Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Hemberger, J., Crossley, M. S., & Gratton, C. (2021). Historical decrease in agricultural landscape diversity is associated with shifts in bumble bee species occurrence. Ecology Letters. doi:10.1111/ele.13786 https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.13786

Agricultural intensification is a key suspect among putative drivers of recent insect declines, but an explicit link between historical change in agricultural land cover and insect occurrence is lacking. Determining whether agriculture impacts beneficial insects (e.g. pollinators), is crucial to enh…

Orr, M. C., Hughes, A. C., Chesters, D., Pickering, J., Zhu, C.-D., & Ascher, J. S. (2020). Global Patterns and Drivers of Bee Distribution. Current Biology. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2020.10.053 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.10.053

Insects are the focus of many recent studies suggesting population declines, but even invaluable pollination service providers such as bees lack a modern distributional synthesis. Here, we combine a uniquely comprehensive checklist of bee species distributions and >5,800,000 public bee occurrence re…

Fletcher, T. L., Csank, A. Z., & Ballantyne, A. P. (2019). Identifying bias in cold season temperature reconstructions by beetle mutual climatic range methods in the Pliocene Canadian High Arctic. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 514, 672–676. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2018.11.025 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2018.11.025

Well-preserved beetle elytra from the fossil and subfossil record are used by palaeoclimatologists to estimate past temperatures. Beetle-derived estimates of temperature across the Pliocene Arctic are consistently lower than those derived from other palaeoclimate proxies. Here we test if that patter…

Ezray, B. D., Wham, D. C., Hill, C. E., & Hines, H. M. (2019). Unsupervised machine learning reveals mimicry complexes in bumblebees occur along a perceptual continuum. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286(1910), 20191501. doi:10.1098/rspb.2019.1501 https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.1501

Müllerian mimicry theory states that frequency-dependent selection should favour geographical convergence of harmful species onto a shared colour pattern. As such, mimetic patterns are commonly circumscribed into discrete mimicry complexes, each containing a predominant phenotype. Outside a few exam…

Piel, W. H. (2018). The global latitudinal diversity gradient pattern in spiders. Journal of Biogeography, 45(8), 1896–1904. doi:10.1111/jbi.13387 https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13387

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…

Antonelli, A., Zizka, A., Carvalho, F. A., Scharn, R., Bacon, C. D., Silvestro, D., & Condamine, F. L. (2018). Amazonia is the primary source of Neotropical biodiversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(23), 6034–6039. doi:10.1073/pnas.1713819115 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…