Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Lima, V. P., R. A. Ferreira de Lima, F. Joner, L. D’Orangeville, N. Raes, I. Siddique, and H. ter Steege. 2023. Integrating climate change into agroforestry conservation: A case study on native plant species in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Journal of Applied Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.14464

Designing multispecies systems with suitable climatic affinity and identifying species' vulnerability under human‐driven climate change are current challenges to achieve successful adaptation of natural systems. To address this problem, we need to (1) identify groups of species with climatic similarity under climate scenarios and (2) identify areas with high conservation value under predicted climate change.To recognize species with similar climatic niche requirements that can be grouped for mixed cropping in Brazil, we employed ecological niche models (ENMs) and Spearman's ρ for overlap. We also used prioritization algorithms to map areas of high conservation value using two Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP2‐4.5 and SSP5‐8.5) to assess mid‐term (2041–2060) and long‐term (2061–2080) climate change impacts.We identified 15 species groups with finer climatic affinities at different times depicted on hierarchical clustering dendrograms, which can be combined into agroecological agroforestry systems. Furthermore, we highlight the climatically suitable areas for these groups of species, thus providing an outlook of where different species will need to be planted over time to be conserved. In addition, we observed that climate change is predicted to modify the spatial association of these groups under different future climate scenarios, causing a mean negative change in species climatic similarity of 9.5% to 13.7% under SSP2‐4.5 scenario and 9.5% to 10.5% under SSP5‐8.5, for 2041–2060 and 2061–2080, respectively.Synthesis and applications. Our findings provide a framework for agroforestry conservation. The groups of species with finer climatic affinities identified and the climatically suitable areas can be combined into agroecological productive systems, and provide an outlook of where different species may be planted over time. In addition, the conservation priority zones displaying high climate stability for each species individually and all at once can be incorporated into Brazil's conservation plans by policymakers to prioritize specific sites. Lastly, we urge policymakers, conservation organizations and donors to promote interventions involving farmers and local communities, since the species' evaluated have proven to maintain landscapes with productive forest fragments and can be conserved in different Brazilian ecosystems.

Velasco, N., N. Andrade, C. Smit, and R. Bustamante. 2023. Climatic niche convergence through space and time for a potential archaeophyte (Acacia caven) in South America. Scientific Reports 13. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-35658-8

AbstractBased on the niche conservatism hypothesis, i.e. the idea that niches remain unchanged over space and time, climatic niche modelling (CNM) is a useful tool for predicting the spread of introduced taxa. Recent advances have extended such predictions deeper in time for plant species dispersed by humans before the modern era. The latest CNMs successfully evaluate niche differentiation and estimate potential source areas for intriguing taxa such as archaeophytes (i.e., species introduced before 1492 AD). Here, we performed CNMs for Acacia caven, a common Fabaceae tree in South America, considered an archaeophyte west of the Andes, in Central Chile. Accounting for the infraspecific delimitation of the species, our results showed that even when climates are different, climatic spaces used by the species overlap largely between the eastern and western ranges. Despite slight variation, results were consistent when considering one, two, or even three-environmental dimensions, and in accordance with the niche conservatism hypothesis. Specific distribution models calibrated for each region (east vs west) and projected to the past, indicate a common area of occupancy available in southern Bolivia—northwest Argentina since the late Pleistocene, which could have acted as a source-area, and this signal becomes stronger through the Holocene. Then, in accordance with a taxon introduced in the past, and comparing regional vs continental distribution models calibrated at the infraspecific or species level, the western populations showed their spread status to be mostly in equilibrium with the environment. Our study thus indicates how niche and species distribution models are useful to improve our knowledge related to taxa introduced before the modern era.

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.

Marcussen, T., H. E. Ballard, J. Danihelka, A. R. Flores, M. V. Nicola, and J. M. Watson. 2022. A Revised Phylogenetic Classification for Viola (Violaceae). Plants 11: 2224. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11172224

The genus Viola (Violaceae) is among the 40–50 largest genera among angiosperms, yet its taxonomy has not been revised for nearly a century. In the most recent revision, by Wilhelm Becker in 1925, the then-known 400 species were distributed among 14 sections and numerous unranked groups. Here, we provide an updated, comprehensive classification of the genus, based on data from phylogeny, morphology, chromosome counts, and ploidy, and based on modern principles of monophyly. The revision is presented as an annotated global checklist of accepted species of Viola, an updated multigene phylogenetic network and an ITS phylogeny with denser taxon sampling, a brief summary of the taxonomic changes from Becker’s classification and their justification, a morphological binary key to the accepted subgenera, sections and subsections, and an account of each infrageneric subdivision with justifications for delimitation and rank including a description, a list of apomorphies, molecular phylogenies where possible or relevant, a distribution map, and a list of included species. We distribute the 664 species accepted by us into 2 subgenera, 31 sections, and 20 subsections. We erect one new subgenus of Viola (subg. Neoandinium, a replacement name for the illegitimate subg. Andinium), six new sections (sect. Abyssinium, sect. Himalayum, sect. Melvio, sect. Nematocaulon, sect. Spathulidium, sect. Xanthidium), and seven new subsections (subsect. Australasiaticae, subsect. Bulbosae, subsect. Clausenianae, subsect. Cleistogamae, subsect. Dispares, subsect. Formosanae, subsect. Pseudorupestres). Evolution within the genus is discussed in light of biogeography, the fossil record, morphology, and particular traits. Viola is among very few temperate and widespread genera that originated in South America. The biggest identified knowledge gaps for Viola concern the South American taxa, for which basic knowledge from phylogeny, chromosome counts, and fossil data is virtually absent. Viola has also never been subject to comprehensive anatomical study. Studies into seed anatomy and morphology are required to understand the fossil record of the genus.

Lima, V. P., R. A. F. de Lima, F. Joner, I. Siddique, N. Raes, and H. ter Steege. 2022. Climate change threatens native potential agroforestry plant species in Brazil. Scientific Reports 12. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-06234-3

Climate change is one of the main drivers of species extinction in the twentyfirst-century. Here, we (1) quantify potential changes in species' bioclimatic area of habitat (BAH) of 135 native potential agroforestry species from the Brazilian flora, using two different climate change scenarios (SSP2…

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…

Mapaura, A., K. Canavan, D. M. Richardson, V. R. Clark, and S.-L. Steenhuisen. 2020. The invasive grass genus Nassella in South Africa: A synthesis. South African Journal of Botany 135: 336–348. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sajb.2020.08.031

Three species of Nassella have naturalized in South Africa. Nassella trichotoma and N. tenuissima are declared weeds under category 1b of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEM:BA) and occur mainly in the montane grasslands of the Western and Eastern Cape provinces. Nassella ne…

Antonelli, A., A. Zizka, F. A. Carvalho, R. Scharn, C. D. Bacon, D. Silvestro, and F. L. Condamine. 2018. Amazonia is the primary source of Neotropical biodiversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115: 6034–6039. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1713819115

The American tropics (the Neotropics) are the most species-rich realm on Earth, and for centuries, scientists have attempted to understand the origins and evolution of their biodiversity. It is now clear that different regions and taxonomic groups have responded differently to geological and climati…