Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Kumar, D., and S. Rawat. 2022. Modeling the effect of climate change on the distribution of threatened medicinal orchid Satyrium nepalense D. Don in India. Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

It is vital to understand the distribution area of a threatened plant species for its better conservation and management planning. Satyrium nepalense (family: Orchidaceae) is a threatened terrestrial orchid species with valuable medicinal and nutritional properties. The survival of S. nepalense in wild conditions has been challenged by increasing global surface temperature. Hence, understanding the impact of climate change on its potential distribution is crucial to conserve and restore this species. In present study, Maxent species distribution modeling algorithm was used to simulate the current distribution of S. nepalense in India and predict the possible range shift in projected future climate scenarios. A set of 19 bioclimatic variables from WorldClim database were used to predict the potential suitable habitats in current climatic condition and four Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP 2.6, 4.5, 6.0, and 8.5) scenarios by integrating five General Circulation Models (GCMs) for future distribution modeling of species for the years 2050 and 2070. Furthermore, change analysis was performed to identify the suitable habitat in current and future climate for delineating range expansion (gain), contraction (loss), and stable (no change) habitats of species. The Maxent model predicted that ~ 2.38% of the geographical area in India is presently climatically suitable for S. nepalense . The key bioclimatic variables affecting the distribution of studied species were the mean temperature of warmest quarter, mean temperature of wettest quarter, precipitation of warmest quarter, and temperature seasonality. Under future climate change scenarios, the total suitable habitat of S. nepalense will increase slightly in the Himalayan region and likely to migrate towards northward, but in the Western Ghats region, the suitable areas will be lost severely. The net habitat loss under four RCP scenarios was estimated from 26 to 39% for the year 2050, which could further increase from 47 to 60% by the year 2070. The finding of the predictive Maxent modeling approach indicates that warming climates could significantly affect the potential habitats of S. nepalense and hence suitable conservation measures need to be taken to protect this threatened orchid species in wild conditions.

Chowdhury, S., M. F. Braby, R. A. Fuller, and M. P. Zalucki. 2020. Coasting along to a wider range: niche conservatism in the recent range expansion of the Tawny Coster, Acraea terpsicore (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) A. Andersen [ed.],. Diversity and Distributions 27: 402–415.

Aim: The Tawny Coster Acraea terpsicore is a highly mobile butterfly that has recently expanded its spatial distribution from South Asia to South‐East Asia and Australia. Here, we determine if the realized climatic niche has changed during the expansion and analyse the geographic pattern of spread i…

Ringelberg, J. J., N. E. Zimmermann, A. Weeks, M. Lavin, and C. E. Hughes. 2020. Biomes as evolutionary arenas: Convergence and conservatism in the trans‐continental succulent biome A. Moles [ed.],. Global Ecology and Biogeography 29: 1100–1113.

Aim: Historically, biomes have been defined based on their structurally and functionally similar vegetation, but there is debate about whether these similarities are superficial, and about how biomes are defined and mapped. We propose that combined assessment of evolutionary convergence of plant fun…