Science Enabled by Specimen Data
Robin-Champigneul, F., J. Gravendyck, H. Huang, A. Woutersen, D. Pocknall, N. Meijer, G. Dupont-Nivet, et al. 2023. Northward expansion of the southern-temperate podocarp forest during the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum: Palynological evidence from the NE Tibetan Plateau (China). Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology: 104914. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.revpalbo.2023.104914
The debated vegetation response to climate change can be investigated through palynological fossil records from past extreme climate conditions. In this context, the early Eocene (53.3 to 41.2 million years ago (Ma)) is often referred to as a model for a greenhouse Earth. In the Xining Basin, situated on the North-eastern Tibetan Plateau (NETP), this time interval is represented by an extensive and well-dated sedimentary sequence of evaporites and red mudstones. Here we focus on the palynological record of the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO; 53.3 to 49.1 Ma) and study the fossil gymnosperm pollen composition in these sediments. In addition, we also investigate the nearest living relatives (NLR) or botanical affinity of these genera and the paleobiogeographic implications of their occurrence in the Eocene of the NETP. To reach our objective, we complemented transmitted light microscopy with laser scanning- and electron microscopy techniques, to produce high-resolution images, and illustrate the morphological variation within fossil and extant gymnosperm pollen. Furthermore, a morphometric analysis was carried out to investigate the infra- and intrageneric variation of these and related taxa. To place the data in context we produced paleobiogeographic maps for Phyllocladidites and for other Podocarpaceae, based on data from a global fossil pollen data base, and compare these with modern records from GBIF. We also assessed the climatic envelope of the NLR. Our analyses confirm the presence of Phyllocladidites (NLR Phyllocladus, Podocarpaceae) and Podocarpidites (NLR Podocarpus, Podocarpaceae) in the EECO deposits in the Xining Basin. In addition, a comparative study based on literature suggests that Parcisporites is likely a younger synonym of Phyllocladidites. Our findings further suggest that the Phyllocladidites specimens are derived from a lineage that was much more diverse than previously thought, and which had a much larger biogeographical distribution during the EECO than at present. Based on the climatic envelope of the NLR, we suggest that the paleoclimatic conditions in the Xining Basin were warmer and more humid during the EECO. We conclude that phylloclade-type conifers typical of the southern-temperate podocarp forests, had a northward geographical expansion during the EECO, followed by extirpation.
Jiménez-López, D. A., M. J. Carmona-Higuita, G. Mendieta-Leiva, R. Martínez-Camilo, A. Espejo-Serna, T. Krömer, N. Martínez-Meléndez, and N. Ramírez-Marcial. 2023. Linking different resources to recognize vascular epiphyte richness and distribution in a mountain system in southeastern Mexico. Flora: 152261. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.flora.2023.152261
Mesoamerican mountains are important centers of endemism and diversity of epiphytes. The Sierra Madre of Chiapas in southeastern Mexico is a mountainous region of great ecological interest due to its high biological richness. We present the first checklist of epiphytes for this region based on a compilation of various information sources. In addition, we determined the conservation status for each species based on the Mexican Official Standard (NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010), endemism based on geopolitical boundaries, spatial completeness with inventory completeness index, richness distribution with range maps, and the relationship between climatic variables (temperature and rainfall) with species richness using generalized additive models. Our dataset includes 9,799 records collected between 1896-2017. Our checklist includes 708 epiphytes within 160 genera and 26 families; the most species-rich family was Orchidaceae (355 species), followed by Bromeliaceae (82) and Polypodiaceae (79). There were 74 species within a category of risk and 59 species considered endemic. Completeness of epiphyte richness suggests that sampling is still largely incomplete, particularly in the lower parts of the mountain system. Species and family range maps show the highest richness at high elevations, while geographically richness increases towards the southeast. Epiphyte richness increases with increased rainfall, although a unimodal pattern was observed along the temperature gradient with a species richness peak between 16-20 C°. The Sierra Madre of Chiapas forms a refuge to more than 40% of all epiphytes reported for Mexico and its existing network of protected areas overlaps with the greatest epiphyte richness.
Lozano, V., M. Di Febbraro, G. Brundu, M. L. Carranza, A. Alessandrini, N. M. G. Ardenghi, E. Barni, et al. 2023. Plant invasion risk inside and outside protected areas: Propagule pressure, abiotic and biotic factors definitively matter. Science of The Total Environment 877: 162993. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.162993
Invasive alien species are among the main global drivers of biodiversity loss posing major challenges to nature conservation and to managers of protected areas.The present study applied a methodological framework that combined invasive Species Distribution Models, based on propagule pressure, abiotic and biotic factors for 14 invasive alien plants of Union concern in Italy, with the local interpretable model-agnostic explanation analysis aiming to map, evaluate and analyse the risk of plant invasions across the country, inside and outside the network of protected areas.Using a hierarchical invasive Species Distribution Model, we explored the combined effect of propagule pressure, abiotic and biotic factors on shaping invasive alien plant occurrence across three biogeographic regions (Alpine, Continental, and Mediterranean) and realms (terrestrial and aquatic) in Italy. We disentangled the role of propagule pressure, abiotic and biotic factors on invasive alien plant distribution and projected invasion risk maps. We compared the risk posed by invasive alien plants inside and outside protected areas.Invasive alien plant distribution varied across biogeographic regions and realms and unevenly threatens protected areas. As an alien's occurrence and risk on a national scale are linked with abiotic factors followed by propagule pressure, their local distribution in protected areas is shaped by propagule pressure and biotic filters. The proposed modelling framework for the assessment of the risk posed by invasive alien plants across spatial scales and under different protection regimes represents an attempt to fill the gap between theory and practice in conservation planning helping to identify scale, site, and species-specific priorities of management, monitoring and control actions. Based on solid theory and on free geographic information, it has great potential for application to wider networks of protected areas in the world and to any invasive alien plant, aiding improved management strategies claimed by the environmental legislation and national and global strategies.
Huang, T., J. Chen, K. E. Hummer, L. A. Alice, W. Wang, Y. He, S. Yu, et al. 2023. Phylogeny of Rubus (Rosaceae): Integrating molecular and morphological evidence into an infrageneric revision. TAXON. https://doi.org/10.1002/tax.12885
Rubus (Rosaceae), one of the most complicated angiosperm genera, contains about 863 species, and is notorious for its taxonomic difficulty. The most recent (1910–1914) global taxonomic treatment of the genus was conducted by Focke, who defined 12 subgenera. Phylogenetic results over the past 25 years suggest that Focke's subdivisions of Rubus are not monophyletic, and large‐scale taxonomic revisions are necessary. Our objective was to provide a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of the genus based on an integrative evidence approach. Morphological characters, obtained from our own investigation of living plants and examination of herbarium specimens are combined with chloroplast genomic data. Our dataset comprised 196 accessions representing 145 Rubus species (including cultivars and hybrids) and all of Focke's subgenera, including 60 endemic Chinese species. Maximum likelihood analyses inferred phylogenetic relationships. Our analyses concur with previous molecular studies, but with modifications. Our data strongly support the reclassification of several subgenera within Rubus. Our molecular analyses agree with others that only R. subg. Anoplobatus forms a monophyletic group. Other subgenera are para‐ or polyphyletic. We suggest a revised subgeneric framework to accommodate monophyletic groups. Character evolution is reconstructed, and diagnostic morphological characters for different clades are identified and discussed. Based on morphological and molecular evidence, we propose a new classification system with 10 subgenera: R. subg. Anoplobatus, R. subg. Batothamnus, R. subg. Chamaerubus, R. subg. Cylactis, R. subg. Dalibarda, R. subg. Idaeobatus, R. subg. Lineati, R. subg. Malachobatus, R. subg. Melanobatus, and R. subg. Rubus. The revised infrageneric nomenclature inferred from our analyses is provided along with synonymy and type citations. Our new taxonomic backbone is the first systematic and complete global revision of Rubus since Focke's treatment. It offers new insights into deep phylogenetic relationships of Rubus and has important theoretical and practical significance for the development and utilization of these important agronomic crops.
Reichgelt, T., A. Baumgartner, R. Feng, and D. A. Willard. 2023. Poleward amplification, seasonal rainfall and forest heterogeneity in the Miocene of the eastern USA. Global and Planetary Change 222: 104073. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2023.104073
Paleoclimate reconstructions can provide a window into the environmental conditions in Earth history when atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were higher than today. In the eastern USA, paleoclimate reconstructions are sparse, because terrestrial sedimentary deposits are rare. Despite this, the eastern USA has the largest population and population density in North America, and understanding the effects of current and future climate change is of vital importance. Here, we provide terrestrial paleoclimate reconstructions of the eastern USA from Miocene fossil floras. Additionally, we compare proxy paleoclimate reconstructions from the warmest period in the Miocene, the Miocene Climatic Optimum (MCO), to those of an MCO Earth System Model. Reconstructed Miocene temperatures and precipitation north of 35°N are higher than modern. In contrast, south of 35°N, temperatures and precipitation are similar to today, suggesting a poleward amplification effect in eastern North America. Reconstructed Miocene rainfall seasonality was predominantly higher than modern, regardless of latitude, indicating greater variability in intra-annual moisture transport. Reconstructed climates are almost uniformly in the temperate seasonal forest biome, but heterogeneity of specific forest types is evident. Reconstructed Miocene terrestrial temperatures from the eastern USA are lower than modeled temperatures and coeval Atlantic sea surface temperatures. However, reconstructed rainfall is consistent with modeled rainfall. Our results show that during the Miocene, climate was most different from modern in the northeastern states, and may suggest a drastic reduction in the meridional temperature gradient along the North American east coast compared to today.
Zhou, R., X. Ci, J. Hu, X. Zhang, G. Cao, J. Xiao, Z. Liu, et al. 2023. Transitional areas of vegetation as biodiversity hotspots evidenced by multifaceted biodiversity analysis of a dominant group in Chinese evergreen broad-leaved forests. Ecological Indicators 147: 110001. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2023.110001
Species in transitional areas often display adaptive responses to climate change and such areas may be crucial for long-term biodiversity conservation. Evaluation of spatial multidimensional biodiversity patterns and the identification of biodiversity hotspots and priority conservation areas may help mitigate the effects of climate change. Here, we examine the spatial distribution patterns, evolutionary and functional levels of Lauraceae from Chinese evergreen broad-leaved forests. The results show species richness (SR), corrected weighted endemism (CWE), phylogenetic diversity (PD), and phylogenetic endemism (PE) for Chinese Lauraceae are congruent, whereas evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered (EDGE) and function diversity (FD) are incongruent. Areas of paleo-endemism are present in the border region of Yunnan and Guangxi, whereas neo-endemic regions are distributed mainly along the Yarlung Zangbo River and the Himalayas in southern Tibet. Priority conservation areas are located in southern Tibet, the northern Hengduan Mountains, the north–south boundary of Qinling and Huaihe River, southern and south-eastern Yunnan, and south China. Biodiversity hotspots for Chinese Lauraceae overlap with transitional zones for several other vegetation types in adjacent areas. Climate factors are estimated to account for 82.72% of the SR and 86.86% of the PD for Lauraceae spatial distribution patterns, reflecting higher diversity under warmer and wetter conditions. This study confirms the conservation value of transitional areas and the significance of using multiple diversity facets as part of integrative approaches to maximize biodiversity protection in Chinese broad-leaved forests, especially under climate change.
Adhikari, P., Y.-H. Lee, A. Poudel, G. Lee, S.-H. Hong, and Y.-S. Park. 2023. Predicting the Impact of Climate Change on the Habitat Distribution of Parthenium hysterophorus around the World and in South Korea. Biology 12: 84. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12010084
The global climate change, including increases in temperature and precipitation, may exacerbate the invasion by P. hysterophorus. Here, MaxEnt modeling was performed to predict P. hysterophorus distribution worldwide and in South Korea under the current and future climate global climate changes, including increases in temperature and precipitation. Under the current climate, P. hysterophorus was estimated to occupy 91.26%, 83.26%, and 62.75% of the total land area of Australia, South America, and Oceania, respectively. However, under future climate scenarios, the habitat distribution of P. hysterophorus would show the greatest change in Europe (56.65%) and would extend up to 65°N by 2081–2100 in South Korea, P. hysterophorus currently potentially colonizing 2.24% of the land area, particularly in six administrative divisions. In the future, P. hysterophorus would spread rapidly, colonizing all administrative divisions, except Incheon, by 2081–2100. Additionally, the southern and central regions of South Korea showed greater habitat suitability than the northern region. These findings suggest that future climate change will increase P. hysterophorus distribution both globally and locally. Therefore, effective control and management strategies should be employed around the world and in South Korea to restrict the habitat expansion of P. hysterophorus.
Gómez Díaz, J. A., A. Lira-Noriega, and F. Villalobos. 2023. Expanding protected areas in a Neotropical hotspot. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology: 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504509.2022.2163717
The region of central Veracruz is considered a biodiversity hotspot due to its high species richness and environmental heterogeneity, but only 2% of this region is currently protected. This study aimed to assess the current protected area system’s effectiveness and to identify priority conservation areas for expanding the existing protected area system. We used the distribution models of 1186 species from three kingdoms (Animalia, Plantae, and Fungi) together with ZONATION software, a conservation planning tool, to determine areas that could help expand the current network of protected areas. We applied three different parametrizations (including only species, using the boundary quality penalty, and using corridor connectivity). We found that protecting an additional 15% of the area would increase, between 16.2% and 19.3%, the protection of the distribution area of all species. We propose that the regions with a consensus of the three parametrizations should be declared as new protected areas to expand 374 km2 to the 216 km2 already protected. Doing so would double the protected surface in central Veracruz. The priority areas identified in this study have more species richness, carbon stock values, natural vegetation cover, and less human impact index than the existing protected areas. If our identified priority areas are declared protected, we could expect a future recovery of endangered species populations for Veracruz. The proposed new protected areas are planned and designed as corridors connecting currently isolated protected areas to promote biodiversity protection.
Nuñez Landa, M. de L., J. C. Montero Castro, T. C. Monterrubio-Rico, S. I. Lara-Cabrera, and D. A. Prieto-Torres. 2023. Predicting co-distribution patterns of parrots and woody plants under global changes: The case of the Lilac-crowned Amazon and Neotropical dry forests. Journal for Nature Conservation 71: 126323. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnc.2022.126323
Global climate and land-use changes are the most significant causes of the current habitat loss and biodiversity crisis. Although there is information measuring these global changes, we lack a full understanding of how they impact community assemblies and species interactions across ecosystems. Herein, we assessed the potential distribution of eight key woody plant species associated with the habitat of the endangered Lilac-crowned Amazon (Amazon finschi) under global changes scenarios (2050′s and 2070′s), to answer the following questions: (1) how do predicted climate and land-use changes impact these species’ individual distributions and co-distribution patterns?; and (2) how effective is the existing Protected Area network for safeguarding the parrot species, the plant species, and their biological interactions? Our projections were consistent identifying the species that are most vulnerable to climate change. The distribution ranges of most of the species tended to decrease under future climates. These effects were strongly exacerbated when incorporating land-use changes into models. Even within existing protected areas, >50 % of the species’ remaining distribution and sites with the highest plant richness were predicted to be lost in the future under these combined scenarios. Currently, both individual species ranges and sites of highest richness of plants, shelter a high proportion (ca. 40 %) of the Lilac-crowned Amazon distribution. However, this spatial congruence could be reduced in the future, potentially disrupting the ecological associations among these taxa. We provide novel evidence for decision-makers to enhance conservation efforts to attain the long-term protection of this endangered Mexican endemic parrot and its habitat.
Vieira, M., R. Zetter, F. Grímsson, and T. Denk. 2023. Niche evolution versus niche conservatism and habitat loss determine persistence and extirpation in late Neogene European Fagaceae. Quaternary Science Reviews 300: 107896. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2022.107896
An increasing body of palaeobotanical data demonstrates a series of Pliocene and Pleistocene extirpations and extinctions of plant lineages in western Eurasia, which are believed to have been determined by the climatic properties of their related East Asian and North American sister lineages. We investigated the diversity of a widespread northern hemispheric plant family, Fagaceae, during the Late Pliocene of Portugal. We found a high diversity of Fagaceae comprising extant and extinct lineages. Dispersed pollen of Castanopsis and Quercus sect. Cyclobalanopsis represent the youngest records of these Himalayan-Southeast Asian groups in western Eurasia. Likewise, fossil-species of Quercus sect. Lobatae and the North American clade of sect. Quercus are the youngest records of these modern New World groups in western Eurasia. For the extinct Trigonobalanopsis, the pollen record of Portugal is the youngest known of this genus. Climate data of modern representatives demonstrate that a deterministic model can explain only a part of the Pliocene and Pleistocene extirpations. Modern cold month mean temperatures of Castanopsis and Quercus sect. Cyclobalanopsis and their last occurrences in western Eurasia in the Pliocene fit with a deterministic model (niche conservatism). In contrast, survival or extirpation of groups with high cold tolerance appear to have been more complex. Here, niche evolution, abundance and diversity of a lineage during pre-Pleistocene times, and habitat availability/loss determined the fate of Fagaceae lineages in western Eurasia.