Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Chevalier, M., Chase, B. M., Quick, L. J., Dupont, L. M., & Johnson, T. C. (2020). Temperature change in subtropical southeastern Africa during the past 790,000 yr. Geology. doi:10.1130/g47841.1 https://doi.org/10.1130/G47841.1

Across the glacial-interglacial cycles of the late Pleistocene (~700 k.y.), temperature variability at low latitudes is often considered to have been negligible compared to changes in precipitation. However, a paucity of quantified temperature records makes this difficult to reliably assess. In this…

De Jesús Hernández-Hernández, M., Cruz, J. A., & Castañeda-Posadas, C. (2020). Paleoclimatic and vegetation reconstruction of the miocene southern Mexico using fossil flowers. Journal of South American Earth Sciences, 104, 102827. doi:10.1016/j.jsames.2020.102827 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsames.2020.102827

Concern about the course of the current environmental problems has raised interest in investigating the different scenarios that have taken place in our planet throughout time. To that end, different methodologies have been employed in order to determine the different variables that compose the envi…

Davies, T. J., Daru, B. H., Bezeng, B. S., Charles-Dominique, T., Hempson, G. P., Kabongo, R. M., … Bond, W. J. (2020). Savanna tree evolutionary ages inform the reconstruction of the paleoenvironment of our hominin ancestors. Scientific Reports, 10(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-020-69378-0 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-69378-0

Ideas on hominin evolution have long invoked the emergence from forests into open habitats as generating selection for traits such as bipedalism and dietary shifts. Though controversial, the savanna hypothesis continues to motivate research into the palaeo-environments of Africa. Reconstruction of t…

Van Treuren, R., Hoekstra, R., Wehrens, R., & van Hintum, T. (2020). Effects of climate change on the distribution of crop wild relatives in the Netherlands in relation to conservation status and ecotope variation. Global Ecology and Conservation, 23, e01054. doi:10.1016/j.gecco.2020.e01054 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2020.e01054

Crop wild relatives (CWR) are wild plant taxa that are genetically related to a cultivated species and are considered rich sources of useful traits for crop improvement. CWR are generally underrepresented in genebanks, while their survival in nature is not guaranteed. Inventories and risk analyses a…

Goodwin, Z. A., Muñoz-Rodríguez, P., Harris, D. J., Wells, T., Wood, J. R. I., Filer, D., & Scotland, R. W. (2020). How long does it take to discover a species? Systematics and Biodiversity, 1–10. doi:10.1080/14772000.2020.1751339 https://doi.org/10.1080/14772000.2020.1751339

The description of a new species is a key step in cataloguing the World’s flora. However, this is only a preliminary stage in a long process of understanding what that species represents. We investigated how long the species discovery process takes by focusing on three key stages: 1, the collection …

Reginato, M., Vasconcelos, T. N. C., Kriebel, R., & Simões, A. O. (2020). Is dispersal mode a driver of diversification and geographical distribution in the tropical plant family Melastomataceae? Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 148, 106815. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2020.106815 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2020.106815

Species of plants with different life history strategies may differ in their seed dispersal mechanisms, impacting their distribution and diversification patterns. Shorter or longer distance dispersal is favored by different dispersal modes, facilitating (or constraining) population isolation, which …

Klages, J. P., Salzmann, U., Bickert, T., Hillenbrand, C.-D., Gohl, K., … Dziadek, R. (2020). Temperate rainforests near the South Pole during peak Cretaceous warmth. Nature, 580(7801), 81–86. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2148-5 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2148-5

The mid-Cretaceous period was one of the warmest intervals of the past 140 million years1,2,3,4,5, driven by atmospheric carbon dioxide levels of around 1,000 parts per million by volume6. In the near absence of proximal geological records from south of the Antarctic Circle, it is disputed whether p…

Ringelberg, J. J., Zimmermann, N. E., Weeks, A., Lavin, M., & Hughes, C. E. (2020). Biomes as evolutionary arenas: Convergence and conservatism in the trans‐continental succulent biome. Global Ecology and Biogeography. doi:10.1111/geb.13089 https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.13089

Aim: Historically, biomes have been defined based on their structurally and functionally similar vegetation, but there is debate about whether these similarities are superficial, and about how biomes are defined and mapped. We propose that combined assessment of evolutionary convergence of plant fun…

Ortiz-Rodriguez, A. E., Licona-Vera, Y., Vásquez-Aguilar, A. A., Hernández-Soto, M., López-Huicochea, E. A., & Ornelas, J. F. (2020). Genetic differentiation among Psittacanthus rhynchanthus (Loranthaceae) populations: novel phylogeographic patterns in the Mesoamerican tropical lowlands. Plant Systematics and Evolution, 306(1). doi:10.1007/s00606-020-01638-y https://doi.org/10.1007/s00606-020-01638-y

Historical geological events and climatic changes have played important roles in shaping population differentiation and distribution within species. In this study, we analysed the distribution, expansion and colonization patterns, and genetic differentiation among Psittacanthus rhynchanthus populati…

Kass, J. M., Anderson, R. P., Espinosa‐Lucas, A., Juárez‐Jaimes, V., Martínez‐Salas, E., Botello, F., … Sánchez‐Cordero, V. (2019). Biotic predictors with phenological information improve range estimates for migrating monarch butterflies in Mexico. Ecography. doi:10.1111/ecog.04886 https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.04886

Although long‐standing theory suggests that biotic variables are only relevant at local scales for explaining the patterns of species’ distributions, recent studies have demonstrated improvements to species distribution models (SDMs) by incorporating predictor variables informed by biotic interactio…