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author:("Kadono, yasuo")
1.  Crisis of Japanese Vascular Flora Shown By Quantifying Extinction Risks for 1618 Taxa 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98954.
Although many people have expressed alarm that we are witnessing a mass extinction, few projections have been quantified, owing to limited availability of time-series data on threatened organisms, especially plants. To quantify the risk of extinction, we need to monitor changes in population size over time for as many species as possible. Here, we present the world's first quantitative projection of plant species loss at a national level, with stochastic simulations based on the results of population censuses of 1618 threatened plant taxa in 3574 map cells of ca. 100 km2. More than 500 lay botanists helped monitor those taxa in 1994–1995 and in 2003–2004. We projected that between 370 and 561 vascular plant taxa will go extinct in Japan during the next century if past trends of population decline continue. This extinction rate is approximately two to three times the global rate. Using time-series data, we show that existing national protected areas (PAs) covering ca. 7% of Japan will not adequately prevent population declines: even core PAs can protect at best <60% of local populations from decline. Thus, the Aichi Biodiversity Target to expand PAs to 17% of land (and inland water) areas, as committed to by many national governments, is not enough: only 29.2% of currently threatened species will become non-threatened under the assumption that probability of protection success by PAs is 0.5, which our assessment shows is realistic. In countries where volunteers can be organized to monitor threatened taxa, censuses using our method should be able to quantify how fast we are losing species and to assess how effective current conservation measures such as PAs are in preventing species extinction.
PMCID: PMC4055661  PMID: 24922311
2.  Effects of light quality on leaf morphogenesis of a heterophyllous amphibious plant, Rotala hippuris 
Annals of Botany  2011;108(7):1299-1306.
Background and Aims
For heterophyllous amphibious plants that experience fluctuating water levels, it is critical to control leaf development precisely in response to environmental cues that can serve as a quantitative index of water depth. Light quality can serve as such a cue because the ratio of red light relative to far-red light (R/FR) increases and blue-light intensity decreases with increasing water depth. Growth experiments were conducted to examine how R/FR and blue-light intensity alter leaf morphology of a heterophyllous amphibious plant, Rotala hippuris.
Using combinations of far red (730 nm), red (660 nm) and blue (470 nm) light-emitting diodes (LEDs), growth experiments were used to quantitatively evaluate the effects of the R/FR ratio and blue-light intensity on leaf morphology.
Key Results
Under the natural light regime in an outside growth garden, R. hippuris produced distinct leaves under submerged and aerial conditions. R/FR and blue-light intensity were found to markedly affect heterophyllous leaf formation. Higher and lower R/FR caused leaf characters more typical of submerged and aerial leaves, respectively, in both aerial and submerged conditions, in accordance with natural distribution of leaf types and light under water. High blue light caused a shift of trait values toward those of typical aerial leaves, and the response was most prominent under conditions of R/FR that were expected near the water surface.
R/FR and blue-light intensity provides quantitative cues for R. hippuris to detect water depth and determine the developmental fates of leaves, especially near the water surface. The utilization of these quantitative cues is expected to be important in habitats where plants experience water-level fluctuation.
PMCID: PMC3197461  PMID: 21896573
Amphibious plant; blue-light intensity; heterophylly; leaf morphogenesis; light quality; red/far-red ratio; Rotala hippuris; stomata density; underwater light distribution
3.  Molecular Adaptation of rbcL in the Heterophyllous Aquatic Plant Potamogeton 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(2):e4633.
Heterophyllous aquatic plants show marked phenotypic plasticity. They adapt to environmental changes by producing different leaf types: submerged, floating and terrestrial leaves. By contrast, homophyllous plants produce only submerged leaves and grow entirely underwater. Heterophylly and submerged homophylly evolved under selective pressure modifying the species-specific optima for photosynthesis, but little is known about the evolutionary outcome of habit. Recent evolutionary analyses suggested that rbcL, a chloroplast gene that encodes a catalytic subunit of RuBisCO, evolves under positive selection in most land plant lineages. To examine the adaptive evolutionary process linked to heterophylly or homophylly, we analyzed positive selection in the rbcL sequences of ecologically diverse aquatic plants, Japanese Potamogeton.
Principal Findings
Phylogenetic and maximum likelihood analyses of codon substitution models indicated that Potamogeton rbcL has evolved under positive Darwinian selection. The positive selection has operated specifically in heterophyllous lineages but not in homophyllous ones in the branch-site models. This suggests that the selective pressure on this chloroplast gene was higher for heterophyllous lineages than for homophyllous lineages. The replacement of 12 amino acids occurred at structurally important sites in the quaternary structure of RbcL, two of which (residue 225 and 281) were identified as potentially under positive selection.
Our analysis did not show an exact relationship between the amino acid replacements and heterophylly or homophylly but revealed that lineage-specific positive selection acted on the Potamogeton rbcL. The contrasting ecological conditions between heterophyllous and homophyllous plants have imposed different selective pressures on the photosynthetic system. The increased amino acid replacement in RbcL may reflect the continuous fine-tuning of RuBisCO under varying ecological conditions.
PMCID: PMC2646136  PMID: 19247501

Results 1-3 (3)