Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Boquete, M. T., Z. Varela, J. A. Fernández, J. A. Calleja, C. Branquinho, A. Chilà, N. Cronberg, et al. 2022. Current and historical factors drive variation of reproductive traits in unisexual mosses in Europe: A case study. Journal of Systematics and Evolution.

Unisexual bryophytes provide excellent models to study the mechanisms that regulate the frequency of sexual vs. asexual reproduction in plants, and their ecological and evolutionary implications. Here, we determined sex expression, phenotypic sex ratio, and individual shoot traits in 242 populations of the cosmopolitan moss Pseudoscleropodium purum spanning its whole distributional range. We tested whether niche differentiation, sex‐specific differences in shoot size, and biogeographical history explained the spatial variation of reproductive traits. We observed high levels of sex expression and predominantly female‐biased populations, although both traits showed high intraspecific variation among populations. Sex expression and sex ratio were partly explained by current macroscale environmental variation, with male shoots being less frequent at the higher end of the environmental gradients defined by the current distribution of the species. Female bias in population sex ratio was significantly lower in areas recolonized after the Last Glacial Maximum (recent populations) than in glacial refugia (long‐term persistent populations). We demonstrated that reproductive trait variation in perennial unisexual mosses is partially driven by macroscale and historical environmental variation. Based on our results, we hypothesize that sexual dimorphism in environmental tolerance and vegetative growth contribute to sex ratio bias over time, constraining the chances of sexual reproduction, especially in long‐term persistent populations. Further studies combining genetic analyses and population monitoring should improve our understanding of the implications of the intraspecific variation in the frequency of sexual vs. asexual reproduction in bryophyte population fitness and eco‐evolutionary dynamics.

Chevalier, M. 2022. <i>crestr</i>: an R package to perform probabilistic climate reconstructions from palaeoecological datasets. Climate of the Past 18: 821–844.

Abstract. Statistical climate reconstruction techniques are fundamental tools to study past climate variability from fossil proxy data. In particular, the methods based on probability density functions (or PDFs) can be used in various environments and with different climate proxies because they rely on elementary calibration data (i.e. modern geolocalised presence data). However, the difficulty of accessing and curating these calibration data and the complexity of interpreting probabilistic results have often limited their use in palaeoclimatological studies. Here, I introduce a new R package (crestr) to apply the PDF-based method CREST (Climate REconstruction SofTware) on diverse palaeoecological datasets and address these problems. crestr includes a globally curated calibration dataset for six common climate proxies (i.e. plants, beetles, chironomids, rodents, foraminifera, and dinoflagellate cysts) associated with an extensive range of climate variables (20 terrestrial and 19 marine variables) that enables its use in most terrestrial and marine environments. Private data collections can also be used instead of, or in combination with, the provided calibration dataset. The package includes a suite of graphical diagnostic tools to represent the data at each step of the reconstruction process and provide insights into the effect of the different modelling assumptions and external factors that underlie a reconstruction. With this R package, the CREST method can now be used in a scriptable environment and thus be more easily integrated with existing workflows. It is hoped that crestr will be used to produce the much-needed quantified climate reconstructions from the many regions where they are currently lacking, despite the availability of suitable fossil records. To support this development, the use of the package is illustrated with a step-by-step replication of a 790 000-year-long mean annual temperature reconstruction based on a pollen record from southeastern Africa.

Campbell, C., G. Granath, and H. Rydin. 2021. Climatic drivers of Sphagnum species distributions. Frontiers of Biogeography 13.

Peatmosses(genus Sphagnum) dominate most Northern mires and show distinct distributional limits in Europe despite having efficient dispersal and few dispersal barriers. This pattern indicates that Sphagnum species distributions are strongly linked to climate. Sphagnumdominated mires have been the la…

Zanatta, F., R. Engler, F. Collart, O. Broennimann, R. G. Mateo, B. Papp, J. Muñoz, et al. 2020. Bryophytes are predicted to lag behind future climate change despite their high dispersal capacities. Nature Communications 11.

The extent to which species can balance out the loss of suitable habitats due to climate warming by shifting their ranges is an area of controversy. Here, we assess whether highly efficient wind-dispersed organisms like bryophytes can keep-up with projected shifts in their areas of suitable climate.…

Yi, S., C.-P. Jun, K. Jo, H. Lee, M.-S. Kim, S. D. Lee, X. Cao, and J. Lim. 2020. Asynchronous multi-decadal time-scale series of biotic and abiotic responses to precipitation during the last 1300 years. Scientific Reports 10.