The Giant Panda Research Team of China West Normal University Made Progress in Panda Conservation

|ChinaNews|Published:2023-04-25 14:45:53

The giant panda research team of China West Normal University made new progress in panda conservation

A big panda and a little panda are resting [Photo by Xu Jun]

On November 3, 2021, China West Normal University Giant Panda research team's latest research results titled "Environmental Factors Influencing Phyllosphere Bacterial Communities in Giant Pandas' Staple Food Bamboos "was published online in the top microbiology journal, Frontiers in Microbiology.

By combining field investigation of environmental factors with high-throughput sequencing techniques, such as ITS1 amplification and metagenomic sequencing, this study found that the composition, richness and diversity of microbial communities around bamboo leaves, the staple food of giant pandas, were strongly affected by season, bamboo species and elevation, as well as upper vegetation such as tree layer and shrub layer, and the abundance of some bacterial communities was related to the growth of bamboo itself.

Further studies showed that different bacterial communities perform different functions in different bamboo species. The pronounced influence of season and altitude indicated that the long-term low temperature in the mountain area where giant pandas reside may shape more varied and complex bacterial communities in the bamboo phyllosphere in spring, and these different bacterial communities showed diversified Carbohydrate-Active enzymes (CAZymes) functions.

The findings can provide reference for the conservation and management of bamboo food resources as the staple food of giant pandas in Xiaoxiangling mountains and the successful reintroduction of captive giant pandas.

In recent years, the Giant panda research team of China West Normal University has been paying close attention to the conservation biology of rare and endangered animals such as the giant panda. The Giant panda research team has established the Liziping Giant Panda's Ecology and Conservation Observation and Research Station  in Xiaoxiangling Mountains which located in Liziping National Nature Reserve in Sichuan Province. This research station has produced a series of original scientific research achievements for giant panda ecological protection.

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