Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Baldó, F., A. De Carlos, and R. Bañón. 2024. On the occurrence of a post‐larval specimen of Brosme brosme (Gadiformes: Lotidae) on Porcupine Bank (west Ireland). Journal of Fish Biology.

The occurrence of a small specimen of Brosme brosme (Gadiformes: Lotidae) from the Porcupine Bank is reported. A single specimen with a total length of 73.2 mm was caught with bottom trawl at a depth of 322 m depth in 2017. The specimen was identified morphologically and confirmed by molecular taxonomy using DNA barcoding. Based on the size and ontogenetic characters found, the specimen was identified as a post‐larval individual, and a pelagic habitat of the specimen seems more likely.

Guillon, M., F. Martínez‐Freiría, N. Lucchini, S. Ursenbacher, Y. Surget‐Groba, M. Kageyama, F. Lagarde, et al. 2024. Inferring current and Last Glacial Maximum distributions are improved by physiology‐relevant climatic variables in cold‐adapted ectotherms. Journal of Biogeography.

Aim Ecological niche‐based models (ENM) frequently rely on bioclimatic variables (BioV) to reconstruct biogeographic scenarios for species evolution, ignoring mechanistic relations. We tested if climatic predictors relevant to species hydric and thermal physiology better proximate distribution patterns and support location of Pleistocene refugia derived from phylogeographic studies.LocationThe Western Palaearctic.TaxonVipera berus and Zootoca vivipara, two cold‐adapted species.MethodsWe used two sets of variables, that is physiologically meaningful climatic variables (PMV) and BioV, in a multi‐algorithm ENM approach, to compare their ability to predict current and Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) species ranges. We estimated current and LGM permafrost extent to address spatially the cold hardiness dissimilarity between both species.ResultsPMV explained more accurately the current distribution of these two cold‐adapted species and identified the importance of summer temperature and solar radiation that constrain activity in cold habitats. PMV also provide a better insight than BioV predictors on LGM distribution. By including notably, the permafrost extent, PMV‐based models gave parsimonious putative arrangement and validity of refugia for each clade and subclade in accordance with phylogeographic data. Northern refugia were also identified from 48 to 52° N for V. berus and from 50 to 54° N for Z. vivipara.Main ConclusionsOur hybrid approach based on PMV generated more realistic predictions for both current (biogeographical validation) and past distributions (phylogeographic validation). By combining constraints during the activity period (summer climatic niche) and those inherent to the wintering period (freeze tolerance), we managed to identify glacial refuges in agreement with phylogeographic hypotheses concerning post‐glacial routes and colonization scenarios.

Krivosheeva, V., A. Solodovnikov, A. Shulepov, D. Semerikova, A. Ivanova, and M. Salnitska. 2023. Assessment of the DNA barcode libraries for the study of the poorly-known rove beetle (Staphylinidae) fauna of West Siberia. Biodiversity Data Journal 11.

Staphylinidae, or rove beetles, are one of the mega-diverse and abundant families of the ground-living terrestrial arthropods that is taxonomically poorly known even in the regions adjacent to Europe where the fauna has been investigated for the longest time. Since DNA barcoding is a tool to accelerate biodiversity research, here we explored if the currently-available COI barcode libraries are representative enough for the study of rove beetles of West Siberia. This is a vast region adjacent to Europe with poorly-known fauna of rove beetles and from where not a single DNA barcode has hitherto been produced for Staphylinidae. First, we investigated the faunal similarity between the rove beetle faunas of the climatically compatible West Siberia in Asia, Fennoscandia in Europe and Canada and Alaska in North America. Second, we investigated barcodes available for Staphylinidae from the latter two regions in BOLD and GenBank, the world's largest DNA barcode libraries. We conclude that the rather different rove beetle faunas of Fennoscandia, on the one hand and Canada and Alaska on the other hand, are well covered in both barcode libraries that complement each other. We also find that even without any barcodes originating from specimens collected in West Siberia, this coverage is helpful for the study of rove beetles there due to the significant number of widespread species shared between West Siberia and Fennoscandia and due to the even larger number of shared genera amongst all three investigated regions. For the first time, we compiled a literature-based checklist for 726 species of the West Siberian Staphylinidae supplemented by their occurrence dataset submitted to GBIF. Our script written for mining unique (i.e. not redundant) barcodes for a given geographic area across global libraries is made available here and can be adopted for any other regions.

Nikkel, E., D. R. Clements, D. Anderson, and J. L. Williams. 2023. Regional habitat suitability for aquatic and terrestrial invasive plant species may expand or contract with climate change. Biological Invasions.

The threat of invasive species to biodiversity and ecosystem structure is exacerbated by the increasingly concerning outlook of predicted climate change and other human influences. Developing preventative management strategies for invasive plant species before they establish is crucial for effective management. To examine how climate change may impact habitat suitability, we modeled the current and future habitat suitability of two terrestrial species, Geranium lucidum and Pilosella officinarum , and two aquatic species, Butomus umbellatus and Pontederia crassipes , that are relatively new invasive plant species regionally, and are currently spreading in the Pacific Northwest (PNW, North America), an area of unique natural areas, vibrant economic activity, and increasing human population. Using North American presence records, downscaled climate variables, and human influence data, we developed an ensemble model of six algorithms to predict the potential habitat suitability under current conditions and projected climate scenarios RCP 4.5, 7.0, and 8.5 for 2050 and 2080. One terrestrial species ( P. officinarum ) showed declining habitat suitability in future climate scenarios (contracted distribution), while the other terrestrial species ( G. lucidum ) showed increased suitability over much of the region (expanded distribution overall). The two aquatic species were predicted to have only moderately increased suitability, suggesting aquatic plant species may be less impacted by climate change. Our research provides a template for regional-scale modelling of invasive species of concern, thus assisting local land managers and practitioners to inform current and future management strategies and to prioritize limited available resources for species with expanding ranges.

Lucchini, N., A. Kaliontzopoulou, O. Lourdais, and F. Martínez‐Freiría. 2023. Climatic adaptation explains responses to Pleistocene oscillations and diversification in European vipers. Journal of Biogeography.

Aim Allopatric speciation is the primary mode of diversification in the Mediterranean Basin. However, the contribution of climatic adaptation during this process is contradictory. In this work, we investigate the eco-evolutionary processes that drove diversification in this region, using European vipers as a case study. We describe the climatic requirements of different lineages to compare their responses to the Pleistocene climatic oscillations and tackle the evolutionary mechanisms underlying their diversification. Location Eurasia and North Africa. Taxon European vipers (genus Vipera). Methods We used ecological niche modelling (ENM) to identify the climatic requirements of 24 Vipera lineages and infer past range dynamics associated with their diversification during the Pleistocene. To test whether climatic niches varied across lineages, we calculated the phylogenetic signal of different climatic variables and examined the relationship with phylogenetic relatedness. To investigate climatic niche evolution and test for phylogenetic niche conservatism (PNC), we quantified pairwise niche overlap in sister phylogenetic units under a 3D hypervolume approach. Results ENM identified temperature annual range, precipitation of wettest month and precipitation of driest quarter as the most important climatic variables related to the distribution of most lineages, validating Pelias clade as cold-adapted, and Vipera 1 and Vipera 2 as warm-adapted clades. Projections to past conditions varied among clades, with Pelias and Vipera 1 having more similar responses, while Vipera 2 exhibited greater variability. We found significant phylogenetic signal in one temperature-related and two humidity-related climatic variables and detected high complexity in ecological niche evolution across the phylogeny, both rejecting the hypothesis of PNC. Main Conclusions Climatic adaptation played a significant role in driving diversification among European vipers. Cold-adapted and warm-adapted lineages presented similar climatic requirements and remarkable responses to Pleistocene stages, resulting in an intricate pattern of niche divergence along the phylogeny that favours local adaptation rather than PNC.

Riddell, E. A., M. Mutanen, and C. K. Ghalambor. 2023. Hydric effects on thermal tolerances influence climate vulnerability in a high‐latitude beetle. Global Change Biology.

Species' thermal tolerances are used to estimate climate vulnerability, but few studies consider the role of the hydric environment in shaping thermal tolerances. As environments become hotter and drier, organisms often respond by limiting water loss to lower the risk of desiccation; however, reducing water loss may produce trade‐offs that lower thermal tolerances if respiration becomes inhibited. Here, we measured the sensitivity of water loss rate and critical thermal maximum (CTmax) to precipitation in nature and laboratory experiments that exposed click beetles (Coleoptera: Elateridae) to acute‐ and long‐term humidity treatments. We also took advantage of their unique clicking behavior to characterize subcritical thermal tolerances. We found higher water loss rates in the dry acclimation treatment compared to the humid, and water loss rates were 3.2‐fold higher for individuals that had experienced a recent precipitation event compared to individuals that had not. Acute humidity treatments did not affect CTmax, but precipitation indirectly affected CTmax through its effect on water loss rates. Contrary to our prediction, we found that CTmax was negatively associated with water loss rate, such that individuals with high water loss rate exhibited a lower CTmax. We then incorporated the observed variation of CTmax into a mechanistic niche model that coupled leaf and click beetle temperatures to predict climate vulnerability. The simulations indicated that indices of climate vulnerability can be sensitive to the effects of water loss physiology on thermal tolerances; moreover, exposure to temperatures above subcritical thermal thresholds is expected to increase by as much as 3.3‐fold under future warming scenarios. The correlation between water loss rate and CTmax identifies the need to study thermal tolerances from a “whole‐organism” perspective that considers relationships between physiological traits, and the population‐level variation in CTmax driven by water loss rate complicates using this metric as a straightforward proxy of climate vulnerability.

Sánchez‐Campaña, C., C. Múrria, V. Hermoso, D. Sánchez‐Fernández, J. M. Tierno de Figueroa, M. González, A. Millán, et al. 2023. Anticipating where are unknown aquatic insects in Europe to improve biodiversity conservation. Diversity and Distributions.

Aim Understanding biodiversity patterns is crucial for prioritizing future conservation efforts and reducing the current rates of biodiversity loss. However, a large proportion of species remain undescribed (i.e. unknown biodiversity), hindering our ability to conduct this task. This phenomenon, known as the ‘Linnean shortfall’, is especially relevant in highly diverse, yet endangered, taxonomic groups, such as insects. Here we explore the distributions of recently described freshwater insect species in Europe to (1) infer the potential location of unknown biodiversity hotspots and (2) determine the variables that can anticipate the distribution of unknown biodiversity. Location The European continent, including western Russia, Cyprus and Turkey. Methods Georeferenced information of all sites where new aquatic insect species were described across Europe from 2000 to 2020 was compiled. In order to understand the observed spatial patterns in richness of recently described species, spatial units were defined (level 6 of HydroBASINS) and associated with a combination of a set of socioeconomic, environmental and sampling effort descriptors. A zero-inflated Poisson regression approach was used to model the richness of newly described species within each spatial unit. Results Nine hundred and sixty-six recently described species were found: 398 Diptera, 362 Trichoptera, 105 Coleoptera, 66 Plecoptera, 28 Ephemeroptera, 3 Neuroptera, 2 Lepidoptera and 2 Odonata. The Mediterranean Basin was the region with the highest number of recently described species (74%). The richness of recently described species per spatial unit across Europe was highest at mid-elevation areas (between 400 and 1000 m), latitudes between 40 and 50° and in areas with yearly average precipitation levels of 500–1000 mm, a medium intensity of sampling effort and low population density. The percentage of protected areas in each study unit was not significantly related to the richness of recently described species. In fact, 70% of the species were found outside protected areas. Main conclusions The results highlight the urgent need to concentrate conservation efforts in freshwater ecosystems located at mid-altitude areas and out of protected areas across the Mediterranean Basin. The highest number of newly described species in those areas indicates that further monitoring efforts are required to ensure the aquatic biodiversity is adequately known and managed within a context of growing human impacts in freshwater ecosystems.

Fell, H. G., M. Jones, S. Atkinson, N. C. Stenseth, and A. C. Algar. 2023. The role of reservoir species in mediating plague’s dynamic response to climate. Royal Society Open Science 10.

The distribution and transmission of Yersinia pestis , the bacterial agent of plague, responds dynamically to climate, both within wildlife reservoirs and human populations. The exact mechanisms mediating plague's response to climate are still poorly understood, particularly across large environmentally heterogeneous regions encompassing several reservoir species. A heterogeneous response to precipitation was observed in plague intensity across northern and southern China during the Third Pandemic. This has been attributed to the response of reservoir species in each region. We use environmental niche modelling and hindcasting methods to test the response of a broad range of reservoir species to precipitation. We find little support for the hypothesis that the response of reservoir species to precipitation mediated the impact of precipitation on plague intensity. We instead observed that precipitation variables were of limited importance in defining species niches and rarely showed the expected response to precipitation across northern and southern China. These findings do not suggest that precipitation–reservoir species dynamics never influence plague intensity but that instead, the response of reservoir species to precipitation across a single biome cannot be assumed and that limited numbers of reservoir species may have a disproportional impact upon plague intensity.

Rodríguez-Rey, M., and B. Whittaker. 2023. The global ecological niche of lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus) and predicted range shifts under climate change. Hydrobiologia.

Lumpfish are a commercially significant marine fish that are harvested in roe fisheries and used as cleaner fish in salmon farming, however, little is known of the environmental factors shaping the ecological niche of the species at global scale. As captive reared lumpfish are sensitive to warm water, the geographic distribution of wild populations may change as sea temperatures rise under expected climate change. After investigating the ecological niche of the lumpfish using Species Distribution Models, we found that nitrate concentration, ice cover, diffuse attenuation, and temperature predicted the probability of lumpfish occurrence. Through modelling distribution under expected climate change forecasts within a realistic scenario, we found reduced probability of lumpfish occurrence in areas which currently support roe harvest and cleaner fish industry. Future conservation of the species and fisheries management should account for changes in lumpfish distribution as the range shifts northward.

Clemente, K. J. E., and M. S. Thomsen. 2023. High temperature frequently increases facilitation between aquatic foundation species: a global meta‐analysis of interaction experiments between angiosperms, seaweeds, and bivalves. Journal of Ecology.

Many studies have quantified ecological impacts of individual foundation species (FS). However, emerging data suggest that FS often co‐occur, potentially inhibiting or facilitating one another, thereby causing indirect, cascading effects on surrounding communities. Furthermore, global warming is accelerating, but little is known about how interactions between co‐occurring FS vary with temperature.Shallow aquatic sedimentary systems are often dominated by three types of FS: slower‐growing clonal angiosperms, faster‐growing solitary seaweeds, and shell‐forming filter‐ and deposit‐feeding bivalves. Here, we tested the impacts of one FS on another by analyzing manipulative interaction experiments from 148 papers with a global meta‐analysis.We calculated 1,942 (non‐independent) Hedges’ g effect sizes, from 11,652 extracted values over performance responses, such as abundances, growths or survival of FS, and their associated standard deviations and replication levels. Standard aggregation procedures generated 511 independent Hedges’ g that was classified into six types of reciprocal impacts between FS.We found that (i) seaweeds had consistent negative impacts on angiosperms across performance responses, organismal sizes, experimental approaches, and ecosystem types; (ii) angiosperms and bivalves generally had positive impacts on each other (e.g., positive effects of angiosperms on bivalves were consistent across organismal sizes and experimental approaches, but angiosperm effect on bivalve growth and bivalve effect on angiosperm abundance were not significant); (iii) bivalves positively affected seaweeds (particularly on growth responses); (iv) there were generally no net effects of seaweeds on bivalves (except for positive effect on growth) or angiosperms on seaweeds (except for positive effect on ‘other processes’); and (v) bivalve interactions with other FS were typically more positive at higher temperatures, but angiosperm‐seaweed interactions were not moderated by temperature.Synthesis: Despite variations in experimental and spatiotemporal conditions, the stronger positive interactions at higher temperatures suggest that facilitation, particularly involving bivalves, may become more important in a future warmer world. Importantly, addressing research gaps, such as the scarcity of FS interaction experiments from tropical and freshwater systems and for less studied species, as well as testing for density‐dependent effects, could better inform aquatic ecosystem conservation and restoration efforts and broaden our knowledge of FS interactions in the Anthropocene.