Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Ortego, J., S. Kaya, B. Çıplak, and L. Lacey Knowles. 2023. Microgeographic speciation in a complex of Anatolian bush crickets facilitated by fast evolution of reproductive isolation. Journal of Evolutionary Biology.

Identifying the drivers of microgeographic speciation (i.e., speciation over small, local geographic scales) is key to understand the origin of speciose groups. Here, we use genomic data to infer the demographic processes underlying diversification in Poecilimon luschani (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae), a species complex belonging to the most diverse genus of bush crickets from the Mediterranean region (>170 taxa) that comprises three recognized subspecies with small allopatric distributions in the topographically complex Teke Peninsula, southwestern Anatolia. Phylogenomic reconstructions that include all other taxa within the species group confirmed that subspecies of P. luschani originated from a common ancestor during the Pleistocene, supporting recent (<1 Ma) diversification within a small geographical area (ca. 120 × 80 km). Genetic clustering analyses corroborated the distinctiveness of each subspecies and the cohesiveness of their respective populations, with abrupt genetic discontinuities coinciding with contemporary range boundaries. Indeed, our analyses uncovered the presence of two sympatric cryptic sister lineages that diverged <300 ka ago and do not admix despite being co-distributed. Collectively, these results support that all lineages within the complex represent independently evolving entities corresponding to full-fledged species. Statistical evaluation of alternative models of speciation strongly supports a scenario of divergence in isolation followed by a period of limited gene flow during the last glacial period, when all lineages experienced marked expansions according to demographic reconstructions. Our study exemplifies how localized allopatric divergence and fast evolution of reproductive isolation can promote microgeographic speciation and explain the high rates of endemism characterizing biodiversity hotspots.

Kor, L., and M. Diazgranados. 2023. Identifying important plant areas for useful plant species in Colombia. Biological Conservation 284: 110187.

While area-based approaches continue to dominate biodiversity conservation, there is growing recognition of the importance of the human dimensions of biodiversity. We applied the Important Plant Areas (IPA) approach in Colombia to identify key sites for the conservation of plant species with reported human uses. Drawing on the Checklist of Useful Plants of Colombia, we collated 1,045,889 clean occurrence records for 5400 native species from global data repositories and digitized herbaria. Through analysis based on regionalized grid cells, we identified 980 sites meeting IPA thresholds. These are primarily located in forest habitats, with only 19.8 % within existing national natural parks or internationally designated conservation areas. Grid cells were transformed to polygons based on overlapping ecosystems and administrative boundaries to form more meaningful site boundaries. A subsequent two-stage ranking procedure based on conservation value and richness found 46 sites to be of high priority, with 10 selected as top priorities for further investigation and conservation action. These 10 sites support significant populations of 33 threatened useful plant species and represent six of the 13 bioregions of Colombia in just 0.27 % of its land area. To progress from potential to confirmed IPAs, targeted fieldwork is required alongside stakeholder engagement and consultation, crucially involving local resource users. As a megadiverse country ranked second in the world for its botanical richness, effective IPA management would not only contribute to Colombian targets for sustainable development and conservation but would also support global targets to recover biodiversity for both planet and people.

Li, X., B. Li, G. Wang, X. Zhan, and M. Holyoak. 2020. Deeply digging the interaction effect in multiple linear regressions using a fractional-power interaction term. MethodsX 7: 101067.

In multiple regression Y ~ β0 + β1X1 + β2X2 + β3X1 X2 + ɛ., the interaction term is quantified as the product of X1 and X2. We developed fractional-power interaction regression (FPIR), using βX1M X2N as the interaction term. The rationale of FPIR is that the slopes of Y-X1 regression along the X2 gr…

Piel, W. H. 2018. The global latitudinal diversity gradient pattern in spiders. Journal of Biogeography 45: 1896–1904.

Aim: The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that the global latitudinal diversity gradient pattern in spiders is pear‐shaped, with maximum species diversity shifted south of the Equator, rather than egg‐shaped, centred on the equator, this study infers the gradient using two large datasets…

Uludag, A., N. Aksoy, A. Yazlık, Z. F. Arslan, E. Yazmış, I. Uremis, T. A. Cossu, et al. 2017. Alien flora of Turkey: checklist, taxonomic composition and ecological attributes. NeoBiota 35: 61–85.

The paper provides an updated checklist of the alien flora of Turkey with information on its structure. The alien flora of Turkey comprises 340 taxa, among which there are 321 angiosperms, 17 gymnosperms and two ferns. Of the total number of taxa, 228 (68%) are naturalized and 112 (32%) are casual. …