16.5 km long) located downstream of the Boryeong Dam, Korea. Based on field monitoring, there were five dominant fish species in the Ungcheon Stream accounting for 75% of the total fish community: Zacco platypus, Zacco koreanus, Tridentiger brevispinis, Rhinogobius brunneus, and Pungtungia herzi. These five fish species were selected as target species. HydroGeoSphere (HGS) and River2D models were used for hydrologic and hydraulic simulations, respectively. A habitat suitability index model was used to simulate fish habitat. To assess the impact of baseflow, each representative discharge was examined with or without baseflow. The HGS model was used to calculate baseflow within the study reach. This baseflow was observed to increase gradually with longitudinal distance. Validation of the hydraulic model demonstrated that computed water surface elevated when baseflow was included, which was in good agreement with measured data, as opposed to the result when baseflow was excluded. Composite suitability index distributions and weighted usable area in the study reach were presented for target species. Simulations indicated that the baseflow significantly increased habitat suitability for the entire fish community. These results demonstrate that there should be a substantial focus on the baseflow for physical habitat simulation.
To understand restoration and conservation projects conducted in Korea for endangered freshwater fishes and amphibians/reptiles, information about Request for Protocols-related studies on restoration, breeding, and release were collected. Trends of studies were visualized via word clouds and VOSviewer program using a text mining technique. Analysis of restoration projects for endangered freshwater fishes elucidated that most research studies conducted to date were focused on genetics and release through captive breeding that could be classified into captive breeding and habitat environments. As for research projects related to amphibians/reptiles, monitoring projects had the highest number, followed by genetic, translocation, and monitoring studies. In addition, restoration projects for amphibians/reptiles included a large number of post-capture translocation projects. Thus, many projects were confirmed by public institutions rather than by the Ministry of Environment. Network analysis revealed that it was largely classified into capture, translocation, and Kaloula borealis. Based on these results, limitations, achievements, and challenges associated with projects conducted thus far are highlighted. Research directions for future restoration and conservation of endangered freshwater fishes and amphibians/reptiles in South Korea are also suggested.
We conducted a study to investigate the characteristics of the carbon cycle of two streams (located in Shiga Prefecture, Japan), having similar size, namely, the Adokawa stream (length: 52 km, area: 305 km2, watershed population: 8,000) and the Yasukawa stream (length: 62 km, area: 380 km2, watershed population: 120,000), but with different degree of human activity. Samples were collected from these two streams at 14 (Adokawa stream) and 23 (Yasukawa stream) stations in the flowing direction. The dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentration and the stable carbon isotope ratio of DIC (δ13C-DIC) were measured in addition to the watershed features and the chemical variables of the stream water. The δ13C-DIC (-9.50 ± 2.54‰), DIC concentration (249 ± 76 μM), and electric conductivity (52 ±13 μS/cm) in Adokawa stream showed small variations from upstream to downstream. However, the δ13C-DIC (-8.68 ± 2.3‰) upstream of Yasukawa stream was similar to that of Adokawa stream and decreased downstream (-12.13 ± 0.43‰). DIC concentration (upstream: 272 ± 89 μM, downstream: 690 ± 37 μM) and electric conductivity (upstream: 69 ± 17 μS/cm, downstream: 193 ± 37 μS/cm) were higher downstream than upstream of Yasukawa stream. The DIC concentration of Yasukawa stream was significantly correlated with watershed environmental variables, such as, watershed population density (r = 0.8581, p<0.0001, n = 23), and forest area percentage of the watershed (r = -0.9188, p<0.0001, n = 23). δ13C-DIC showed significant negative correlation with the DIC concentration (r = -0.7734, p<0.0001, n = 23), electric conductivity (r = -0.5396, p = 0.0079, n = 23), and watershed population density (r = -0.6836, p = 0.0003, n = 23). Our approach using a stable carbon isotope ratio suggests that DIC concentration and δ13C-DIC could be used as indicators for monitoring the health of stream ecosystems with different watershed characteristics.
Road structures play an important role in collisions involving vehicles and wildlife. Our study aimed to determine the effect of various types of road structures on the risk associated with roadkill. We surveyed 50 previously identified roadkill hotspots, ranked from one to five according to roadkill density. We collected nine types of road structure data on each hotspot road section. Structures with similar characteristics were grouped together, resulting in five categories, namely, median barrier, high edge barrier, low edge barrier, speed, and visibility. We examined the existence of each road structure category at each hotspot rank. The cumulative link model showed that the absence of bottom blocked median barrier increased the roadkill hotspot rank. Our study concluded that a visual obstacle in the middle of roads by the median barrier decreases wildlife road crossing attempts and roadkill risk. We suggest that future roadkill mitigation plans should be established considering these characteristics.
The dung beetle, Gymnopleurus mopsus (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), is one of endangered species in South Korea. It was last recorded in 1971. To restore this species, we introduced G. mopsus populations from eastern and southern regions of Mongolia in July 2019 and August 2019, respectively. One of the main tasks for the restoration of endangered insects is to develop breeding techniques to eventually incorporate these insects into the restoration system. In a series of laboratory experiments, we investigated effects of short-term hibernation periods on life-history traits of G. mopsus. Adult G. mopsus that had hibernated for 30, 60, and 90 days had lower survival rates than adults that had hibernated for 120 days. We also compared developmental time of these four experimental groups and found a significant difference in the egg - phase. However, the duration of hibernation did not affect the fecundity, brood-ball size, or body size of F1 adults. Follow-up studies are currently being conducted to further investigate the effect of a short-term hibernation period on population growth of G. mopsus under laboratory conditions.
We investigated habitat use and home range of a rescued and released white-naped crane using GPS tracking technology in Cheorwon, South Korea, from October 2016 to March 2017. Four types of roosting sites were identified: frozen reservoirs, paddy fields, rivers, and wetlands. Upon arrival, the white-naped crane preferred wetlands in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). In late wintering season, it showed a tendency to change main roosting sites in the following order: rice paddies, rivers, and frozen reservoirs. Among 14 sleeping places, Civilian Control Zone (CCZ) with various type of available habitats was more preferred than the DMZ. Places outside of CCZ were rarely used due to anthropogenic disturbances during the night. The tracked white-naped crane widely chose daytime feeding sites while moving around all over rice paddies in the CCZ. Mean diurnal movement distance was 10.5 km with a maximum of 24.8 km. Its home range measured with Minimum Convex Polygon (MCP) and Kernel Density Estimation (KDE) was 172.30 km2 with MCP, 159.60 km2 with KDE 95%, 132.48 km2 with KDE 90%, and 42.45 km2 with KDE 50%. All estimated values of home ranges were higher in the early and later winter than those in the middle period.
The oriental stork (Ciconia boyciana) is listed as an endangered species internationally. Its resident population has been extirpated in South Korea since 1971. Its predicted historical habitat included forests (54%), rice paddy fields (28%), grasslands (17%), river-streams (less than 1%), and villages (less than 1%) based on pre-extirpation records in a previous study. However, habitat attributes of recently reintroduced oriental storks since 2015 remain unknown. To examine habitat use patterns and home ranges of recently reintroduced oriental storks, 2015-2017 tracking data of 17 individuals were used to analyze their spatial attributes with a Kernel Density Estimate method and breeding status. Their habitat use patterns from peripheral to core areas were highly associated with increasing rice paddy fields (26%) and decreasing forested areas (55%). Scale-dependent home ranges were 51% smaller for breeders than for non-breeders on average. Our study results highlight that the habitat use pattern of reintroduced oriental storks seems to be comparable to the historical pattern where the used area is likely to be more centralized for breeders than for non-breeders in South Korea. Furthermore, the direction of habitat management for oriental storks should focus on biodiversity improvement of rice paddy fields with chemical free cultivation and irrigation.
This study aimed to determine the applicability of drones and air quality sensors in environmental monitoring of air pollutant emissions by developing and testing two new methods. The first method used orthoimagery for precise monitoring of pollutant-emitting facilities. The second method used atmospheric sensors for monitoring air pollutants in emissions. Results showed that ground sample distance could be established within 5 cm during the creation of orthoimagery for monitoring emissions, which allowed for detailed examination of facilities with naked eyes. For air quality monitoring, drones were flown on a fixed course and measured the air quality in point units, thus enabling mapping of air quality through spatial analysis. Sensors that could measure various substances were used during this process. Data on particulate matter were compared with data from the National Air Pollution Measurement Network to determine its future potential to leverage. However, technical development and applications for environmental monitoring of pollution-emitting facilities are still in their early stages. They could be limited by meteorological conditions and sensitivity of the sensor technology. This research is expected to provide guidelines for environmental monitoring of pollutant-emitting facilities using drones.