Yuan Qianhua, Cai Du Cheng, Hainan University, Hai Kou, P.R . China,
J. Catindig and S. Villareal, International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines
On April 6, 2013, vice president of Hainan University, Professor Hu Xinwen and Kadoorie Charitable Foundation project manager, Mr Ronald Li unveiled the plague symbolizing the opening of the new Biodiversity Laboratory in Hainan University. This contribution was part of the Hainan Project on “Conserving Arthropod Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Rice Environments of Hainan Island, China”. Funded by the Kadoorie Charitable Foundation (KCF) based in Hong Kong, the Hainan Project started in 2010 to establish collaborative research between scientists at IRRI, Hainan University and Zhejiang University to better understand arthropod biodiversity in rice environments. Being an island and less intensively cultivated, Hainan can potentially have a rich floral and faunal biodiversity. In rice environments, arthropod biodiversity plays an important role in providing ecosystem system services, particularly in pest regulation and pollination.
After the expeditions, more than 20,000 arthropod specimens were collected and contained about 2373 species and only 1578 have been identified. About 4,200 specimens have been named and preserved and together with 32 holotype and 4 paratype specimens of new spider species are now returned to Hainan University and placed in the new Biodiversity Laboratory. Equipped with imported storage cabinets the Laboratory can provide the safe environment to store these rare specimens. About 15% of the spider species and 12% of the hymenoptera species (yet to be identified and described) were found to be new discoveries indicating the huge biodiversity richness in the Island. The new Laboratory is a modest beginning of biodiversity research in Hainan and will serve as the research and learning center to further promote biodiversity research.
The 53 new spider species have been named and some in honor of well known Chinese scientists. Descriptions of the new species are published in a monograph by Barrion et al 2012. The new hymenoptera species have yet to be described and named. Spider species richness was found to be linked to insecticide use and bund floral biodiversity .
A new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between IRRI and Hainan University was signed to mark the research collaboration. Hainan University vice president, Professor Hu Xinwen signed for the University while Duncan Macintosh, Development Director, represent the IRRI Director General. The Hainan Project was the first collaboration between IRRI and Hainan University and the new MOU will lead to further collaborations in education and research.
Barrion, A.T., Barrion-Dupo, A.L.A, Catindig, J., Villareal, S., Cai, D., Yuan Q., Heong, K.L. 2013. New species of spiders (Araneae) from Hainan Island, China. UPLB Musuem Publications in Natural History No. 3.