Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Gainsbury, A. M., Santos, E. G., & Wiederhecker, H. (2022). Does urbanization impact terrestrial vertebrate ectotherms across a biodiversity hotspot? Science of The Total Environment, 155446. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.155446 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.155446

Urbanization is increasing at an alarming rate altering biodiversity. As urban areas sprawl, it is vital to understand the effects of urbanization on biodiversity. Florida is ideal for this research; it has many reptile species and has experienced multiple anthropogenic impacts. Herein, we aim to evaluate human impacts on registered reptile richness across an urbanization gradient in Florida. The expectation is that highly urbanized areas would harbor a lower number of species. To represent urbanization, we used Venter et al. (2016) human footprint index. We downloaded georeferenced occurrence records from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to collate species richness. We ran generalized linear regressions controlling for spatial autocorrelation structure to test the association between urbanization and reptile records across Florida. We found a positive association between urbanization and registered reptiles across Florida for total and non-native species richness; however, a lack of association occurred for native species. We performed rarefaction curves due to an inherent bias of citizen science data. The positive association was supported for non-native reptile species richness with greater species richness located at urban centers. Interestingly, total and native species richness were largest at low as well as moderate levels of urbanization. Thus, moderately urbanized areas may have the potential to harbor a similar number of reptile species compared to areas with low urbanization. Nevertheless, a difference exists in sample completeness between the urbanization categories. Thus, a more systematic monitoring of reptile species across an urbanization gradient, not only focusing on urban and wild areas but also including moderate levels of urbanization, is needed to provide informed conservation strategies for urban development planning. Advances in environmental sensors, environmental DNA, and citizen science outreach are necessary to implement if we are to effectively monitor biodiversity at the accelerated rate of urbanization.

Sluiter, I. R. K., Holdgate, G. R., Reichgelt, T., Greenwood, D. R., Kershaw, A. P., & Schultz, N. L. (2022). A new perspective on Late Eocene and Oligocene vegetation and paleoclimates of South-eastern Australia. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 596, 110985. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2022.110985 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2022.110985

We present a composite terrestrial pollen record of latest Eocene through Oligocene (35.5–23 Ma) vegetation and climate change from the Gippsland Basin of south-eastern Australia. Climates were overwhelmingly mesothermic through this time period, with mean annual temperature (MAT) varying between 13 and 18 °C, with an average of 16 °C. We provide evidence to support a cooling trend through the Eocene–Oligocene Transition (EOT), but also identify three subsequent warming cycles through the Oligocene, leading to more seasonal climates at the termination of the Epoch. One of the warming episodes in the Early Oligocene appears to have also occurred at two other southern hemisphere sites at the Drake Passage as well as off eastern Tasmania, based on recent research. Similarities with sea surface temperature records from modern high southern latitudes which also record similar cycles of warming and cooling, are presented and discussed. Annual precipitation varied between 1200 and 1700 mm/yr, with an average of 1470 mm/yr through the sequence. Notwithstanding the extinction of Nothofagus sg. Brassospora from Australia and some now microthermic humid restricted Podocarpaceae conifer taxa, the rainforest vegetation of lowland south-eastern Australia is reconstructed to have been similar to present day Australian Evergreen Notophyll Vine Forests existing under the sub-tropical Köppen-Geiger climate class Cfa (humid subtropical) for most of the sequence. Short periods of cooler climates, such as occurred through the EOT when MAT was ~ 13 °C, may have supported vegetation similar to modern day Evergreen Microphyll Fern Forest. Of potentially greater significance, however, was a warm period in the Early to early Late Oligocene (32–26 Ma) when MAT was 17–18 °C, accompanied by small but important increases in Araucariaceae pollen. At this time, Araucarian Notophyll/Microphyll Vine Forest likely occurred regionally.

Espindola, Vázquez‐Domínguez, E., Nakamura, M., Osorio‐Olvera, L., Martínez‐Meyer, E., Myers, E. A., Overcast, I., Reid, B. N., & Burbrink, F. T. (2022). Complex genetic patterns and distribution limits mediated by native congeners of the worldwide invasive red‐eared slider turtle. Molecular Ecology. Portico. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.16356 https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.16356

Non-native (invasive) species offer a unique opportunity to study the geographical distribution and range limits of species, wherein the evolutionary change driven by interspecific interactions between native and non-native closely related species is a key component. The red-eared slider turtle, Tra…

Strona, G., Beck, P. S. A., Cabeza, M., Fattorini, S., Guilhaumon, F., Micheli, F., … Parravicini, V. (2021). Ecological dependencies make remote reef fish communities most vulnerable to coral loss. Nature Communications, 12(1). doi:10.1038/s41467-021-27440-z https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-27440-z

Ecosystems face both local hazards, such as over-exploitation, and global hazards, such as climate change. Since the impact of local hazards attenuates with distance from humans, local extinction risk should decrease with remoteness, making faraway areas safe havens for biodiversity. However, isolat…

Niza, H., Bento, M., Lopes, L., Cartaxana, A., & Correia, A. (2021). A picture is worth a thousand words: using digital tools to visualise marine invertebrate diversity data along the coasts of Mozambique and São Tomé & Príncipe. Biodiversity Data Journal, 9. doi:10.3897/bdj.9.e68817 https://doi.org/10.3897/bdj.9.e68817

The amount of biological data available in online repositories is increasing at an exponential rate. However, data on marine invertebrate biodiversity resources from Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe are still sparse and scattered. Online repositories are useful instruments for biodiversity resea…

Xue, T., Gadagkar, S. R., Albright, T. P., Yang, X., Li, J., Xia, C., … Yu, S. (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. doi:10.1016/j.gecco.2021.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…

Qu, J., Xu, Y., Cui, Y., Wu, S., Wang, L., Liu, X., … Wang, X. (2021). MODB: a comprehensive mitochondrial genome database for Mollusca. Database, 2021. doi:10.1093/database/baab056 https://doi.org/10.1093/database/baab056

Mollusca is the largest marine phylum, comprising about 23% of all named marine organisms, Mollusca systematics are still in flux, and an increase in human activities has affected Molluscan reproduction and development, strongly impacting diversity and classification. Therefore, it is necessary to e…

Hughes, A. C., Orr, M. C., Ma, K., Costello, M. J., Waller, J., Provoost, P., … Qiao, H. (2021). Sampling biases shape our view of the natural world. Ecography. doi:10.1111/ecog.05926 https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.05926

Spatial patterns of biodiversity are inextricably linked to their collection methods, yet no synthesis of bias patterns or their consequences exists. As such, views of organismal distribution and the ecosystems they make up may be incorrect, undermining countless ecological and evolutionary studies.…

Urcádiz-Cázares, F. J., Cruz-Escalona, V. H., Peterson, M. S., Aguilar-Medrano, R., Marín-Enríquez, E., González-Peláez, S. S., … Ortega-Rubio, A. (2021). Linking Habitat and Associated Abiotic Conditions to Predict Fish Hotspots Distribution Areas within La Paz Bay: Evaluating Marine Conservation Areas. Diversity, 13(5), 212. doi:10.3390/d13050212 https://doi.org/10.3390/d13050212

Hotspots are priority marine or terrestrial areas with high biodiversity where delineation is essential for conservation, but equally important is their linkage to the environmental policies of the overall region. In this study, fish diversity presences were linked to abiotic conditions and differen…

Azevedo, J. A. R., Guedes, T. B., Nogueira, C. de C., Passos, P., Sawaya, R. J., Prudente, A. L. C., … Antonelli, A. (2019). Museums and cradles of diversity are geographically coincident for narrowly distributed Neotropical snakes. Ecography, 43(2), 328–339. doi:10.1111/ecog.04815 https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.04815

Factors driving the spatial configuration of centres of endemism have long been a topic of broad interest and debate. Due to different eco‐evolutionary processes, these highly biodiverse areas may harbour different amounts of ancient and recently diverged organisms (paleo‐ and neo‐endemism, respecti…