Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Yim, C., E. S. Bellis, V. L. DeLeo, D. Gamba, R. Muscarella, and J. R. Lasky. 2023. Climate biogeography of Arabidopsis thaliana: Linking distribution models and individual variation. Journal of Biogeography.

Aim Patterns of individual variation are key to testing hypotheses about the mechanisms underlying biogeographic patterns. If species distributions are determined by environmental constraints, then populations near range margins may have reduced performance and be adapted to harsher environments. Model organisms are potentially important systems for biogeographical studies, given the available range‐wide natural history collections, and the importance of providing biogeographical context to their genetic and phenotypic diversity.LocationGlobal.TaxonArabidopsis thaliana (‘Arabidopsis’).MethodsWe fit occurrence records to climate data, and then projected the distribution of Arabidopsis under last glacial maximum, current and future climates. We confronted model predictions with individual performance measured on 2194 herbarium specimens, and we asked whether predicted suitability was associated with life history and genomic variation measured on ~900 natural accessions.ResultsThe most important climate variables constraining the Arabidopsis distribution were winter cold in northern and high elevation regions and summer heat in southern regions. Herbarium specimens from regions with lower habitat suitability in both northern and southern regions were smaller, supporting the hypothesis that the distribution of Arabidopsis is constrained by climate‐associated factors. Climate anomalies partly explained interannual variation in herbarium specimen size, but these did not closely correspond to local limiting factors identified in the distribution model. Late‐flowering genotypes were absent from the lowest suitability regions, suggesting slower life histories are only viable closer to the centre of the realized niche. We identified glacial refugia farther north than previously recognized, as well as refugia concordant with previous population genetic findings. Lower latitude populations, known to be genetically distinct, are most threatened by future climate change. The recently colonized range of Arabidopsis was well‐predicted by our native‐range model applied to certain regions but not others, suggesting it has colonized novel climates.Main ConclusionsIntegration of distribution models with performance data from vast natural history collections is a route forward for testing biogeographical hypotheses about species distributions and their relationship with evolutionary fitness across large scales.

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.

Maurin, O., A. Anest, F. Forest, I. Turner, R. L. Barrett, R. C. Cowan, L. Wang, et al. 2023. Drift in the tropics: Phylogenetics and biogeographical patterns in Combretaceae. Global Ecology and Biogeography.

Aim The aim of this study was to further advance our understanding of the species-rich, and ecologically important angiosperm family Combretaceae to provide new insights into their evolutionary history. We assessed phylogenetic relationships in the family using target capture data and produced a dated phylogenetic tree to assess fruit dispersal modes and patterns of distribution. Location Tropical and subtropical regions. Time Period Cretaceous to present. Major Taxa Studied Family Combretaceae is a member of the rosid clade and comprises 10 genera and more than 500 species, predominantly assigned to genera Combretum and Terminalia, and occurring on all continents and in a wide range of ecosystems. Methods We use a target capture approach and the Angiosperms353 universal probes to reconstruct a robust dated phylogenetic tree for the family. This phylogenetic framework, combined with seed dispersal traits, biome data and biogeographic ranges, allows the reconstruction of the biogeographical history of the group. Results Ancestral range reconstructions suggest a Gondwanan origin (Africa/South America), with several intercontinental dispersals within the family and few transitions between biomes. Relative abundance of fruit dispersal types differed by both continent and biome. However, intercontinental colonizations were only significantly enhanced by water dispersal (drift fruit), and there was no evidence that seed dispersal modes influenced biome shifts. Main Conclusions Our analysis reveals a paradox as drift fruit greatly enhanced dispersal distances at intercontinental scale but did not affect the strong biome conservatism observed.

Poore, C., N. A. Jud, and M. A. Gandolfo. 2023. Fossil fruits from the early Paleocene of Patagonia, Argentina reveal west Gondwanan history of Icacinaceae. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology: 104940.

Phytocreneae (Icacinaceae) are a tribe of climbing plants distributed throughout tropical Afro-Eurasia and Papua New Guinea. There is a rich Cenozoic fossil record of the group with occurrences on all continents except Antarctica. Fossil evidence supports a Cretaceous origin but the biogeographic history of Phytocreneae remains unclear. We examined a silicified endocarp collected from the Danian (early Paleocene) Salamanca Formation at the Estancia Las Violetas locality. We investigated the internal structure using micro-CT scanning and compared the fossil with fruits of other living and fossil species. Finally, we explored the biogeographic history of the tribe graphically and discuss the implications of this discovery. The endocarp belongs to the fossil genus Palaeophytocrene. This new occurrence significantly expands the known geographic range of Phytocreneae in South America. Furthermore, this is the oldest (ca. 63 Ma) unequivocal evidence of the tribe in the southern hemisphere. The presence of Phytocreneae at Estancia Las Violetas confirms that these lianas occurred in mid-latitude forests by the early Paleocene, and it also reveals that the tribe likely survived the end-Cretaceous extinction event in southern South America. Future work on the tribe should include filling gaps in the Gondwanan record to test the hypothesis that Australasian lineages are related to American lineages via high-latitude dispersal.

The objective of this work is to study the ethno botanical importance of Anogeissus leiocarpa and the potential impacts of climate and global changes on the spatial distribution of the species in order to contribute to its conservation and sustainable use. One hundred and eighty-nine (189) peoples were surveyed in the ten phytodistricts of Benin. Occurrences of Anogeissus leiocarpa downloaded from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) website (; dl.qgwnvf) was supplemented with those collected in the field to model the spatial distribution and the ecological niche of the species. Environmental climatic data were downloaded from Worldclim and Africlim website at the resolution of 2.5 minutes; non-climatic environmental data as soil, population and distance to dwellings (Settlement) were respectively downloaded from ISRIC and SEDAC website at the same resolution. The results of five modeling algorithms were compared: Maxent, BRT, RF, GLM, and GAM. From the main results, Anogeissus leiocarpa is well known and variously used by the surveyed population. Three categories of use were named: wood use (64 %), medicinal use (35 %) and spiritual or medico-magical use (1 %). The most named parts of the plants are the trunk and the leaves. Seven (7) forms of usage were named: service wood, decoction, timber, fuelwood, power, toothpick and trituration. Maxent and BRT algorithms have shown the best performance to predict suitable areas of Anogeissus leiocarpa (compared to RF, GLM and GAM) and were therefore combined to define conservation strategies for the species. Globally, there is an extension of the new suitable areas of the species. The suitable areas of the species are seldom threatened by climate change in Africa and Benin. Also, the protected areas of Benin will remain effective for the conservation of the species in the present and in the future.

Kanmaz, O., T. Şenel, and H. N. Dalfes. 2023. A Modeling Framework to Frame a Biological Invasion: Impatiens glandulifera in North America. Plants 12: 1433.

Biological invasions are a major component of global environmental change with severe ecological and economic consequences. Since eradicating biological invaders is costly and even futile in many cases, predicting the areas under risk to take preventive measures is crucial. Impatiens glandulifera is a very aggressive and prolific invasive species and has been expanding its invasive range all across the Northern hemisphere, primarily in Europe. Although it is currently spread in the east and west of North America (in Canada and USA), studies on its fate under climate change are quite limited compared to the vast literature in Europe. Hybrid models, which integrate multiple modeling approaches, are promising tools for making projections to identify the areas under invasion risk. We developed a hybrid and spatially explicit framework by utilizing MaxEnt, one of the most preferred species distribution modeling (SDM) methods, and we developed an agent-based model (ABM) with the statistical language R. We projected the I. glandulifera invasion in North America, for the 2020–2050 period, under the RCP 4.5 scenario. Our results showed a predominant northward progression of the invasive range alongside an aggressive expansion in both currently invaded areas and interior regions. Our projections will provide valuable insights for risk assessment before the potentially irreversible outcomes emerge, considering the severity of the current state of the invasion in Europe.

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.

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.

Wilson Brown, M. K., and E. B. Josephs. 2023. Evaluating niche changes during invasion with seasonal models in Capsella bursa‐pastoris. American Journal of Botany.

Premise Researchers often use ecological niche models to predict where species might establish and persist under future or novel climate conditions. However, these predictive methods assume species have stable niches across time and space. Furthermore, ignoring the time of occurrence data can obscure important information about species reproduction and ultimately fitness. Here, we assess compare ecological niche models generated from full-year averages to seasonal models Methods In this study, we generate full-year and monthly ecological niche models for Capsella bursa-pastoris in Europe and North America to see if we can detect changes in the seasonal niche of the species after long-distance dispersal. Key Results We find full-year ecological niche models have low transferability across continents and there are continental differences in the climate conditions that influence the distribution of C. bursa-pastoris. Monthly models have greater predictive accuracy than full-year models in cooler seasons, but no monthly models are able to predict North American summer occurrences very well. Conclusions The relative predictive ability of European monthly models compared to North American monthly models suggests a change in the seasonal timing between the native range to the non-native range. These results highlight the utility of ecological niche models at finer temporal scales in predicting species distributions and unmasking subtle patterns of evolution.

Sonkoué, P. N., M. K. Djeuga Youga, C. P. Kenfack, A. B. Takenne Wamba, G. Coppens D’eeckenbrugge, C. Dubois, and T. Fonkou. 2023. Ecology of Echinops giganteus A. Rich. in Sub-Saharan Africa: Distribution, Ecoclimatic Niche, and Phytosociology R. C. Sihag [ed.],. International Journal of Ecology 2023: 1–11.

Echinops giganteus A. Rich. is an aromatic and medicinal plant of the Asteraceae family exploited in Cameroon under the access and benefit sharing (ABS) standard. Despite its importance, little information exists on the ecology of E. giganteus. The aim of the present study was to contribute to a better understanding of its ecology for sustainable management in the Western Highlands of Cameroon. Occurrence data as well as stationary ecological information were collected in the field and from different databases. Bioclimatic data were extracted from the WorldClim database and processed using DIVA-GIS and Maxent software. The Braun-Blanquet quadrat method was used for the phytosociological study. Results showed that the distribution of E. giganteus in its wild state is restricted to sub-Saharan Africa. This distribution is likely conditioned by altitude (1000 m–2600 m), light, temperature, and rainfall. The bioclimatic variables that best explained this distribution were the mean annual temperature (Bio1: 38.8%) and the precipitation of the coldest quarter (Bio19: 24.9%), and their favorable ranges were between 2°C–32°C and 300 mm–1800 mm, respectively. E. giganteus is a heliophilic plant that prefers well-drained substrates and would not have a requirement for organic matter. The floristic analysis of the E. giganteus community identified 68 plant species in 59 genera and 28 botanical families, with the most represented family being the Asteraceae (49%). The average species richness per quadrat was 8 species, dominated by herbs. Species consistent with E. giganteus were Aspilia africana (Pers.) C. D. Adams and Imperata cylindrica (L.) P. Beauv. Chamaephytes and Phanerophytes were dominant among the biological types, while the phytogeographic types were dominated by Pantropical species (38.23%). The most represented diaspore types and modes of dissemination were pogonochores (35.85%) and anemochores (55.38%).

Vieira Araújo, F. H., J. C. B. dos Santos, J. B. dos Santos, A. Ferreira da Silva, R. S. Ramos, R. Siqueira da Silva, and F. Shabani. 2023. Spread of Striga asiatica through suitable climatic conditions: Risk assessment in new areas producing Zea mays in South America. Journal of Arid Environments 210: 104924.

Striga asiatica (dicot), an obligate hemiparasitic of monocots, is a potential threat to South America. Determining the ecological factors that explain the occurrence and predicting suitable areas for S. asiatica are fundamental for designing prevention strategies. We developed a Spatio-temporal dynamics model and evaluated Brazil's Weekly Growth Index (GIW) for S. asiatica. We analyzed four Brazilian regions (Central-West, South, Southeast, and Northeast) to verify the local seasonal variation of the species in climatic data. Our results indicated areas with favorable climatic suitability for the species in part of South America. Seasonal assessment models showed that high rainfall and the dry and cold periods common in tropical regions affect the GIW for S. asiatica. When we associate periods with maximum rainfall of 53 mm per week and temperature above 20 °C, the GIW approaches the optimal index for the regions evaluated, indicating the influence of soil moisture and air temperature. Our risk assessment indicated that the Southeast and Northeast are at the most significant risk of S. asiatica invasion. Projections for climate change between 2040–2059 showed expansions in areas suitable for S. asiatica compared to the current climate of South America.