Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Rodríguez-Rey, M., and G. Grenouillet. 2022. Disentangling the Drivers of the Sampling Bias of Freshwater Fish across Europe. Fishes 7: 383.

The Wallacean shortfall refers to the knowledge gap in biodiversity distributions. There is still limited knowledge for freshwater fish species despite the importance of focusing conservation efforts towards this group due to their alarming extinction risk and the increasing human pressure on freshwater ecosystems. Here, we addressed the Wallacean shortfall for freshwater fish faunas across Europe by using the completeness indicator derived from species accumulation curves to quantify the fish sampling efforts. The multiple potential drivers of completeness that were previously related to the sampling efforts for other species (i.e., population density, nature reserves, or distance to cities) were tested using a 10 × 10 km2 grid resolution, as well as environmental (e.g., climatic) factors. Our results suggested that although there was an overall spatial pattern at the European level, the completeness was highly country-dependent. Accessibility parameters explained the sampling efforts, as for other taxa. Likewise, climate factors were related to survey completeness, possibly pointing to the river conditions required for fish sampling. The survey effort map we provide can be used to optimize future sampling, aiming at filling the data gaps in undersampled regions like the eastern European countries, as well as to account for the current bias in any ecological modeling using such data, with important implications for conservation and management.

Iannella, M., U. Masciulli, F. Cerasoli, M. Di Musciano, and M. Biondi. 2022. Assessing future shifts in habitat suitability and connectivity to old-growth forests to support the conservation of the endangered giant noctule. PeerJ 10: e14446.

Background Suitable climate and availability of habitats for roosting, foraging, and dispersing are critical for the long-term persistence of bat species. The giant noctule (Nyctalus lasiopterus) represents one of the lesser-known European bats, especially regarding the environmental factors which shape its distribution. Methodology We integrated climate-based ecological niche models with information about topography and rivers’ network to model weighted suitability for N. lasiopterus in the western Palearctic. The weighted suitability map was then used to estimate connectivity among the distinct occurrence localities of N. lasiopterus, as well as from these latter towards European old-growth forests, under current conditions and different combinations of future timeframes (2030, 2050, 2070) and shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs 3.70 and 5.85). Results Current weighted suitability is highest in Andalusia, northern Iberia, southwestern France, peninsular Italy, coastal Balkans and Anatolia, with dispersed suitable patches elsewhere. A north-eastward shift of weighted suitability emerges in the considered future scenarios, especially under SSP 5.85. The major current ecological corridors for N. lasiopterus are predicted within a ‘belt’ connecting northern Spain and southwestern France, as well as in the Italian Alps. However, following changes in weighted suitability, connectivity would increase in central-eastern Europe in the future. The bioclimatic niche of the western N. lasiopterus populations does not overlap with those of the central and eastern ones, and it only overlaps with climatic conditions characterizing old-growth forests in western Europe. Conclusions The outcomes of our analyses would help in designing specific conservation measures for the distinct groups of giant noctule populations, favoring the possibility of range expansion and movement towards forested habitats.

Sánchez, C. A., H. Li, K. L. Phelps, C. Zambrana-Torrelio, L.-F. Wang, P. Zhou, Z.-L. Shi, et al. 2022. A strategy to assess spillover risk of bat SARS-related coronaviruses in Southeast Asia. Nature Communications 13.

Emerging diseases caused by coronaviruses of likely bat origin (e.g., SARS, MERS, SADS, COVID-19) have disrupted global health and economies for two decades. Evidence suggests that some bat SARS-related coronaviruses (SARSr-CoVs) could infect people directly, and that their spillover is more frequent than previously recognized. Each zoonotic spillover of a novel virus represents an opportunity for evolutionary adaptation and further spread; therefore, quantifying the extent of this spillover may help target prevention programs. We derive current range distributions for known bat SARSr-CoV hosts and quantify their overlap with human populations. We then use probabilistic risk assessment and data on human-bat contact, human viral seroprevalence, and antibody duration to estimate that a median of 66,280 people (95% CI: 65,351–67,131) are infected with SARSr-CoVs annually in Southeast Asia. These data on the geography and scale of spillover can be used to target surveillance and prevention programs for potential future bat-CoV emergence. Coronaviruses may spill over from bats to humans. This study uses epidemiological data, species distribution models, and probabilistic risk assessment to map overlap among people and SARSr-CoV bat hosts and estimate how many people are infected with bat-origin SARSr-CoVs in Southeast Asia annually.

Davidson, S. C., and E. C. Ruhs. 2021. Understanding the dynamics of Arctic animal migrations in a changing world. Animal Migration 8: 56–64.

(no abstract available)

McGowan, N. E., N. Roche, T. Aughney, J. Flanagan, P. Nolan, F. Marnell, and N. Reid. 2021. Testing consistency of modelled predictions of the impact of climate change on bats. Climate Change Ecology 2: 100011.

Species Distribution Models (SDMs) are a cornerstone of climate change conservation research but temporal extrapolations into future climate scenarios cannot be verified until later this century. One way of assessing the robustness of projections is to compare their consistency between different mod…

Miller, E. F., R. E. Green, A. Balmford, P. Maisano Delser, R. Beyer, M. Somveille, M. Leonardi, et al. 2021. Bayesian Skyline Plots disagree with range size changes based on Species Distribution Models for Holarctic birds. Molecular Ecology 30: 3993–4004.

During the Quaternary, large climate oscillations impacted the distribution and demography of species globally. Two approaches have played a major role in reconstructing changes through time: Bayesian Skyline Plots (BSPs), which reconstruct population fluctuations based on genetic data, and Species …

Salinas-Ramos, V. B., L. Ancillotto, L. Cistrone, C. Nastasi, L. Bosso, S. Smeraldo, V. Sánchez Cordero, and D. Russo. 2021. Artificial illumination influences niche segregation in bats. Environmental Pollution 284: 117187.

Artificial light at night (ALAN) is a pervasive form of pollution largely affecting wildlife, from individual behaviour to community structure and dynamics. As nocturnal mammals, bats are often adversely affected by ALAN, yet some “light-opportunistic” species exploit it by hunting insects swarming …

Smeraldo, S., L. Bosso, V. B. Salinas‐Ramos, L. Ancillotto, V. Sánchez‐Cordero, S. Gazaryan, and D. Russo. 2021. Generalists yet different: distributional responses to climate change may vary in opportunistic bat species sharing similar ecological traits. Mammal Review 51: 571–584.

Climate change is among the key anthropogenic factors affecting species’ distribution, with important consequences for conservation. However, little is known concerning the consequences of distributional changes on community‐level interactions, and responses by generalist species might have many eco…

Cardador, L., and T. M. Blackburn. 2020. A global assessment of human influence on niche shifts and risk predictions of bird invasions B. McGill [ed.],. Global Ecology and Biogeography 29: 1956–1966.

Aim: Estimating the strength of niche conservatism is key for predictions of invasion risk. Most studies consider only the climatic niche, but other factors, such as human disturbance, also shape niches. Whether occupation of human habitats in the alien range depends on the native tolerances of spec…

Park, D. S., and O. H. Razafindratsima. 2018. Anthropogenic threats can have cascading homogenizing effects on the phylogenetic and functional diversity of tropical ecosystems. Ecography 42: 148–161.

Determining the mechanisms that underlie species distributions and assemblages is necessary to effectively preserve biodiversity. This cannot be accomplished by examining a single taxonomic group, as communities comprise a plethora of interactions across species and trophic levels. Here, we examine …