Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Huber, B. A., G. Meng, J. Král, I. M. Ávila Herrera, M. A. Izquierdo, and L. S. Carvalho. 2023. High and dry: integrative taxonomy of the Andean spider genus Nerudia (Araneae: Pholcidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.

Abstract Ninetinae are a group of poorly known spiders that do not fit the image of ‘daddy long-legs spiders’ (Pholcidae), the family to which they belong. They are mostly short-legged, tiny and live in arid environments. The previously monotypic Andean genus Nerudia exemplifies our poor knowledge of Ninetinae: only seven adult specimens from two localities in Chile and Argentina have been reported in the literature. We found representatives of Nerudia at 24 of 52 localities visited in 2019, mostly under rocks in arid habitats, up to 4450 m a.s.l., the highest known record for Pholcidae. With now more than 400 adult specimens, we revise the genus, describing ten new species based on morphology (including SEM) and COI barcodes. We present the first karyotype data for Nerudia and for its putative sister-genus Gertschiola. These two southern South American genera share a X1X2X3Y sex chromosome system. We model the distribution of Nerudia, showing that the genus is expected to occur in the Atacama biogeographic province (no record so far) and that its environmental niche is phylogenetically conserved. This is the first comprehensive revision of any Ninetinae genus. It suggests that focused collecting may uncover a considerable diversity of these enigmatic spiders.

Grigoropoulou, A., S. A. Hamid, R. Acosta, E. O. Akindele, S. A. Al‐Shami, F. Altermatt, G. Amatulli, et al. 2023. The global EPTO database: Worldwide occurrences of aquatic insects. Global Ecology and Biogeography.

Motivation Aquatic insects comprise 64% of freshwater animal diversity and are widely used as bioindicators to assess water quality impairment and freshwater ecosystem health, as well as to test ecological hypotheses. Despite their importance, a comprehensive, global database of aquatic insect occurrences for mapping freshwater biodiversity in macroecological studies and applied freshwater research is missing. We aim to fill this gap and present the Global EPTO Database, which includes worldwide geo-referenced aquatic insect occurrence records for four major taxa groups: Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera and Odonata (EPTO). Main type of variables contained A total of 8,368,467 occurrence records globally, of which 8,319,689 (99%) are publicly available. The records are attributed to the corresponding drainage basin and sub-catchment based on the Hydrography90m dataset and are accompanied by the elevation value, the freshwater ecoregion and the protection status of their location. Spatial location and grain The database covers the global extent, with 86% of the observation records having coordinates with at least four decimal digits (11.1 m precision at the equator) in the World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS84) coordinate reference system. Time period and grain Sampling years span from 1951 to 2021. Ninety-nine percent of the records have information on the year of the observation, 95% on the year and month, while 94% have a complete date. In the case of seven sub-datasets, exact dates can be retrieved upon communication with the data contributors. Major taxa and level of measurement Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera and Odonata, standardized at the genus taxonomic level. We provide species names for 7,727,980 (93%) records without further taxonomic verification. Software format The entire tab-separated value (.csv) database can be downloaded and visualized at Fifty individual datasets are also available at, while six datasets have restricted access. For the latter, we share metadata and the contact details of the authors.

Emiroğlu, Ö., S. Aksu, S. Başkurt, J. R. Britton, and A. S. Tarkan. 2023. Predicting how climate change and globally invasive piscivorous fishes will interact to threaten populations of endemic fishes in a freshwater biodiversity hotspot. Biological Invasions.

Freshwater ecosystems are highly vulnerable to the detrimental impacts of both biological invasions and climate change. Piscivorous alien fishes drive populations of small-bodied native fishes to extinction and warming is already driving extreme temperature events in lakes and rivers globally. Here, we use Ecological Niche Modelling (ENM) to predict how climate change will alter the geographical space of six alien fishes and five native fish genera (which include multiple endemic species) in Turkey, a hotspot of freshwater fish diversity. The models predicted that the geographical space of the alien fishes already present in Turkey would generally increase (including pikeperch Sander lucioperca and perch Perca fluviatilis ), but with the most substantial increases in largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides , a species not yet present in Turkey but that is invasive in countries nearby and is highly popular for sport angling. For the native fish genera, general predictions were for reduced geographical space, especially in the south and east of the country, suggesting the endemic species will become increasingly imperilled in future. Their populations will also be at increasing risk of deleterious impacts from the alien piscivores, as the predictions were also for increasing overlaps in the geographical space of both the alien fishes and native fish genera. These predictions suggest that the conservation of these endemic species need to consider measures on preventing both the introduction of alien species (e.g. largemouth bass) and the further dispersal of extant alien species (e.g. pikeperch), as well as habitat interventions that will limit the effects of climate change on their populations. These results also indicate that the combination of climate change and alien invasions could have substantial impacts on—and similar—hotspots of freshwater diversity.

Troia, M. J. 2022. Magnitude–duration relationships of physiological sensitivity and environmental exposure improve climate change vulnerability assessments. Ecography.

Integrating thermal physiology with environmental temperature is essential to understanding distributions of species and vulnerability to climate change. Warming tolerance – the difference between an organism's maximum thermal tolerance (Tmax) and maximum habitat temperature (Thab) – is frequently used to integrate organismal sensitivity and environmental exposure. Traditionally, applications of warming tolerance define Tmax and Thab as invariable magnitudes, yet tolerance magnitude depends on exposure duration, and diel temperature cycles expose organisms to a range of temperature magnitudes and durations. How traditional (i.e. acute) estimates of warming tolerance compare to estimates from prolonged exposures remains poorly understood. In this study, magnitude–duration curves for tolerances of one cold‐water, two cool‐water and one warm‐water species of freshwater fish were compiled from the literature and compared to magnitude–duration exposures from 66 streams across the eastern United States. Warming tolerances were estimated for exposure durations spanning 0.01–24 h. Current acute (0.01 h) warming tolerances ranged from median 6.30°C for the cold‐water species to 9.68°C for the warm‐water species. The lowest warming tolerances corresponded to prolonged exposures lasting median 3.85–5.30 h among species and were 2.51–4.38°C lower than acute estimates. Although acute estimates remained positive in historically occupied and unoccupied streams (6.30 versus 2.33°C), estimates based on prolonged exposure were positive at occupied streams of the cold‐water species but transitioned to negative in unoccupied streams (2.19 versus −1.12°C). Acute warming tolerances for the cold‐water species also remained positive under future climate (6.29–4.23°C) but approached zero at prolonged durations (2.19–0.09°C) and transitioned to negative for 47.2% of streams. Results demonstrate that acute measures of Tmax and Thab overestimate warming tolerances and therefore underestimate climate change vulnerability. Integrating magnitude–duration relationships into warming tolerance estimates can elucidate physiological mechanisms underlying species distributions and can improve accuracy of climate change vulnerability assessments.

Boyd, R. J., M. A. Aizen, R. M. Barahona‐Segovia, L. Flores‐Prado, F. E. Fontúrbel, T. M. Francoy, M. Lopez‐Aliste, et al. 2022. Inferring trends in pollinator distributions across the Neotropics from publicly available data remains challenging despite mobilization efforts Y. Fourcade [ed.],. Diversity and Distributions 28: 1404–1415.

Aim Aggregated species occurrence data are increasingly accessible through public databases for the analysis of temporal trends in the geographic distributions of species. However, biases in these data present challenges for statistical inference. We assessed potential biases in data available through GBIF on the occurrences of four flower-visiting taxa: bees (Anthophila), hoverflies (Syrphidae), leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae) and hummingbirds (Trochilidae). We also assessed whether and to what extent data mobilization efforts improved our ability to estimate trends in species' distributions. Location The Neotropics. Methods We used five data-driven heuristics to screen the data for potential geographic, temporal and taxonomic biases. We began with a continental-scale assessment of the data for all four taxa. We then identified two recent data mobilization efforts (2021) that drastically increased the quantity of records of bees collected in Chile available through GBIF. We compared the dataset before and after the addition of these new records in terms of their biases and estimated trends in species' distributions. Results We found evidence of potential sampling biases for all taxa. The addition of newly-mobilized records of bees in Chile decreased some biases but introduced others. Despite increasing the quantity of data for bees in Chile sixfold, estimates of trends in species' distributions derived using the postmobilization dataset were broadly similar to what would have been estimated before their introduction, albeit more precise. Main conclusions Our results highlight the challenges associated with drawing robust inferences about trends in species' distributions using publicly available data. Mobilizing historic records will not always enable trend estimation because more data do not necessarily equal less bias. Analysts should carefully assess their data before conducting analyses: this might enable the estimation of more robust trends and help to identify strategies for effective data mobilization. Our study also reinforces the need for targeted monitoring of pollinators worldwide.

Shirey, V., R. Khelifa, L. K. M’Gonigle, and L. M. Guzman. 2022. Occupancy–detection models with museum specimen data: Promise and pitfalls. Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

1. Historical museum records provide potentially useful data for identifying drivers of change in species occupancy. However, because museum records are typically obtained via many collection methods, methodological developments are needed in order to enable robust inferences. Occupancy‐detection models, a relatively new and powerful suite of statistical methods, are a potentially promising avenue because they can account for changes in collection effort through space and time.

Campbell, S. E., J. A. G. Hubbard, and N. E. Mandrak. 2022. Changing community dynamics and climate alter invasion risk of freshwater fishes historically found in invasion pathways of the Laurentian Great Lakes X. Liu [ed.],. Diversity and Distributions 28: 1620–1634.

Aim Here, we use an integrative, comprehensive risk assessment framework as a screening tool to evaluate how the invasion risk of previously failed introduced freshwater fish species, commonly found in the live-trade pathway, will change under future climate-change scenarios. Location Laurentian Great Lakes, North America. Methods The 34 species screened for invasion risk previously failed to establish populations, likely due to poor environmental suitability, low propagule pressure, and/or biotic resistance from the recipient community, and are most commonly found in the increasingly important live-trade pathway. Using established trait-based models, we quantified the probability of establishment success and probability of having high ecological impact in the decade of first introduction and present-day communities (2020) based on known species extirpations, introductions and establishments between 1870 and 2020. We completed a climate match analysis under future climate-change scenarios based on 16 bioclimatic variables. This approach identified a list of species that should be prioritized in surveillance management. Results We identified seven species that have an increased climate match with the region and an increased probability of establishment success. Five of these species have an increased probability of high ecological impacts. Twenty-four species have a current probability of establishment success greater than 50% and 33 species have a current probability of high ecological impacts greater than 50%. Climate match was dynamic under future climate-change scenarios with 14 species experiencing a better match between their native geographical range and the Laurentian Great Lakes region. Main conclusions Our models identify and predict the invasion risk of non-native freshwater fish species present in pathways relevant to the Great Lakes region and provide a comprehensive framework for future management that prioritize efforts to species of highest risk. This framework could be applied to different taxa, pathways, and/or ecosystems to estimate current and predicted invasion risk under multiple scenarios.

VALLADOLID, M., I. KARAOUZAS, H. IBRAHIMI, M. ARAUZO, V. S. STAMENKOVIĆ, B. A. DORDA, J. HINIĆ, et al. 2022. The Rhyacophila fasciata Group in Europe: Rhyacophila macedonica Karaouzas, Valladolid & Ibrahimi (n. sp.) from Greece, Kosovo, Republic of North Macedonia and Serbia (Trichoptera: Rhyacophilidae). Zootaxa 5125: 101–130.

The morphology of all postembryonic stages (larva, pupa, male, and female) of Rhyacophila macedonica Karaouzas, Valladolid, & Ibrahimi n. sp. from Greece, Republic of North Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia was examined. Morphological data were supplemented by a molecular analysis of the mitochondrial cytochrome C oxidase subunit I (COI) and compared with samples of the nominate species Rhyacophila fasciata Hagen 1859, as well as with other species and subspecies in this group: Rhyacophila septentrionis McLachlan 1865, Rhyacophila denticulata McLachlan 1879, Rhyacophila sociata Navás 1916, Rhyacophila kykladica Malicky & Sipahiler 1993, Rhyacophila fasciata delici Kucinic & Valladolid 2020, and Rhyacophila fasciata viteceki Valladolid & Kucinic 2020. Our results revealed morphological differences between the nominate species and R. macedonica, as well as genetic differences among the taxa in the Rhyacophila fasciata Group, so we propose R. macedonica as a new species of the Group. Based on the new molecular data, we also elevate R. f. delici to the status of a distinct species, R. delici (status promotus).

Li, D., Z. Li, Z. Liu, Y. Yang, A. G. Khoso, L. Wang, and D. Liu. 2022. Climate change simulations revealed potentially drastic shifts in insect community structure and crop yields in China’s farmland. Journal of Pest Science.

Climate change will cause drastic fluctuations in agricultural ecosystems, which in turn may affect global food security. We used ecological niche modeling to predict the potential distribution for four cereal aphids (i.e., Sitobion avenae, Rhopalosiphum padi, Schizaphis graminum, and Diurphis noxia…

Jourdan, J., R. Riesch, and S. Cunze. 2021. Off to new shores: Climate niche expansion in invasive mosquitofish ( Gambusia spp.). Ecology and Evolution 11: 18369–18400.

Aim: Formerly introduced for their presumed value in controlling mosquito-borne diseases, the two mosquitofish Gambusia affinis and G. holbrooki (Poeciliidae) are now among the world's most widespread invasive alien species, negatively impacting aquatic ecosystems around the world. These inconspicuo…