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Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Chevalier, M. 2022. <i>crestr</i>: an R package to perform probabilistic climate reconstructions from palaeoecological datasets. Climate of the Past 18: 821–844. https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-18-821-2022

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.

Ramírez, F., V. Sbragaglia, K. Soacha, M. Coll, and J. Piera. 2022. Challenges for Marine Ecological Assessments: Completeness of Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable Biodiversity Data in European Seas. Frontiers in Marine Science 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.802235

The ongoing contemporary biodiversity crisis may result in much of ocean’s biodiversity to be lost or deeply modified without even being known. As the climate and anthropogenic-related impacts on marine systems accelerate, biodiversity knowledge integration is urgently required to evaluate and monit…

Laeseke, P., B. Martínez, A. Mansilla, and K. Bischof. 2021. Invaders in waiting? Non-equilibrium in Southern Hemisphere seaweed distributions may lead to underestimation of Antarctic invasion potential. Frontiers of Biogeography 13. https://doi.org/10.21425/f5fbg50879

Bioinvasions pose a major threat to global biodiversity. Correlative Ecological Niche Models (ENMs) can be a valuable tool to identify invaders and invasion sites. However, in cases when species are in non-equilibrium with their native environment (i.e. do not fill their niche), correlative approach…

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…

Fernández‐López, J., M. T. Telleria, M. Dueñas, T. May, and M. P. Martín. 2021. DNA barcode analyses improve accuracy in fungal species distribution models. Ecology and Evolution 11: 8993–9009. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7737

Species distribution models based on environmental predictors are useful to explain a species geographic range. For many groups of organisms, including fungi, the increase in occurrence data sets has generalized their use. However, fungal species are not always easy to distinguish, and taxonomy of m…

Bontrager, M., T. Usui, J. A. Lee‐Yaw, D. N. Anstett, H. A. Branch, A. L. Hargreaves, C. D. Muir, and A. L. Angert. 2021. Adaptation across geographic ranges is consistent with strong selection in marginal climates and legacies of range expansion. Evolution 75: 1316–1333. https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.14231

Every species experiences limits to its geographic distribution. Some evolutionary models predict that populations at range edges are less well‐adapted to their local environments due to drift, expansion load, or swamping gene flow from the range interior. Alternatively, populations near range edges…

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. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-74994-x

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de Jesús Hernández-Hernández, M., J. A. Cruz, and C. Castañeda-Posadas. 2020. Paleoclimatic and vegetation reconstruction of the miocene southern Mexico using fossil flowers. Journal of South American Earth Sciences 104: 102827. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsames.2020.102827

Concern about the course of the current environmental problems has raised interest in investigating the different scenarios that have taken place in our planet throughout time. To that end, different methodologies have been employed in order to determine the different variables that compose the envi…

Howard, C. C., and N. Cellinese. 2020. Tunicate bulb size variation in monocots explained by temperature and phenology. Ecology and Evolution 10: 2299–2309. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5996

Plant bulbs are modified shoot systems comprised of short internodes with apical bud(s) surrounded by layers of leaf bases. Bulb diameters can vary greatly, with overall bulb size playing a role in flower formation and resource allocation. Despite the importance of bulb size to the overall fitness o…

Pirie, M. D., M. Kandziora, N. M. Nürk, N. C. Le Maitre, A. Mugrabi de Kuppler, B. Gehrke, E. G. H. Oliver, and D. U. Bellstedt. 2019. Leaps and bounds: geographical and ecological distance constrained the colonisation of the Afrotemperate by Erica. BMC Evolutionary Biology 19. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12862-019-1545-6

Background: The coincidence of long distance dispersal (LDD) and biome shift is assumed to be the result of a multifaceted interplay between geographical distance and ecological suitability of source and sink areas. Here, we test the influence of these factors on the dispersal history of the floweri…