Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Mitka, J., A. Wróblewska, P. Boroń, S. Kucharzyk, and A. Stachurska-Swakoń. 2023. Perhaps there were northern refugia in LGM? The phylogeographic structure of the thermophilic tree Carpinus betulus in the Carpathian region. Science of The Total Environment 905: 167214. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.167214

Carpinus betulus L., the hornbeam, is a component of lowland and highland forests in Europe. By examining the postglacial migratory history of thermophilic tree species, the study aimed to unravel their putative glacial microrefugia in the Carpathian region. The present study points to the two distinct genetic AFLP groups of C. betulus in the Carpathian region that represent different genetic lineages based on Bayesian analysis. They differed in Nei's gene diversity index h, and the analysis of molecular variance AMOVA showed a percentage variation of the populations between the groups of 13.74 %. Principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) of 368 AFLP tree samples confirmed the presence of two genetic groups. Ninety-five populations underwent principal component analysis (PCA) to show the main correlations between genetic diversity indices and bioclimatic/climate variables (WorldClim and Carpatclim). The generalized logistic model (GLM) showed the significance of Nei's genetic index h in delimiting genetic groups. The results of population-genetic and multivariate analyses determined that the two genetic groups nowadays are spatially diffused and do not show a clear geographic pattern, pointing to a genetic melting pot. We found ecological links between genetic diversity and bioclimatic characteristics, especially the precipitation in the coldest quarter – Bio19. The refugial Maxent model indicates a significant contribution of the Bio7 variable (both linked with a continental type of climate) to the occurrence of the species during the LGM in Europe. We suggest the relict character of hornbeam populations in a specific climatic-terrain niche in the northern part of the Carpathian Basin.

Pang, S. E. H., Y. Zeng, J. D. T. Alban, and E. L. Webb. 2022. Occurrence–habitat mismatching and niche truncation when modelling distributions affected by anthropogenic range contractions B. Leroy [ed.],. Diversity and Distributions 28: 1327–1343. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.13544

Aims Human-induced pressures such as deforestation cause anthropogenic range contractions (ARCs). Such contractions present dynamic distributions that may engender data misrepresentations within species distribution models. The temporal bias of occurrence data—where occurrences represent distributions before (past bias) or after (recent bias) ARCs—underpins these data misrepresentations. Occurrence–habitat mismatching results when occurrences sampled before contractions are modelled with contemporary anthropogenic variables; niche truncation results when occurrences sampled after contractions are modelled without anthropogenic variables. Our understanding of their independent and interactive effects on model performance remains incomplete but is vital for developing good modelling protocols. Through a virtual ecologist approach, we demonstrate how these data misrepresentations manifest and investigate their effects on model performance. Location Virtual Southeast Asia. Methods Using 100 virtual species, we simulated ARCs with 100-year land-use data and generated temporally biased (past and recent) occurrence datasets. We modelled datasets with and without a contemporary land-use variable (conventional modelling protocols) and with a temporally dynamic land-use variable. We evaluated each model's ability to predict historical and contemporary distributions. Results Greater ARC resulted in greater occurrence–habitat mismatching for datasets with past bias and greater niche truncation for datasets with recent bias. Occurrence–habitat mismatching prevented models with the contemporary land-use variable from predicting anthropogenic-related absences, causing overpredictions of contemporary distributions. Although niche truncation caused underpredictions of historical distributions (environmentally suitable habitats), incorporating the contemporary land-use variable resolved these underpredictions, even when mismatching occurred. Models with the temporally dynamic land-use variable consistently outperformed models without. Main conclusions We showed how these data misrepresentations can degrade model performance, undermining their use for empirical research and conservation science. Given the ubiquity of ARCs, these data misrepresentations are likely inherent to most datasets. Therefore, we present a three-step strategy for handling data misrepresentations: maximize the temporal range of anthropogenic predictors, exclude mismatched occurrences and test for residual data misrepresentations.

García, R. M., J. Martínez-Fernández, A. Rodríguez, and A. de la Torre. 2022. Identification of sentinel plant species for evaluating phytotoxicity of veterinary antibiotics in Mediterranean Europe. Environmental Sciences Europe 34. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12302-022-00608-0

Background Antibiotics used to treat livestock species enter agricultural fields when they are excreted by grazing animals or are present in manure that is added to fields as fertiliser. In the European Union, the potential effects of such antibiotics on terrestrial plants must be evaluated following the standardised OECD 208 method, which specifies the crop and wild species that should serve as “sentinels” for assessing antibiotic exposure. The present study aimed to compare this approved list of sentinel species against crop and wild plant species actually present in agricultural and pasture lands in Mediterranean Europe in order to identify the most appropriate sentinel plants for the region. The study focused on Spain as a region representative of Mediterranean Europe. Georeferenced layers for wild plant species and cultivated areas (crops), livestock density and land cover were combined, and then selection criteria were applied, leading to the identification of sentinel crop and wild species for crop land and pasture scenarios. Results In the crop land scenario, the sentinel crop species were barley ( Hordeum vulgare L.), wheat ( Triticum spp.), corn (Zea mays L), sunflower ( Helianthus annuus L.), dried pea ( Pisum sativum L.), alfalfa ( Medicago sativa L.), vetch ( Vicia sativa L.), oilseed rape ( Brassica napus L.) and sugar beet ( Saccharum officinarum L.), all of them listed in the OECD 208 method with the exception of alfalfa; the sentinel wild species were Papaver rhoeas  L., Galium aparine L. and Chenopodium album  L. In the pasture scenario, sentinel wild species were Bromus tectorum  L., Agrostis capillaris  L., Trifolium pratense  L., Lotus corniculatus L. and Galium aparine  L. The following common weed species in field boundaries or in pasture lands also emerged as potential sentinel species for risk assessment, even though they are not listed in the OECD 208 method: Sonchus oleraceus  L., Avena sterilis  L., Dactylis glomerata  L., Hordeum murinum L. and Lolium rigidum Gaudin. Conclusions The sentinel species identified in this study may be useful in risk assessment procedures covering the Mediterranean Europe. The method developed for this study could be applied to identify sentinel species for other representative agroclimatic regions in Europe (such as Atlantic and Continental).

Okamura, Y., A. Sato, L. Kawaguchi, A. J. Nagano, M. Murakami, H. Vogel, and J. Kroymann. 2022. Microevolution of Pieris butterfly genes involved in host plant adaptation along a host plant community cline. Molecular Ecology 31: 3083–3097. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.16447

Herbivorous insects have evolved counteradaptations to overcome the chemical defenses of their host plants. Several of these counteradaptations have been elucidated at the molecular level, in particular for insects specialized on cruciferous host plants. While the importance of these counteradaptations for host plant colonization is well established, little is known about their microevolutionary dynamics in the field. In particular, it is not known whether and how host plant diversity shapes diversity in insect counteradaptations. In this study, we examine patterns of host plant use and insect counteradaptation in three Pieris butterfly species across Japan. The larvae of these butterflies express nitrile‐specifier protein (NSP) and its paralog major allergen (MA) in their gut to overcome the highly diversified glucosinolate‐myrosinase defense system of their cruciferous host plants. Pieris napi and Pieris melete colonize wild Brassicaceae whereas Pieris rapae typically uses cultivated Brassica as a host, regardless of the local composition of wild crucifers. As expected, NSP and MA diversity was independent of the local composition of wild Brassicaceae in P. rapae. In contrast, NSP diversity correlated with local host plant diversity in both species that preferred wild Brassicaceae. P. melete and P. napi both revealed two distinct major NSP alleles, which shaped diversity among local populations, albeit with different evolutionary trajectories. In comparison, MA showed no indication for local adaptation. Altogether, MA appeared to be evolutionary more conserved than NSP, suggesting that both genes play different roles in diverting host plant chemical defense.

Filartiga, A. L., A. Klimeš, J. Altman, M. P. Nobis, A. Crivellaro, F. Schweingruber, and J. Doležal. 2022. Comparative anatomy of leaf petioles in temperate trees and shrubs: the role of plant size, environment and phylogeny. Annals of Botany 129: 567–582. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcac014

Background and Aims Petioles are important plant organs connecting stems with leaf blades and affecting light-harvesting ability of the leaf as well as transport of water, nutrients and biochemical signals. Despite the high diversity in petiole size, shape and anatomy, little information is availabl…

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…

Araki, K. S., M. Tsujimoto, T. Iwasaki, and H. Kudoh. 2021. Life‐history monographs of Japanese plants 14: Cardamine leucantha (Tausch) O. E. Schulz (Brassicaceae). Plant Species Biology 36: 542–553. https://doi.org/10.1111/1442-1984.12345

The life-history characteristics of Cardamine leucantha (Tausch) O. E. Schulz (Brassicaceae) are described. The species is an herbaceous perennial that favors open but relatively moist habitats. It is distributed from Kyushu to Hokkaido in Japan but also occurs in Korea, Mongolia, China and the Russ…

El Zein, H., and M. Bou Dagher-Kharrat. 2021. New records of vascular plants for the flora of Lebanon: a rare species rediscovered after seventy years, Daphne pontica L. (Thymelaeaceae), and three new occurrences, Atropa bella-donna L. (Solanaceae), Circaea lutetiana L. (Onagraceae), and Euonymus latifolius (L.) Mill. (Celastraceae). Check List 17: 655–667. https://doi.org/10.15560/17.2.655

During a series of surveys in two valleys of Mount Lebanon between 2014 and 2020, four new occurrences of vascular plants were detected. Atropa bella-donna L. (Solanaceae, Spermatophyte), Circaea lutetiana L. (Onagraceae, Spermatophyte), and Euonymus latifolius (L.) Mill. (Celastraceae, Spermatophyt…

Briscoe Runquist, R. D., T. A. Lake, and D. A. Moeller. 2021. Improving predictions of range expansion for invasive species using joint species distribution models and surrogate co‐occurring species. Journal of Biogeography 48: 1693–1705. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14105

Aims: Species distribution models (SDMs) are often used to forecast potential distributions of important invasive or rare species. However, situations where models could be the most valuable ecologically or economically, such as for predicting invasion risk, often pose the greatest challenges to SDM…