Annual Report of Pro Natura Foundation Japan
Online ISSN : 2189-7727
Print ISSN : 2432-0943
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Displaying 1-24 of 24 articles from this issue
Introduction
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32nd Pro Natura Fund Domestic Research
  • Haruna KAWAKITA, Shota SAKAGUCHI, Kazutoshi MASUDA, Yoshiteru KOMAKI, ...
    Article type: 32nd Pro Natura Fund Domestic Research
    2024 Volume 33 Pages 1-9
    Published: May 30, 2024
    Released on J-STAGE: May 30, 2024
    RESEARCH REPORT / TECHNICAL REPORT FREE ACCESS

    Pittosporum parvifolium is a tree species endemic to Chichijima Island of the Ogasawara Islands, and is an endangered species with only four existing wild individuals. In Koishikawa Botanical Garden and Chichijima Island, ex-situ conservation stocks have been raised, but the important information for conservation such as genetic diversity and paternal contribution of the next generation is unknown. The purpose of this study was to carry out genetic analysis on the conserved stock of P. parvifolium and to obtain information contributing to the conserved genetics. To begin with, parentage analysis was carried out using SSR markers on ex-situ conservation stocks grown in Koishikawa Botanical Garden. As the result, it was clarified that the conservation stocks had the allele which the existing wild individuals did not have in their habitat. And, when our group carried out the similar analysis on the seedling which was raised from the seed of the wild individuals, it was proven that all of them in this year were the individual which arose by selfing. These results indicate that some of the ex-situ conservation stocks have inherited genetic variation from individuals that have already died in the field or have not yet been discovered, and that they can contribute especially to the maintenance of genetic diversity within species. The sex expression of this species was unknown, but it was found to have selfing ability. In the future, in order to raise the next generation avoiding the effect of inbreeding, it is desirable to produce seedlings derived from other breeding by artificial crossing regardless of ex-/in-situ individuals.

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  • Gen OSHIMA, Reisuke SHIMOMURA, Hiroo TAMATANI, Jumpei TANAKA, Jyunta I ...
    Article type: 32nd Pro Natura Fund Domestic Research
    2024 Volume 33 Pages 10-19
    Published: May 30, 2024
    Released on J-STAGE: May 30, 2024
    RESEARCH REPORT / TECHNICAL REPORT FREE ACCESS

    Across the country, Asian black bears (Ursus thibetanus) are being mistakenly captured in traps set to capture deer (Cervus nippon) and wild boars (Sus scrofa). However, the current situation of mistaken capture of bears in mountainous areas is not clear, so we researched data on 696 individuals obtained from 2016 to 2022 as a bear control officer in the Toshin district of Nagano Prefecture. It was estimated that the conditions which bears are more likely to be captured by mistake are related to the time of year, temperature, altitude, and vegetation. Additionally, testing of the effectiveness of the improved snare trap revealed that bears were able to release the improved snare trap and escape without reducing the number of deer caught (the same number as in previous years).

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  • Takahide KUROSAWA, Takashi YAMANOUCHI, Tsutomu OKADA
    Article type: 32nd Pro Natura Fund Domestic Research
    2024 Volume 33 Pages 20-27
    Published: May 30, 2024
    Released on J-STAGE: May 30, 2024
    RESEARCH REPORT / TECHNICAL REPORT FREE ACCESS

    Mr. Nobuo Sakurai's handwritten note, "Plant Observation and Collection Diary", which records mainly about the wildlife, vegetation, landscape and conditions of village and Satoyama in the Soso area of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, from April 1, 1990 to March 2, 2011, just before the Great East Japan Earthquake, and approximately 2,000 photographic paper photographs, were digitized and compiled into a database. After reconsidering the identification using specimens in Herbarium, University Archives and Collections, Fukushima University (FKSE) collected by Mr. Sakurai, this information was published with the correct botanical name. These data included information on plants that are nationally rare and important for conservation, such as Scabiosa japonica var. lasiophylla and the early stages of the invasion of Cakile edentula and Lilium x formolongo were recorded in detail. Through this research, the multifaceted aspects including folklore, culture and the course of coastal development of coastal area and the difficult-to-return zone of the Fukushima nuclear disaster before the earthquake were recorded.

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  • Gen ITO, Jyun-ichi KITAMURA, Hiroki YAMANAKA
    Article type: 32nd Pro Natura Fund Domestic Research
    2024 Volume 33 Pages 28-41
    Published: May 30, 2024
    Released on J-STAGE: May 30, 2024
    RESEARCH REPORT / TECHNICAL REPORT FREE ACCESS

    We attempted to develop a species-specific environmental DNA (eDNA) detection system for the purpose of detecting native and non-native lineages of Acheilognathus tabira tabira. However, with the developed detection system, it was difficult to create species-specific primers for A. t. tabira because the amplification of Acheilognathus rhombeus, which is likely to live sympatrically, could not be eliminated. Therefore, we attempted to detect A. t. tabira by eDNA analysis using metabarcoding method using MiFish primers in Mie Prefecture's Inabe, Kumozu, Harai, Ohori, and Isuzu river systems, which have confirmed records of A. t. tabira to date. However, A. t. tabira was not detected, suggesting that the population density in each water system may be quite low. On the other hand, we found locations where A. rhombeus, Rhodeus ocellatus, Tanakia lanceolata, and Tanakia limbata, which are fishes of the subfamily Acheilognatinae that use the same spawning mother shell as A. t. tabira, were confirmed in the same place. These locations were considered to be areas where there is a high possibility that A. t. tabira inhabits. In the future, by conducting further surveys at each location narrowed down using the metabarcoding method, it is possible that we will be able to discover A. t. tabira.

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  • Kyoko SUGAI, Chinatsu TABUCHI, Kentaro YAMASAKI, SETSUKO Suzuki, Kayo ...
    Article type: 32nd Pro Natura Fund Domestic Research
    2024 Volume 33 Pages 42-50
    Published: May 30, 2024
    Released on J-STAGE: May 30, 2024
    RESEARCH REPORT / TECHNICAL REPORT FREE ACCESS

    Parnara ogasawarensis, a butterfly endemic to the Ogasawara Islands, is on the brink of extinction due to the predation pressure of green anoles and the proliferation of invasive alien plants. To ensure the stable survival and maintenance of this species in the wild, which is multivoltine, it is necessary to secure nectar plants throughout the year, which are the food source for adults. We investigated genotypes of three native nectar plants, Lysimachia mauritiana var. rubida, Leptopetalum grayi, and Le. mexicanum, using microsatellite markers to clarify their genetic variation and structure. Based on the results, we suggested for transplantation guidelines of these species. In these species, we found that significant genetic differentiation between island groups and isolation by distance within each species. Therefore, it was considered necessary to refrain from transplanting between island groups. Lysimachia mauritiana var. rubida exhibits genetic variations among neighboring populations, suggesting that seedlings should be sourced from the nearest population even within the islands. Leptopetalum grayi and Le. mexicanum show genetic structure within each island. Transplantation zones that consider this genetic structure would be appropriate.

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  • Satoshi NANAMI, Jumpei TOKUOKA, Shuhei MATSUYAMA, Akira ITOH
    Article type: 32nd Pro Natura Fund Domestic Research
    2024 Volume 33 Pages 51-58
    Published: May 30, 2024
    Released on J-STAGE: May 30, 2024
    RESEARCH REPORT / TECHNICAL REPORT FREE ACCESS

    Researches on Taraxacum officinale, an invasive plant in Japan, have been conducted in urban areas and their suburbs where human activities are high. However, it has been recently reported that T. officinale has invaded alpine areas in Japan, where the influence of humans was minimal. In this study, we investigated the invasion of T. officinale and hybrids between the alien and the Japanese native one in three alpine regions: Mt. Ibuki (1,377 m), Mt. Hakusan (2,702 m) and the Ushirotateyama Mountain Range (2,932 m). In the three alpine regions, the alien and hybrid dandelions were found growing in places under anthropogenic disturbance, such as parking lots and gondola stops. Approximately half of the individuals judged to the alien dandelions based on their morphology were hybrid dandelions, and the proportion of hybrids tended to rise with increasing the altitude. In Mt. Ibuki and Mt. Hakusan, the clonal diversity of the invasive dandelions was low, and a limited number of clones tended to increase the population. On the other hand, the diversity of clones in the Ushirotateyama Mountain Range was high, suggesting that clones of invasive dandelions with various genotypes have established.

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  • Noriyuki YAMAGUCHI, Hironobu TAJIRI, Yoko TESHIMA, Toru NAKAHARA, Prae ...
    Article type: 32nd Pro Natura Fund Domestic Research
    2024 Volume 33 Pages 59-67
    Published: May 30, 2024
    Released on J-STAGE: May 30, 2024
    RESEARCH REPORT / TECHNICAL REPORT FREE ACCESS

    The Japanese murrelet, Synthliboramphus wumizusume, is regarded as one of the most rare species among the murrelet species. In recent years, the predation by rodents and Large-billed Crows on breeding colonies has been a serious concern. In the present research, the installation of nest boxes was undertaken on Eboshijima Island, Fukuoka Prefecture, with the objective of establishing the effective protective measures for the Japanese Murrelet breeding population. A total of 29 nest boxes were installed in 2022, and 30 in 2023. In 2022, indications of use were observed in 3 boxes, with one box to have successfully fledged. In 2023, usage signs were detected in 12 nest boxes, resulting in the successful fledging in 4 instances. Cameras set to the nesting boxes captured both images and video documentation of a variety of reproductive behaviors. During the 2022 breeding season, Large-billed Crows predated upon a minimum of 29 adult murrelets and 50 eggs. Over the course of the two-year period, the implementation of nest boxes contributed to increase the estimated number of breeding nests by 17-25 %, although a serious decline in population attributable to predation by crows. Continued installation of nest boxes will be necessary for the recovery of the population of Eboshijima Island.

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  • T. Ayaka MATSUDA, Mika KURODA, Takashi F. MATSUISHI
    Article type: 32nd Pro Natura Fund Domestic Research
    2024 Volume 33 Pages 68-75
    Published: May 30, 2024
    Released on J-STAGE: May 30, 2024
    RESEARCH REPORT / TECHNICAL REPORT FREE ACCESS

    We conducted a research investigation with the aim of obtaining fundamental insights into the mechanism of plastic ingestion by cetaceans around Hokkaido. The study involved examining the stomach contents of cetaceans that had stranded in Hokkaido, specifically focusing on the occurrence and composition of plastic debris. Additionally, we sought to identify the prey species consumed by the cetaceans and analyze the correlation between the types of prey, feeding habits, and the prevalence of plastic debris. The ultimate goal was to unravel the mechanisms behind the incorporation of plastic debris by cetaceans and to gather basic information that could contribute to strategies for mitigating the impact. Among the cetaceans stranded in Hokkaido from 2012 to September 2023, significant plastic ingestion was observed in the family Ziphiidae. Examination of the stomach contents of Ziphiidae species, revealed a primary diet consisting of mesopelagic cephalopods, including Gonatidae species. This dietary preference suggests a potential relationship between their feeding habits and the ease of plastic ingestion in the marine environment.

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32nd Pro Natura Fund Specified Program
  • Makoto KOBAYASHI, Haruka KOBAYASHI, Gaku KUDO
    Article type: 32nd Pro Natura Fund Specified Program
    2024 Volume 33 Pages 76-80
    Published: May 30, 2024
    Released on J-STAGE: May 30, 2024
    RESEARCH REPORT / TECHNICAL REPORT FREE ACCESS

    Identifying which functional traits distinguish species’ response to climate change is fundamental and essential for estimating future ecosystem composition and function. To understand the underlying mechanism for differential species' response to climate change, it is necessary to examine various traits simultaneously and comprehensively including organ- and whole-plant-level traits of both above- and below-ground within the same study. We compared the difference of twenty-six functional traits among species with decreased abundance and increased abundance over a forty-year period in alpine snow-bedmeadow of Taisetsuzan mountains, Japan. We found the increased species possessed larger rhizomes, longer and thinner fine roots. Our study suggests that understanding of belowground whole-plant-level traits (especially rhizome) may contribute to more efficient predictions of species’ responses to climate change.

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2021 Urgent Grant Programme
33rd Pro Natura Fund Domestic Research
  • Akira SAWADA, Masaoki TAKAGI, Ryuta SASAKI, Naoki KANASUGI, Junpei HOS ...
    Article type: 33rd Pro Natura Fund Domestic Research
    2024 Volume 33 Pages 85-96
    Published: May 30, 2024
    Released on J-STAGE: May 30, 2024
    RESEARCH REPORT / TECHNICAL REPORT FREE ACCESS

    Local populations of many bird species, such as those on remote islands and alpine regions, are endangered. Accurate descriptions of reproductive performance are essential to elucidating the factors that lead to this crisis. In this study, we aimed to establish a new survey method to efficiently obtain breeding data in such areas within limited survey resources. When collecting breeding data on birds, researchers often check nests regularly throughout the breeding season. However, this comes at a huge cost and burden on the birds. We examined the effectiveness of a method for automatically recording breeding status using trail cameras installed inside nest boxes, using a population of Daito Scops Owl as a case study. The results revealed that trail camera surveys can record the progress of reproduction accurately and reliably similar to or better than surveys by traditional nest checking survey. In addition, trail camera surveys were able to obtain highly accurate data with only three visits to the nest, including setting up and collecting the camera, and replacing the battery once. We were able to confirm the effectiveness of trail cameras in a survey to investigate breeding performance. It is expected that trail cameras will be used to investigate many rare species in the future.

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  • Showtaro KAKIZOE, Kazuki SUGAYA, Toshiharu MITA, Yuta NAKASE, Takashi ...
    Article type: 33rd Pro Natura Fund Domestic Research
    2024 Volume 33 Pages 97-103
    Published: May 30, 2024
    Released on J-STAGE: May 30, 2024
    RESEARCH REPORT / TECHNICAL REPORT FREE ACCESS

    In December 2021, an unknown new genus and species of aphaenopsoid Trechini were discovered in Okinawa Island, Japan. In this project, we conducted a taxonomic study of this new species and described and published it as Ryukyuaphaenops pulcherrimus Sugaya, Kakizoe, Ooka, Tamura & Sone, 2023. Additional field surveys and elucidation of genetic population structure were also conducted from the perspective of conservation biology. The collection of DNA samples for phylogenetic and population genetic analyses of Japanese subterranean insects, such as Trechini, has lagged behind significantly due to the difficulty of field surveys. Therefore, in this study, we improved methods for surveying subterranean bait traps and well water to collect DNA samples of Japanese Trechini and other subterranean insects, and conducted field surveys in Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Okinawa. As a result, we succeeded in collecting 25 genera DNA samples out of 32 genera of Trechini from Japan and other subterranean organisms, and proceeded with DNA sequencing. This paper describes the obtained results and future prospects, focusing on the taxonomic results of R. pulcherrimus, which have already been published among the above results.

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33rd Pro Natura Fund Domestic Activity
33rd Pro Natura Fund Domestic Activity - Local NPO Category
33rd Pro Natura Fund Overseas Grant
  • Kazuya TAKAHASHI, Hiroaki NISHIKAWA, Reiko TANABE, Dong Quang TRAN, Tu ...
    Article type: 33rd Pro Natura Fund Overseas Grant
    2024 Volume 33 Pages 133-143
    Published: May 30, 2024
    Released on J-STAGE: May 30, 2024
    RESEARCH REPORT / TECHNICAL REPORT FREE ACCESS

    Yellow camellia is a taxon being at risk of diminishing populations owing to unregulated exploitation of flowers and flower buds from naturally growing trees, because of their highly economic value. This study aimed to elucidate ecological aspects of the yellow camellia, Camellia quephongensis, distributed in Que Phong, Nghe An, Vietnam to propose conservation methods. The present study revealed that this species inhabited the secondary forests aged 20-25 years old on the steep slopes, or the riparian forests with flood disturbances. This species can recover from the damage by disturbances through the development of lateral shoots, consequently becoming a multi-stemmed tree. This mechanism allows the species to persist in the vulnerable habitats. Analyzing the relationship between population size and age distribution, it indicated that population size was smaller in frequently disturbed sites with less saplings and young trees of inverted pyramid shaped age distribution. This species inhabits near the communities at low altitude, and around its habitats, young-tree forests, which are anthropogenically disturbed, are also distributed in a mosaic pattern. Protection area including young tree forests as a potential habitat and harvest planning are required for conservation of this species.

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33rd Pro Natura Fund Overseas Grant
  • Yuki ISHIKAWA-ISHIWATA, Dung Viet LUU, Akihiko KOTERA, Quang Van NGUYE ...
    Article type: 33rd Pro Natura Fund Overseas Grant
    2024 Volume 33 Pages 144-153
    Published: May 30, 2024
    Released on J-STAGE: May 30, 2024
    RESEARCH REPORT / TECHNICAL REPORT FREE ACCESS

    Xuan Thuy National Park (XTNP) is a Ramsar site and provides valuable habitat for endangered species. These days, land use has been changing, and intensive shrimp farming is increasing. Since the microorganism ecosystem is the basis of the mangrove ecosystem in XTNP, the impact of intensive shrimp farming on microorganism ecosystems in XTNP was investigated. Environmental factors, phytoplankton and zooplankton species composition, and alpha diversity of phytoplankton were examined. Salinity, conductivity, and nutrient concentrations were significantly different, and average concentrations of nitrate, ammonium, and phosphate were higher in the intensive shrimp pond than those in other sampling sites. Alpha diversity of phytoplankton was significantly correlated with salinity, conductivity, and phosphate. The average abundance in Rotifera was also 11.8-62.9 times higher than those in other sampling sites. The results of the multiple regression analysis indicated that salinity and phosphate were significantly affected by the alpha diversity of phytoplankton. The microorganism ecosystems in intensive shrimp ponds already altered and the nutrient concentration in this area was among the lowest in Vietnamese water quality standards. Thus, wastewater treatment should be improved for the conservation of the mangrove ecosystem.

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33rd Pro Natura Fund Specified Program
  • Masaya YAMAMOTO, Atsuhito IKEGAMI, Haruki KAWAMOTO, Moeka FUKUI, Nobuy ...
    Article type: 33rd Pro Natura Fund Specified Program
    2024 Volume 33 Pages 154-161
    Published: May 30, 2024
    Released on J-STAGE: May 30, 2024
    RESEARCH REPORT / TECHNICAL REPORT FREE ACCESS

    Scutellaria kikai-insularis is a small perennial herb in Lamiaceae, endemic to Kikai Island in the Amami Islands, Kagoshima, Japan. Recently, wild populations have declined due to the land development, and this species was listed as a designated national endangered species under the Act on the Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in Japan. Owing to the clonal nature of the species, the exact number of clones/genets remains unknown, which poses a major problem for its conservation. In this study, we conducted population genetic analysis using genome-wide SNPs to understand the population and genetic status of the remaining populations. We sampled 140 ramets from the entire population previously recorded on the island and subjected to genetic analysis. In total, 59 clones were identified, reflecting the high clonality of the species. Additionally, larger patches tended to be dominated by a single clone. Genetic diversity was lower than that of closely related species, but there was no evidence of inbreeding due to cleistogamous self-pollination. Based on these results, it was suggested that small patches occurring in many clones should be preferentially protected to maintain clonal diversity. Also, the movement of clones between patches within the conservation units proposed in this study is desirable to facilitate sexual reproduction.

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