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  • Research Group of Conservation Biology of Aquatic Animals
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     Prof. WANG Ding 

    Principal Investigator: 

    Professor and Dr. Ding WANG 

    Team members: 

    Professor and Dr., Kexiong WANG;  

    Associated Professors and Drs, Yujiang HAO, Jinsong ZHENG, Zhigang MEI; 

    Assistant Professor and Dr., Zhitao WANG;  

    Engineers, Weiming GONG, Zhangbing KOU;  

    Senior technician, Bingfang YU;  

    Research Assistants, Mao CHEN, Pengxiang DUAN;  

    Academic Secretary, Fei FAN;  

    Porpoise trainers, Chaoqun WANG, Hongbin GUO, Zhengyu DENG; 

    Postdoctor, Yi Han;  

    9 Ph.D students and 10 Sc.M. students. 

    General Introduction 

    The Cetacean Conservation Biology Group develops from the former Baiji Research Group established in 1978. This research group is committed to the conservation biology of national key and endangered aquatic mammals in China including the baiji, the Yangtze finless porpoise, and the Chinese white dolphin. The main research field of this group includes the internal and external mechanisms of species extinction, monitoring theories and methods of population dynamics, biology of small populations and theories of species recovery, and reproduction theories and breeding technologies of endangered aquatic mammals. With the goal of conserving endangered species, our research focuses on population ecology, reproductive biology, acoustic and behavioral biology, and conservation genetics, which effectively guides conservation practices of in situ and ex situ conservation, and also captive breeding. Our group operates a research base covering an area of about 20000 m2, including a dolphin aquarium with six Yangtze finless porpoises in captivity, and four research labs (the ecology lab, the acoustics and behavior lab, the physiology lab, and the molecular biology lab). Our research is now supported by more than 20 funding programs, including funds from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the National Key Programme of Research and Development, the Special Conservation Fund for the Yangtze Finless Porpoise from the Ministry of Agriculture of China, and several international and regional programs. 

    At present, our group is working on the following key topics: 

    1) Breeding of the Yangtze finless porpoise in captive and in semi-natural conditions; 

    2) Ex situ conservation of the Yangtze finless porpoise; 

    3) Population dynamic monitoring and habitat protection of the Yangtze finless porpoise and the Chinese white dolphin; 

    4) Mechanism of extinction and conservation planning for the Yangtze finless porpoise and the Chinese white dolphin; 

    5) Acoustic and behavioral ecology research of the finless porpoise and the Chinese white dolphin; 

    6) Conservation genetics, molecular ecology, adaptive evolution, microbiome and pathogen identification of the Yangtze finless porpoise; 

    7) Acoustic behaviors of other rare aquatic animals including the Chinese alligator, the Chinese giant salamander and seals;  

    8) Negative effects of water construction projects and underwater noise on rare aquatic mammals and relevant conservation planning. 

    Equipment 

    A variety of molecular biology equipment, micrograph and recording system, sound recording and analysis system, behavior recording and data storage system, blood biochemical auto-analyzing system, field investigation and data sampling system etc.    

    Contact 

    Tel: 86-27-87801331/87800371 

    Fax: 86-27-87491267   

    Selective publications for the past five years (*Corresponding author; #Equal contribution) 

    1.         Zeng XY, Huang SL, Hao YJ*, Wang D, Ji JH, Deng XJ, Nabi G. (2018). Ultrasonography of mammary glands in finless porpoises (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis) at different reproductive stages. Marine Mammal Science, 34(2): 529-540. 

    2.         Nabi G, McLaughlin RW, Hao YJ*, Wang KX, Zeng XY, Khan S, Wang D*. (2018). The possible effects of anthropogenic acoustic pollution on marine mammals’ reproduction: an emerging threat to animal extinction. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 25: 19338-19345. 

    3.         Pine MK*, Wang D, Porter L, Wang KX. (2018). Investigating the spatiotemporal variation of fish choruses to help identify important foraging habitat for Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, Sousa chinensis. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 75(2): 510-518. 

    4.         Zeng X, Chen M, Liu Z, Yu D, Huang SL, Yang J, Fan F, Wang D, Hao Y*, Nabi G. (2018). Characterization of milk protein composition of the Yangtze finless porpoises. Marine Mammal Science, DOI: 10.1111/mms.12508, online. 

    5.         Cheng ZL, Pine MK, Huang SL, Wang D, Wu HP, Wang KX*. (2018). A case of epimeletic behavior and associated acoustic records of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins. Journal of Mammalogy, DOI:10.1093/jmammal/gyy095, online. 

    6.         Wan XL, McLaughlin RW, Zheng JS*, Hao YJ, Fan F, Tian RM, Wang D. (2018). Microbial communities in different regions of the gastrointestinal tract in East Asian finless porpoises (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis sunameri). Scientific Reports, in press. 

    7.         Pine MK*, Wang K*, Wang D*. (2017). Fine-scale habitat use in Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, Sousa chinensis, may be more influenced by fish rather than vessels in the Pearl River Estuary, China. Marine Mammal Science, 33(1): 291-312. 

    8.       Zeng XY, Huang SL, Qian ZY, Hao YJ*, Wang D*, Ji JH, Nabi G. (2017). Characterization of milk composition in narrow-ridged finless porpoises (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis) at different lactation stages. Marine Mammal Science, 33(3): 803-816. 

    9.       Fang L, Wu YP, Wang KX, Pine MK, Wang D*, Li SH. (2017). The echolocation transmission beam of free-ranging Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 142 (2): 771-779. 

    10.   Huang SL#, Mei ZG#, Hao YJ, Zheng JS, Wang K, Wang D*. (2017). Saving the Yangtze finless porpoise: Time is rapidly running out. Biological Conservation, 210: 40-46. 

    11.   Bi JL, Hu B, Wang J, Liu X, Zheng JS, Wang D*, Xiao WH*. (2017). Beluga whale pVHL enhances HIF-2α activity via inducing HIF-2α proteasomal degradation under hypoxia. Oncotarget, 8(26): 42272-42287. 

    12.   Wan XL, Zheng JS*, Li WX, Zeng XY, Yang JW, Hao YJ, Wang D. (2017). Parasitic infections in the East Asian finless porpoise Neophocaena asiaeorientalis sunameri living off Chinese Yellow/Bohai Sea coast. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 125(1): 63-71. 

    13.   Chen MM#, Fontaine MC#*, Chehida YB#Zheng JS*, Labbé F, Mei ZG, Hao YJ, Wang KX, Wu M, Zhao QZ, Wang D*. (2017). Genetic footprint of population fragmentation and contemporary collapse in a freshwater cetacean. Scientific Reports, 7: 14449. 

    14.   Nabi G, Hao YJ*, Zeng XY, Zheng JS, Mclaughlin R, Wang D*. (2017). Hematologic and biochemical differences between two free ranging Yangtze finless porpoise population: the implications of habitat impact. PLOS ONE, 12(11): e0188570. 

    15.   Nabi G, Hao YJ*, Zeng XY, Wang D. (2017). Assessment of Yangtze finless porpoises (Neophocaena asiaorientalis) through hematologic and biochemical parameters. Zoological Studies, 56: 31. 

    16.   Mei ZG, Chen M, Li YT, Huang SL, Huang J, Han Y, Zhu BT, Li CS, Wang KX, Wang D*. (2017). Habitat preference of the Yangtze finless porpoise in a minimally disturbed environment. Ecological Modelling, 353: 47-53. 

    17.   Cheng ZL, Wang D, Wu HP, Huang SL, Pine MK, Peng CW, Wang KX*. (2017). Stereotyped whistles may be first evidence to suggest the possibility of signature whistles in an injured Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis). Aquatic Mammals, 43(2), 185-192. 

    18.   Platto S*, Zhang C, Pine MK, Feng WK, Yang LG, Irwin A, Wang D. (2017). Behavioral laterality in Yangtze finless porpoises (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis). Behavioural Processes, 140: 104-114. 

    19.   Stewart K*, Ma HJ, Zheng JS, Zhao JF. (2017). Using environmental DNA to assess population-wide spatiotemporal reserve use. Conservation Biology, 31(5): 1173-1182. 

    20.   Wang ZT, Nowacek D, Akamatsu T, Wang KX*, Liu JC, Duan GQ, Cao HJ, Wang D*. (2017). Diversity of fish sound types in the Pearl River Estuary, China. PeerJ, 5: e3924. 

    22.   Pine MK*, Wang K*, Wang D*. (2016). Monitoring rising ambient sound levels from vessels and impacts on Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis) occurrences. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, 27, 070003. 

    23.   Wang ZT, Au WWL, Rendell L, Wang KX*, Wu HP, Wu YP, Liu JC, Duan GQ, Cao HJ, Wang D*. (2016). Apparent source levels and active communication space of whistles of free-ranging Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) in the Pearl River Estuary and Beibu Gulf, China. PeerJ, 4: e1695. 

    24.   Pine MK*, Jeffs AG, Wang D, Radford CA. (2016). The potential for vessel noise to mask biologically important sounds within ecologically significant embayments. Ocean & Coastal Management, 127: 63-73. 

    25.   Ruan R, Wan XL, Zheng Y, Zheng JS*, Wang D*. (2016). Assembly and characterization of the MHC class I region of the Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis). Immunogenetics, 68: 77-82. 

    26.   Ruan R, Ruan J, Wan XL, Zheng Y, Chen MM, Zheng JS*, Wang D*. (2016). Organization and characteristics of the major histocompatibility complex classⅡ region in the Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis). Scientific Reports, 6: 22471. 

    27.   Chen MM, Zheng Y, Hao YJ, Mei ZG, Wang KX, Zhao QZ, Zheng JS*, Wang D*. (2016). Parentage-based group composition and dispersal pattern studies of the Yangtze finless porpoise population in Poyang Lake. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 17: 1268. 

    28.   Wan XL, Ruan R, McLaughlin RW, Hao YJ, Zheng JS*, Wang D*. (2016). Fecal bacterial composition of the endangered Yangtze finless porpoises living under captive and semi-natural conditions. Current Microbiology, 72: 306-314. 

    29.   Wan XL, McLaughlin RW, Zhou JY, Hao YJ, Zheng JS*, Wang D*. (2016). Isolation of culturable aerobic bacteria and evidence of Kerstersia gyiorum from the blowhole of captive Yangtze finless porpoises. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek Journal of Microbiology, 109(8): 1167-1175. 

    30.   Yu XY, Hao YJ*, Kot B, Wang Ding. (2016). Effect of photoperiod extension on the testicular sonographic appearance and sexual behavior of captive Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis). Zoological Studies, 55: 24. 

    31.   Platto S*, Wang D, Wang KX. (2016). Variation in the emission rate of sounds in a captive group of false killer whales Pseudorca crassidens during feedings: possible food anticipatory vocal activity? Chinese Journal of Oceanology and Limnology, 34(6):1218-1237. 

    32.   Ma HJ, Stewart K*, Lougheed S, Zheng JS, Wang YX, Zhao JF. (2016). Characterization, optimization, and validation of environmental DNA (eDNA) markers to detect an endangered aquatic mammal. Conservation Genetics Resources, 8(4): 561-568. 

    35.     Fang L, Li SH, Wang KX, Wang ZT, Shi WJ, Wang D*. (2015). Echolocation signals of free-ranging Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) in Sanniang Bay, China. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 138 (3): 1346-1352. 

    36.     Fang L, Wang D, Li YT, Cheng ZL, Pine MK., Wang KX*, Li SH*. (2015). The source parameters of echolocation clicks from captive and free-ranging Yangtze finless porpoises (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis). PLoS ONE, 10(6): e0129143. 

    37.     Dong L, Wang D*, Wang K, Li S, Mei Z, Wang S, Akamatsu T, Kimura S. (2015). Yangtze finless porpoises along the main channel of Poyang Lake, China: implications for conservation. Marine Mammal Science, 31(2):612-628. 

    38.     Wang ZT, Akamatsu T, Mei ZG, Dong LJ, Imaizumi T, Wang KX, Wang D*. (2015).  Frequent and prolonged nocturnal occupation of port areas by Yangtze finless porpoises (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis): forced choice for feeding? Integrative Zoology, 10, 122-132. 

    39.     Wang ZT, Nachtigall PE., Akamatsu T, Wang KX*, Wu YP, Liu JC, Duan GQ, Cao HJ, Wang D*. (2015). Passive acoustic monitoring the diel, lunar, seasonal and tidal patterns in the biosonar activity of the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) in the Pearl River estuary, China. PLoS One, 10(11): e0141807. 

    40.     Wei C, Wang ZT, Song ZC, Wang KX, Wang D*, Au W, Zhang Y*. (2015). Acoustic property reconstruction of a neonate Yangtze finless porpoise’s (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis) head assed on CT imaging. Plos One, 10(4): e0121442. 

    41.     Ruan R, Guo AH, Hao YJ, Zheng JS*, Wang D*. (2015). De Novo assembly and characterization of narrow-ridged finless porpoise renal transcriptome and identification of candidate genes involved in osmoregulation. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 16: 2220-2238. 

    42.     Wang JZ, Yu XY, Hu B, Zheng JS, Xiao WH, Hao YJ, Liu WH*, Wang D*. (2015). Physicochemical evolution and molecular adaptation of the cetacean osmoregulation-related gene UT-A2 and implications for functional studies. Scientific Reports, 5(8795): 1-17. 

    43.     Bi JL, Hu B, Zheng JS, Wang JZ, Xiao WH*, Wang D*. (2015). Characterization of the hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha gene in the sperm whale, beluga whale, and Yangtze finless porpoise. Marine Biology, 162: 1201-1213. 

    44.     Zeng XY, Jin JH, Hao YJ*, Wang D*. (2015). Topographical distribution of blubber in finless porpoises (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis sunameri): a result from adapting to living in coastal waters. Zoological Studies, 54: 32. 

    50.     Kimura S, Akamatsu T, Dong LJ, Wang KX*, Wang D, Shibata Y, Arai N. (2014). Acoustic capture-recapture method for towed acoustic surveys of echolocating porpoise. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 135(6): 3364-3370. 

    51.     Mooney TA*, Li SH, Ketten DR, Wang KX, Wang D. (2014). Hearing pathways in the Yangtze finless porpoise, Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis. Journal of Experimental Biology, 217: 444-452. 

    52.     Wang ZT, Akamatsu T, Wang KX*, Wang D*. (2014). The diel rhythms of biosonar behavior in the Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis) in the port of the Yangtze River: the correlation between prey availability and boat traffic. PLOS ONE, 9(5): e97907. 

    53.     Wang ZT, Wu YP, Duan GQ, Cao HJ, Liu JC, Wang KX*, Wang D*. (2014). Assessing the underwater acoustics of the world’s largest vibration hammer (OCTA-KONG) and its potential effects on the Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin (Sousa chinensis). PLOS ONE, 9(10): e110590. 

    54.     Mei ZG#, Zhang XQ#, Huang SL, Zhao XJ, Hao YJ, Zhang L, Qian ZY, Zheng JS, Wang K*, Wang D*. (2014). The Yangtze finless porpoise: on an accelerating path to extinction. Biological Conservation, 172: 117-123. 

    55.     Chen MM, Zheng JS*, Wu M, Ruan R, Zhao QZ, Wang D*. (2014). Genetic diversity and population structure of the critically endangered Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis) as revealed by mitochondrial and microsatellite DNA. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 15: 11307-11323. 

    56.     Feng P#, Zheng JS#, Rossiter S, Wang D, Zhao HB*. (2014). Massive losses of taste receptor genes in toothed and baleen whales. Genome Biology and Evolution, 6: 1254-1265. 

    57.     Guo AH, Hao YJ*, Wang JZ, Zhao QZ, Wang D*. (2014). Concentrations of osmotically related constituents in plasma and urine of finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis): implications for osmoregulatory strategies for marine mammals living in freshwater. Zoological Studies, 53: 10. 

    62.     Kimura S*, Akamatsu T, Wang D, Li S, Wang K, Yoda K. (2013). Variation in the production rate of biosonar signals in freshwater porpoises. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 133(5): 3128-3134. (SCI) 

    63.     Li SH*, Wang D, Wang KX, Hoffmann-Kuhnt M, Fernando N, Taylor E, Lin WZ, Chen JL, Ng T. (2013). Possible age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) and corresponding change in echolocation parameters in a stranded Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin. Journal of Experimental Biology, 216: 4144-4153. 

    64.     Wang ZT, Fang L, Shi WJ, Wang KX*, Wang D. (2013). Whistle characteristics of free-ranging Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) in Sanniang Bay, China. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 133: 2479-2489. 

    65.     Turvey ST*, Risley CL, Moore JE, Barrett LA, Hao YJ, Zhao XJ, Zhou KY, Wang D*. (2013). Can local ecological knowledge be used to assess status and extinction drivers in a threatened freshwater cetacean? Biological Conservation, 157: 352-360. 

    66.     Zhao X, Wang D*, Turvey ST, Taylor B, Akamatsu T. (2013). Distribution patterns of Yangtze finless porpoises in the Yangtze River: implications for reserve management. Animal Conservation, 16: 509-518. 

    67.     Zhang XQ, Xian YJ, Wang M, Wang D*. (2013). Behaviour and habitat selection of Yangtze finless porpoises in Dongting Lake, China, and the adjacent waters: impact of human activity. Pakistan J. Zool., 45(3): 635-642. 

    68.     McLaughlin RW, Zheng JS*, Ruan R, Wang CQ, Zhao QZ, Wang D. (2013). Isolation of Robinsoniella peoriensis from the fecal material of the endangered Yangtze finless porpoise, Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis. Anaerobe, 20: 79-81. 

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