A global dataset on species occurrences and functional traits of Schizothoracinae fish

Schizothoracinae fish Species Occurrences and Functional Traits dataset (SchiSOFT) was based on field surveys, published papers, books, and online databases, including a full species list, occurrence locations, and detailed functional trait data for schizothoracine fish.
A global dataset on species occurrences and functional traits of Schizothoracinae fish
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What is the Schizothoracinae fish?

The Schizothoracinae fish are widely distributed in rivers and lakes in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) and its surrounding areas (Fig. 1). They are the only natural group of Cyprinidae fish adapted to the extreme environmental conditions of the QTP. These fish parallelly evolved with the QTP uplift and are thus important for uncovering geological history, the paleoclimatic environment, and the mechanisms of functional adaptation to environmental change.

living environment

Fig 1. Habitats of Schizoracinae fish in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. (a) wetlands, (b) streams, (c) rivers, and (d) lakes.

Currently, 125 species or subspecies of Schizothoracinae, spanning 12 genera, have been documented. One of their notable characteristics is the specialized scales adjacent to the anus, displaying a distinctive slit-like appearance on the abdomen. This characteristic has given them the Chinese name "裂腹鱼", which translates to "fish with a slit on the abdomen" (Fig. 2).

photo of Gymnocypris selincuoensis

Fig 2. Schizothorax lissolabiatus Tsao, 1964, with showing specialized scales near the anus.

Why did we compile the SchiSOFT dataset?

The relevant knowledge about Schizothoracinae fish held by most researchers and managers is outdated and mostly comes from surveys and published literature from the last century. In addition, most of these data sources were written in Chinese, which poses a language barrier to interested non-Chinese researchers (Tao et al., 2018). To fill these gaps, our team gathered data from our long-term survey records (Fig. 3) and nearly all available sources (e.g., literature and databases) in both English and Chinese, to compile the SchiSOFT dataset. Besides our survey records, approximately 50% of the included documents with data are in Chinese, underscoring the significance of Chinese records regarding Schizothoracinae fish. We do hope the SchiSOFT will serve as a valuable resource for future research on the evolution, historical biogeography, responses to environmental change, and conservation of the Schizothoracinae fish. We also aim to support SchiSOFT with regular updates, ideally with biannual or triennial steps, depending on the available resources.

field survey
Fig 3.  (a)-(d) Field survey in Tibet and Yunnan, China. (e) Fresh specimens collected during field survey.

What is SchiSOFT?

The SchiSOFT stands for Schizothoracinae fish Species Occurrences and Functional Traits, which compiled and curated data from our long-term survey records, online databases (e.g., FishBase and GBIF), and systematically searched literature and books in English and Chinese. The SchiSOFT includes a species checklist, occurrence data, and detailed functional trait data for schizothoracine fish.

Our team, consisting mainly of senior researchers and graduate students, has long been conducting research related to fish ecology and conservation in rivers and lakes in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and surrounding areas. To compile the dataset, we first cleaned and organized our long-term survey data in detail. We then searched all sources about Schizothoracinae fish in Chinese and English, performed data extraction as a standard rule, and performed data validation (Fig. 4).

Fig 4. The workflow to compile the SchiSOFT on species occurrences and functional traits of Schizothoracinae fish.

The dataset includes 7,333 occurrence records (Fig. 5) and 3,204 records of 32 functional traits covering all the genera and species of Schizothoracinae fish (i.e., 12 genera and 125 species or subspecies) and image sources of 120 species or subspecies. Sampling records spanned over 180 years.

Occurrence points of the Schizothoracinae fish by specialized grades at the global scale in the SchiSOFT dataset. The lines in blue show the main river around the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP), and the lines in red show the boundary of the Pan-Tibetan Highlands (PTH).

Fig 5. Occurrence points of the Schizothoracinae fish by specialized grades in the SchiSOFT dataset.

References

Du, T., Ding, C., Yang, K. et al. A global dataset on species occurrences and functional traits of Schizothoracinae fish. Sci Data 11,  272  (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-024-03098-2

Tao, J., Ding, C. & Ho, Y.-S. Publish translations of the best Chinese papers. Nature 557, 492 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-05235-5

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Fish and Wildlife Biology
Life Sciences > Biological Sciences > Zoology > Animal Science > Fish and Wildlife Biology

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