Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Ward, S. F., E. G. Brockerhoff, R. M. Turner, T. Yamanaka, L. Marini, S. Fei, and A. M. Liebhold. 2022. Prevalence and drivers of a tree-killing bark beetle, Ips typographus (Coleoptera, Scolytinae), in international invasion pathways into the USA. Journal of Pest Science.

The unintentional transport of insects beyond their native ranges has greatly increased with globalization over the past century, leading to higher propagule pressure in non-native ranges of many species. Knowledge about the prevalence of a species in international invasion pathways is important for predicting invasions and taking appropriate biosecurity measures. We investigated the spatiotemporal patterns and drivers of interceptions—detections of at least one individual with imported goods that potentially serve as a proxy for arrival rates—for a tree-killing bark beetle, the European spruce bark beetle ( Ips typographus L.; Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae), in the USA from 1914 to 2008. Across the study period, there were 505 interceptions of I. typographus with shipments originating from > 25 countries at ports in 22 US states. Interceptions first occurred in 1938, peaked at 33 and 25 in 1984 and 1996, respectively, and declined after the mid-1990s. Interceptions of I. typographus did not have a statistically detectable relationship with outbreak levels in the native range, were inversely related to annual import volume (an artifact likely driven by changes in inspection policies), and were more frequent during the winter. Thus, while interceptions of I. typographus are challenging to predict, we found evidence that (i) biosecurity practices against this beetle could be increased during winter but not in response to outbreaks in source regions and (ii) the overall abundance of this beetle in invasion pathways has recently decreased, probably because strengthened phytosanitary protocols have reduced contamination levels and/or decreased the perceived need for inspections.

Ding, W., H. Li, and J. Wen. 2022. Response of the invasive plant Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle and its two important natural enemies (Eucryptorrhynchus scrobiculatus (Motschulsky) and E. brandti (Harold)) to climate change. Ecological Indicators 143: 109408.

Invasive species Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle) caused serious damage on ecosystem, economy, and public health in the United States and Europe. Two weevils (Eucryptorrhynchus scrobiculatus (Motschulsky) and E. brandti (Harold)) are considered to be potential enemies for biological control. In this study, we integrated potential distribution, bioclimatic suitability shifts and niche overlap to assess the global invasion risk of A. altissima under climate change and the possibility of E. scrobiculatus and E. brandti as potential natural enemies. Suitable area of A. altissima will be expanded under SSP 585. The future climate conditions do not seem to be suitable for the growth of E. scrobiculatus, but are conducive to E. brandti. We found that the suitable area of A. altissima would spread to the south and north, while two weevils spread mainly to the central and northern parts in the United States. The mean temperature of the coldest quarter (BIO11, 43.3%) was the most important bioclimatic variable in the forecasts for A. altissima and E. brandti. The wettest quarter’s mean temperature (BIO8, 35.7%) had the strongest influence on predictions for E. scrobiculatus. Our findings can provide a theoretical basis for preventing A. altissima from continuing to invade other areas. At the same time, it explained one reason why E. scrobiculatus and E. brandti could not effectively control A. altissima, and evaluated its feasibility as a potential natural enemy under future climatic conditions.

Lu, L.-L., B.-H. Jiao, F. Qin, G. Xie, K.-Q. Lu, J.-F. Li, B. Sun, et al. 2022. Artemisia pollen dataset for exploring the potential ecological indicators in deep time. Earth System Science Data 14: 3961–3995.

Abstract. Artemisia, along with Chenopodiaceae, is the dominant component growing in the desert and dry grassland of the Northern Hemisphere. Artemisia pollen with its high productivity, wide distribution, and easy identification is usually regarded as an eco-indicator for assessing aridity and distinguishing grassland from desert vegetation in terms of the pollen relative abundance ratio of Chenopodiaceae/Artemisia (C/A). Nevertheless, divergent opinions on the degree of aridity evaluated by Artemisia pollen have been circulating in the palynological community for a long time. To solve the confusion, we first selected 36 species from nine clades and three outgroups of Artemisia based on the phylogenetic framework, which attempts to cover the maximum range of pollen morphological variation. Then, sampling, experiments, photography, and measurements were taken using standard methods. Here, we present pollen datasets containing 4018 original pollen photographs, 9360 pollen morphological trait measurements, information on 30 858 source plant occurrences, and corresponding environmental factors. Hierarchical cluster analysis on pollen morphological traits was carried out to subdivide Artemisia pollen into three types. When plotting the three pollen types of Artemisia onto the global terrestrial biomes, different pollen types of Artemisia were found to have different habitat ranges. These findings change the traditional concept of Artemisia being restricted to arid and semi-arid environments. The data framework that we designed is open and expandable for new pollen data of Artemisia worldwide. In the future, linking pollen morphology with habitat via these pollen datasets will create additional knowledge that will increase the resolution of the ecological environment in the geological past. The Artemisia pollen datasets are freely available at Zenodo (; Lu et al., 2022).

Contreras-Medina, R., M. Santiago-Alvarado, D. Espinosa, G. Rivas, and I. Luna-Vega. 2022. Distributional patterns and conservation of the genus Habromys (Rodentia: Cricetidae) in Mesoamerica. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment: 1–17.

We analyzed the geographical distribution of Habromys species based on distributional data from museum specimens, web databases, and literature. We recorded species-presence data of each species in 0.5° × 0.5° grid cells and biogeographic provinces in Mexico and Central America. We analyzed the association between vegetation types and land use. We carried out species distribution models of most species of Habromys and those tree species frequently harboring these mice, finding a high distributional congruence among mice and trees. Species of Habromys occur throughout the montane systems of Mexico and northern Central America, so they can be considered characteristic elements of the Neotropical montane cloud forests. All species of the genus occur in Mexico, whereas Guatemala and El Salvador have only one species. Although all species of Habromys are highly restricted and considered rare species, only one (H. simulatus) is currently protected by Mexican laws. We assigned two species to a high and four to the critical conservation risk. Habromys species contribute to the recognition of Mesoamerica as a biodiversity hotspot.

Amaral, D. T., I. A. S. Bonatelli, M. Romeiro-Brito, E. M. Moraes, and F. F. Franco. 2022. Spatial patterns of evolutionary diversity in Cactaceae show low ecological representation within protected areas. Biological Conservation 273: 109677.

Mapping biodiversity patterns across taxa and environments is crucial to address the evolutionary and ecological dimensions of species distribution, suggesting areas of particular importance for conservation purposes. Within Cactaceae, spatial diversity patterns are poorly explored, as are the abiotic factors that may predict these patterns. We gathered geographic and genetic data from 921 cactus species by exploring both the occurrence and genetic databases, which are tightly associated with drylands, to evaluate diversity patterns, such as phylogenetic diversity and endemism, paleo-, neo-, and superendemism, and the environmental predictor variables of such patterns in a global analysis. Hotspot areas of cacti diversity are scattered along the Neotropical and Nearctic regions, mainly in the desertic portion of Mesoamerica, Caribbean Island, and the dry diagonal of South America. The geomorphological features of these regions may create a complexity of areas that work as locally buffered zones over time, which triggers local events of diversification and speciation. Desert and dryland/dry forest areas comprise paleo- and superendemism and may act as both museums and cradles of species, displaying great importance for conservation. Past climates, topography, soil features, and solar irradiance seem to be the main predictors of distinct endemism types. The hotspot areas that encompass a major part of the endemism cells are outside or poorly covered by formal protection units. The current legally protected areas are not able to conserve the evolutionary diversity of cacti. Given the rapid anthropogenic disturbance, efforts must be reinforced to monitor biodiversity and the environment and to define/plan current and new protected areas.

Wani, I. A., S. Khan, S. Verma, F. A. Al-Misned, H. M. Shafik, and H. A. El-Serehy. 2022. Predicting habitat suitability and niche dynamics of Dactylorhiza hatagirea and Rheum webbianum in the Himalaya under projected climate change. Scientific Reports 12.

In the era of anthropocene, global warming tends to alter the distribution range of the plant species. Highly fragile to such changes are the species that are endemic, inhabit higher elevations and show narrow distribution ranges. Predicting and plotting the appropriate suitable habitats and keeping knowledge of how climate change will affect future distribution become imperative for designing effective conservation strategies. In the current study we have used BIOMOD ensemble forecasting to study the current and predict the future potential distribution of Dactylorhiza hatagirea and Rheum webbianum and describe their niche dynamics in Himalayan biodiversity hotspots under climate change scenarios using ecospat R package. Results reveal sufficient internal evaluation metrics with area under curve (AUC) and true skill statistic (TSS) values greater than 0.8 i.e. 0.93 and 0.98 and 0.82 and 0.90 for D. hatageria and R. webbianum respectively, which signifies robustness of the model. Among different bioclimatic variables, bio_1, bio_3, bio_8, bio_14 and bio_15 were the most influential, showing greater impact on the potential distribution of these plant species. Range change analysis showed that both the studied species will show significant contraction of their suitable habitats under future climatic scenarios. Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 for the year 2070, indicate that the suitable habitats could be reduced by about 51.41% and 70.57% for D. hatagirea and R. webbianum respectively. The results of the niche comparisons between the current and future climatic scenarios showed moderate level of niche overlap for all the pairs with D. hatageria showing 61% overlap for current vs. RCP4.5 2050 and R. webbianum reflects 68% overlap for current vs. RCP4.5 2050. Furthermore, the PCA analysis revealed that climatic conditions for both the species vary significantly between current and future scenarios. The similarity and equivalence test showed that the niche between present and future climate change scenarios is comparable but not identical. From the current study we concluded that the influence of climate change on the habitat distribution of these plant species in the Himalayan biodiversity hotspots can be considered very severe. Drastic reduction in overall habitat suitability poses a high risk of species extinction and thereby threatens to alter the functions and services of these fragile ecosystems. Present results can be used by conservationists for mitigating the biodiversity decline and exploring undocumented populations on one hand and by policymakers in implementing the policy of conservation of species by launching species recovery programmes in future on the other. The outcomes of this study can contribute substantially to understand the consequences of climate change in the Himalayan biodiversity hotspots.

Sotuyo, S., E. Pedraza-Ortega, E. Martínez-Salas, J. Linares, and L. Cabrera. 2022. Insights into phylogenetic divergence of Dalbergia (Leguminosae: Dalbergiae) from Mexico and Central America. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 10.

The pantropical genus Dalbergia includes more than 250 species. Phylogenetic studies of the group are scarce and have only included two or three species distributed in Mexico. We obtained herbarium samples of Mexican, Central American, and South American species (sourced from MEXU). In addition, sequences of GenBank accessions were used to complement the study. Using internal transcribed spacer (ITS), the matK and rbcL sequences from 384 accessions comprising species from America, Asia, and Africa were sampled to evaluate phylogenetic relationships of Mexican species and infrageneric classifications based on morphological data. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that the genus Dalbergia is monophyletic and originated in South America. The species distributed in Mexico are not a monophyletic clade but are divided into four clades with affinities to South American and Asian species clades. There is no correlation between geography and large-scale phylogeny. The estimated ages of the Mexican and Central American clades ranged from 11.32 Ma (Dalbergia granadillo clade) to 1.88 Ma (Dalbergia ecastaphyllum clade). Multiple long-distance dispersal events should be used to explain the current genus distribution.

Tytar, V., O. Nekrasova, O. Marushchak, M. Pupins, A. Skute, A. Čeirāns, and I. Kozynenko. 2022. The Spread of the Invasive Locust Digitate Leafminer Parectopa robiniella Clemens, 1863 (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) in Europe, with Special Reference to Ukraine. Diversity 14: 605.

The spread and outbreaks of phytophagous pests are often associated with global warming. In addition to economic interest, these species may be of interest in terms of biological indication of climate changes. In this context, we considered the locust digitate leafminer Parectopa robiniella Clemens, 1863 (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). This phytophage was first discovered in Europe in 1970 near Milano in Italy. Since then, it has been spreading across the continent. In Ukraine, it was recorded for the first time in 2003. In 2020–2021, we found areas of massive leaf damage caused by the black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) in locations on Trukhaniv Island in Kyiv and some places in the Kyiv administrative region. Using 1041 georeferenced records of P. robiniella across Europe and a Bayesian additive regression trees algorithm (BART), we modeled the distribution of the moth. Predictors of current climate (WorldClim v.2, CliMond v.1.2 and ENVIREM) and a black locust habitat suitability raster were employed. Sets of SDMs built for P. robiniella with and without the habitat suitability raster for the host tree performed equally well. Amongst the factors that determine the niche of the locust digitate leafminer, most important are temperature-related conditions assumed to facilitate the spread and naturalization of the pest. In Ukraine, the appearance of the moth has coincided with increasing mean annual temperatures. Particularly favorable for the species are areas in the west and south-west of the country, and Transcarpathia. In the near future, the moth could reach locations in Nordic countries, Estonia, the British Isles, Black Sea coastal areas in Turkey, further into Russia, etc.

Pereira, R. F. P., J. Rocha, P. Nunes, T. Fernandes, A. P. Ravishankar, R. Cruz, M. Fernandes, et al. 2022. Vicariance Between Cercis siliquastrum L. and Ceratonia siliqua L. Unveiled by the Physical–Chemical Properties of the Leaves’ Epicuticular Waxes. Frontiers in Plant Science 13.

Classically, vicariant phenomena have been essentially identified on the basis of biogeographical and ecological data. Here, we report unequivocal evidences that demonstrate that a physical–chemical characterization of the epicuticular waxes of the surface of plant leaves represents a very powerful strategy to get rich insight into vicariant events. We found vicariant similarity between Cercis siliquastrum L. (family Fabaceae, subfamily Cercidoideae) and Ceratonia siliqua L. (family Fabaceae, subfamily Caesalpinoideae). Both taxa converge in the Mediterranean basin (C. siliquastrum on the north and C. siliqua across the south), in similar habitats (sclerophyll communities of maquis) and climatic profiles. These species are the current representation of their subfamilies in the Mediterranean basin, where they overlap. Because of this biogeographic and ecological similarity, the environmental pattern of both taxa was found to be very significant. The physical–chemical analysis performed on the epicuticular waxes of C. siliquastrum and C. siliqua leaves provided relevant data that confirm the functional proximity between them. A striking resemblance was found in the epicuticular waxes of the abaxial surfaces of C. siliquastrum and C. siliqua leaves in terms of the dominant chemical compounds (1-triacontanol (C30) and 1-octacosanol (C28), respectively), morphology (intricate network of randomly organized nanometer-thick and micrometer-long plates), wettability (superhydrophobic character, with water contact angle values of 167.5 ± 0.5° and 162 ± 3°, respectively), and optical properties (in both species the light reflectance/absorptance of the abaxial surface is significantly higher/lower than that of the adaxial surface, but the overall trend in reflectance is qualitatively similar). These results enable us to include for the first time C. siliqua in the vicariant process exhibited by C. canadensis L., C. griffithii L., and C. siliquastrum.

Hirabayashi, K., S. J. Murch, and L. A. E. Erland. 2022. Predicted impacts of climate change on wild and commercial berry habitats will have food security, conservation and agricultural implications. Science of The Total Environment 845: 157341.

Climate change is now a reality and is altering ecosystems, with Canada experiencing 2–4 times the global average rate of warming. This will have a critical impact on berry cultivation and horticulture. Enhancing our understanding of how wild and cultivated berries will perform under changing climates will be essential to mitigating impacts on ecosystems, culture and food security. Our objective was to predict the impact of climate change on habitat suitability of four berry producing Vaccinium species: two species with primarily northern distributions (V. uliginosum, V. vitis-idaea), one species with a primarily southern distribution (V. oxycoccos), and the commercially cultivated V. macrocarpon. We used the maximum entropy (Maxent) model and the CMIP6 shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs) 126 and 585 projected to 2041–2060 and 2061–2080. Wild species showed a uniform northward progression and expansion of suitable habitat. Our modeling predicts that suitable growing regions for commercial cranberries are also likely to shift with some farms becoming unsuitable for the current varieties and other regions becoming more suitable for cranberry farms. Both V. macrocarpon and V. oxycoccos showed a high dependence on precipitation-associated variables. Vaccinium vitis-idaea and V. uliginosum had a greater number of variables with smaller contributions which may improve their resilience to individual climactic events. Future competition between commercial cranberry farms and wild berries in protected areas could lead to conflicts between agriculture and conservation priorities. New varieties of commercial berries are required to maintain current commercial berry farms.