Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Sánchez‐Campaña, C., C. Múrria, V. Hermoso, D. Sánchez‐Fernández, J. M. Tierno de Figueroa, M. González, A. Millán, et al. 2023. Anticipating where are unknown aquatic insects in Europe to improve biodiversity conservation. Diversity and Distributions. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.13714

Aim Understanding biodiversity patterns is crucial for prioritizing future conservation efforts and reducing the current rates of biodiversity loss. However, a large proportion of species remain undescribed (i.e. unknown biodiversity), hindering our ability to conduct this task. This phenomenon, known as the ‘Linnean shortfall’, is especially relevant in highly diverse, yet endangered, taxonomic groups, such as insects. Here we explore the distributions of recently described freshwater insect species in Europe to (1) infer the potential location of unknown biodiversity hotspots and (2) determine the variables that can anticipate the distribution of unknown biodiversity. Location The European continent, including western Russia, Cyprus and Turkey. Methods Georeferenced information of all sites where new aquatic insect species were described across Europe from 2000 to 2020 was compiled. In order to understand the observed spatial patterns in richness of recently described species, spatial units were defined (level 6 of HydroBASINS) and associated with a combination of a set of socioeconomic, environmental and sampling effort descriptors. A zero-inflated Poisson regression approach was used to model the richness of newly described species within each spatial unit. Results Nine hundred and sixty-six recently described species were found: 398 Diptera, 362 Trichoptera, 105 Coleoptera, 66 Plecoptera, 28 Ephemeroptera, 3 Neuroptera, 2 Lepidoptera and 2 Odonata. The Mediterranean Basin was the region with the highest number of recently described species (74%). The richness of recently described species per spatial unit across Europe was highest at mid-elevation areas (between 400 and 1000 m), latitudes between 40 and 50° and in areas with yearly average precipitation levels of 500–1000 mm, a medium intensity of sampling effort and low population density. The percentage of protected areas in each study unit was not significantly related to the richness of recently described species. In fact, 70% of the species were found outside protected areas. Main conclusions The results highlight the urgent need to concentrate conservation efforts in freshwater ecosystems located at mid-altitude areas and out of protected areas across the Mediterranean Basin. The highest number of newly described species in those areas indicates that further monitoring efforts are required to ensure the aquatic biodiversity is adequately known and managed within a context of growing human impacts in freshwater ecosystems.

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…

Newbold, T., L. N. Hudson, S. Contu, S. L. L. Hill, J. Beck, Y. Liu, C. Meyer, et al. 2018. Widespread winners and narrow-ranged losers: Land use homogenizes biodiversity in local assemblages worldwide H. Morlon [ed.],. PLOS Biology 16: e2006841. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2006841

Human use of the land (for agriculture and settlements) has a substantial negative effect on biodiversity globally. However, not all species are adversely affected by land use, and indeed, some benefit from the creation of novel habitat. Geographically rare species may be more negatively affected by…

Newbold, T., P. Oppenheimer, A. Etard, and J. J. Williams. 2020. Tropical and Mediterranean biodiversity is disproportionately sensitive to land-use and climate change. Nature Ecology & Evolution 4: 1630–1638. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-01303-0

Global biodiversity is undergoing rapid declines, driven in large part by changes to land use and climate. Global models help us to understand the consequences of environmental changes for biodiversity, but tend to neglect important geographical variation in the sensitivity of biodiversity to these …