Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Milano, F., P. Cardoso, S. Mammola, H. Smith, and M. Isaia. 2022. Trends in habitat suitability and conservation status of aquatic spiders in Europe. Biological Conservation 275: 109767. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2022.109767

Wetlands, one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, are increasingly subjected to area loss and degradation due to land-use and climate changes. These factors impact their unique biodiversity, including numerous invertebrates that depend on them. Here we investigated the current and future habitat suitability of the aquatic spiders Argyroneta aquatica and Dolomedes plantarius. We evaluated future trends in their geographic range, aiming at assessing their extinction risk according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List criteria, at both global and regional levels. We investigated present and future distribution ranges using species distribution models for two integrated emission scenarios (SSP1-2.6 and SSP5-8.5) and combining three general circulation models. These were combined with knowledge on species' dispersal limitation to account for the possibility that these species will not be able to move beyond the current range in the next decades. We found a significant future northern shift in the geographic range and a global reduction in habitat suitability for both species, corresponding to a loss of 28.9 % for A. aquatica and 38.1 % for D. plantarius in the next 10 years. The application of the IUCN criteria qualifies A. aquatica as Near Threatened and D. plantarius as Vulnerable. Regional assessments provided similar patterns of range reductions and population vulnerability across all European regions, particularly for Central-Eastern and Western Europe. Conversely, Northern Europe is expected to become a climatic refugium for both species. This work goes beyond the available studies on the conservation of these species by taking account their dispersal abilities in quantifying future trends in their habitat suitability using the most up to date knowledge. Conservation strategies should be directed towards limiting the impact of climatic and non-climatic stressors on wetlands, and towards implementing management plans and restoration programmes to increase habitat suitability and connectivity among wetland patches.

To clarify biogeographic patterns of two mushroom species (Phallus merulinus and Geastrum courtecuissei) previously reported from Myanmar, sequence data of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of nuclear ribosomal DNA were retrieved from GenBank. The BLAST search and phylogenetic analyses of Phallus indicated that P. merulinus and P. atrovolvatus from wide areas, including Australia, Myanmar, Thailand, Brazil, and French Guiana, cannot be distinguished molecularly. The species was, therefore, considered widespread across tropical to subtropical regions. In contrast, G. courtecuissei from Myanmar was tightly clustered exclusively with G. courtecuissei from Central and South America, supporting the idea of its disjunct distribution between Southeast Asia (Myanmar) and Central-South Americas.

Chevalier, M. 2022. <i>crestr</i>: an R package to perform probabilistic climate reconstructions from palaeoecological datasets. Climate of the Past 18: 821–844. https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-18-821-2022

Abstract. Statistical climate reconstruction techniques are fundamental tools to study past climate variability from fossil proxy data. In particular, the methods based on probability density functions (or PDFs) can be used in various environments and with different climate proxies because they rely on elementary calibration data (i.e. modern geolocalised presence data). However, the difficulty of accessing and curating these calibration data and the complexity of interpreting probabilistic results have often limited their use in palaeoclimatological studies. Here, I introduce a new R package (crestr) to apply the PDF-based method CREST (Climate REconstruction SofTware) on diverse palaeoecological datasets and address these problems. crestr includes a globally curated calibration dataset for six common climate proxies (i.e. plants, beetles, chironomids, rodents, foraminifera, and dinoflagellate cysts) associated with an extensive range of climate variables (20 terrestrial and 19 marine variables) that enables its use in most terrestrial and marine environments. Private data collections can also be used instead of, or in combination with, the provided calibration dataset. The package includes a suite of graphical diagnostic tools to represent the data at each step of the reconstruction process and provide insights into the effect of the different modelling assumptions and external factors that underlie a reconstruction. With this R package, the CREST method can now be used in a scriptable environment and thus be more easily integrated with existing workflows. It is hoped that crestr will be used to produce the much-needed quantified climate reconstructions from the many regions where they are currently lacking, despite the availability of suitable fossil records. To support this development, the use of the package is illustrated with a step-by-step replication of a 790 000-year-long mean annual temperature reconstruction based on a pollen record from southeastern Africa.

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. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10340-022-01479-3

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…

Vasconcelos, T., J. D. Boyko, and J. M. Beaulieu. 2021. Linking mode of seed dispersal and climatic niche evolution in flowering plants. Journal of Biogeography. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14292

Aim: Due to the sessile nature of flowering plants, movements to new geographical areas occur mainly during seed dispersal. Frugivores tend to be efficient dispersers because animals move within the boundaries of their preferable niches, so seeds are more likely to be transported to environments tha…

Christiansen, D. M., L. L. Iversen, J. Ehrlén, and K. Hylander. 2021. Changes in forest structure drive temperature preferences of boreal understorey plant communities. Journal of Ecology 110: 631–643. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13825

The local climate in forest understories can deviate substantially from ambient conditions. Moreover, forest microclimates are often characterized by cyclic changes driven by management activities such as clear-cutting and subsequent planting. To understand how and why understorey plant communities …

Xue, T., S. R. Gadagkar, T. P. Albright, X. Yang, J. Li, C. Xia, J. Wu, and S. Yu. 2021. Prioritizing conservation of biodiversity in an alpine region: Distribution pattern and conservation status of seed plants in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Global Ecology and Conservation 32: e01885. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2021.e01885

The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) harbors abundant and diverse plant life owing to its high habitat heterogeneity. However, the distribution pattern of biodiversity hotspots and their conservation status remain unclear. Based on 148,283 high-resolution occurrence coordinates of 13,450 seed plants, w…

Ma, C.-S., W. Zhang, Y. Peng, F. Zhao, X.-Q. Chang, K. Xing, L. Zhu, et al. 2021. Climate warming promotes pesticide resistance through expanding overwintering range of a global pest. Nature Communications 12. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25505-7

Climate change has the potential to change the distribution of pests globally and their resistance to pesticides, thereby threatening global food security in the 21st century. However, predicting where these changes occur and how they will influence current pest control efforts is a challenge. Using…

Fernández‐López, J., M. T. Telleria, M. Dueñas, T. May, and M. P. Martín. 2021. DNA barcode analyses improve accuracy in fungal species distribution models. Ecology and Evolution 11: 8993–9009. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7737

Species distribution models based on environmental predictors are useful to explain a species geographic range. For many groups of organisms, including fungi, the increase in occurrence data sets has generalized their use. However, fungal species are not always easy to distinguish, and taxonomy of m…

Bontrager, M., T. Usui, J. A. Lee‐Yaw, D. N. Anstett, H. A. Branch, A. L. Hargreaves, C. D. Muir, and A. L. Angert. 2021. Adaptation across geographic ranges is consistent with strong selection in marginal climates and legacies of range expansion. Evolution 75: 1316–1333. https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.14231

Every species experiences limits to its geographic distribution. Some evolutionary models predict that populations at range edges are less well‐adapted to their local environments due to drift, expansion load, or swamping gene flow from the range interior. Alternatively, populations near range edges…