Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Brightly, W. H., Hartley, S. E., Osborne, C. P., Simpson, K. J., & Strömberg, C. A. E. (2020). High silicon concentrations in grasses are linked to environmental conditions and not associated with C 4 photosynthesis. Global Change Biology. doi:10.1111/gcb.15343 https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15343

The uptake and deposition of silicon (Si) as silica phytoliths is common among land plants and is associated with a variety of functions. Among these, herbivore defense has received significant attention, particularly with regards to grasses and grasslands. Grasses are well known for their high sili…

Chevalier, M., Chase, B. M., Quick, L. J., Dupont, L. M., & Johnson, T. C. (2020). Temperature change in subtropical southeastern Africa during the past 790,000 yr. Geology. doi:10.1130/g47841.1 https://doi.org/10.1130/G47841.1

Across the glacial-interglacial cycles of the late Pleistocene (~700 k.y.), temperature variability at low latitudes is often considered to have been negligible compared to changes in precipitation. However, a paucity of quantified temperature records makes this difficult to reliably assess. In this…

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

Davies, T. J., Daru, B. H., Bezeng, B. S., Charles-Dominique, T., Hempson, G. P., Kabongo, R. M., … Bond, W. J. (2020). Savanna tree evolutionary ages inform the reconstruction of the paleoenvironment of our hominin ancestors. Scientific Reports, 10(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-020-69378-0 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-69378-0

Ideas on hominin evolution have long invoked the emergence from forests into open habitats as generating selection for traits such as bipedalism and dietary shifts. Though controversial, the savanna hypothesis continues to motivate research into the palaeo-environments of Africa. Reconstruction of t…

Li, K., Wang, J., Qiao, L., Zheng, R., Ma, Y., Chen, Y., … Liu, H. (2020). Diversity of Reproductive Phenology Among Subtropical Grasses Is Constrained by Evolution and Climatic Niche. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 8. doi:10.3389/fevo.2020.00181 https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2020.00181

Reproductive phenology is sensitive to climatic changes and is associated with species functional types, distribution ranges, and their corresponding climatic niches. Phylogenetic niche conservatism in reproductive phenology also constrains its diversity and the distribution of species. Therefore, w…

Jahanshiri, E., Mohd Nizar, N. M., Tengku Mohd Suhairi, T. A. S., Gregory, P. J., Mohamed, A. S., Wimalasiri, E. M., & Azam-Ali, S. N. (2020). A Land Evaluation Framework for Agricultural Diversification. Sustainability, 12(8), 3110. doi:10.3390/su12083110 https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083110

Shortlisting ecologically adaptable plant species can be a starting point for agricultural diversification projects. We propose a rapid assessment framework based on an ecological model that can accelerate the evaluation of options for sustainable crop diversification. To test the new model, expert-…

Goodwin, Z. A., Muñoz-Rodríguez, P., Harris, D. J., Wells, T., Wood, J. R. I., Filer, D., & Scotland, R. W. (2020). How long does it take to discover a species? Systematics and Biodiversity, 1–10. doi:10.1080/14772000.2020.1751339 https://doi.org/10.1080/14772000.2020.1751339

The description of a new species is a key step in cataloguing the World’s flora. However, this is only a preliminary stage in a long process of understanding what that species represents. We investigated how long the species discovery process takes by focusing on three key stages: 1, the collection …

Li, M., He, J., Zhao, Z., Lyu, R., Yao, M., Cheng, J., & Xie, L. (2020). Predictive modelling of the distribution of Clematis sect. Fruticella s. str. under climate change reveals a range expansion during the Last Glacial Maximum. PeerJ, 8, e8729. doi:10.7717/peerj.8729 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.8729

Background The knowledge of distributional dynamics of living organisms is a prerequisite for protecting biodiversity and for the sustainable use of biotic resources. Clematis sect. Fruticella s. str. is a small group of shrubby, yellow-flowered species distributed mainly in arid and semi-arid areas…

Ringelberg, J. J., Zimmermann, N. E., Weeks, A., Lavin, M., & Hughes, C. E. (2020). Biomes as evolutionary arenas: Convergence and conservatism in the trans‐continental succulent biome. Global Ecology and Biogeography. doi:10.1111/geb.13089 https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.13089

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…

Howard, C. C., & Cellinese, N. (2020). Tunicate bulb size variation in monocots explained by temperature and phenology. Ecology and Evolution. doi:10.1002/ece3.5996 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…