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Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Chase, B. M., A. Boom, A. S. Carr, M. Chevalier, L. J. Quick, G. A. Verboom, and P. J. Reimer. 2019. Extreme hydroclimate response gradients within the western Cape Floristic region of South Africa since the Last Glacial Maximum. Quaternary Science Reviews 219: 297–307. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.07.006

The Cape Floristic Region (CFR) is one of the world's major biodiversity hotspots, and much work has gone into identifying the drivers of this diversity. Considered regionally in the context of Quaternary climate change, climate stability is generally accepted as being one of the major factors promo…

de Sousa, K., M. van Zonneveld, M. Holmgren, R. Kindt, and J. C. Ordoñez. 2019. The future of coffee and cocoa agroforestry in a warmer Mesoamerica. Scientific Reports 9. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-45491-7

Climate change threatens coffee production and the livelihoods of thousands of families in Mesoamerica that depend on it. Replacing coffee with cocoa and integrating trees in combined agroforestry systems to ameliorate abiotic stress are among the proposed alternatives to overcome this challenge. Th…

Brightly, W. H., S. E. Hartley, C. P. Osborne, K. J. Simpson, and C. A. E. Strömberg. 2020. High silicon concentrations in grasses are linked to environmental conditions and not associated with C 4 photosynthesis. Global Change Biology 26: 7128–7143. 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., B. M. Chase, L. J. Quick, L. M. Dupont, and T. C. Johnson. 2020. Temperature change in subtropical southeastern Africa during the past 790,000 yr. Geology 49: 71–75. 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…

Tan, K., T. Lu, and M.-X. Ren. 2020. Biogeography and evolution of Asian Gesneriaceae based on updated taxonomy. PhytoKeys 157: 7–26. https://doi.org/10.3897/phytokeys.157.34032

Based on an updated taxonomy of Gesneriaceae, the biogeography and evolution of the Asian Gesneriaceae are outlined and discussed. Most of the Asian Gesneriaceae belongs to Didymocarpoideae, except Titanotrichum was recently moved into Gesnerioideae. Most basal taxa of the Asian Gesneriaceae are fou…

Zhernova, D. A., M. V. Nilova, and A. A. Oskolski. 2020. Comparative wood anatomy of Astropanax and Neocussonia, an Afro-Malagasy lineage of Araliaceae. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 195: 327–347. https://doi.org/10.1093/botlinnean/boaa067

Astropanax and Neocussonia are two recently resurrected genera of Araliaceae that had long been considered as an Afro-Malagasy lineage of Schefflera. The wood structure of 11 Neocussonia spp. and eight Astropanax spp. has been studied. Neocussonia shows a higher average length of vessel elements (13…

Davies, T. J., B. H. Daru, B. S. Bezeng, T. Charles-Dominique, G. P. Hempson, R. M. Kabongo, O. Maurin, et al. 2020. Savanna tree evolutionary ages inform the reconstruction of the paleoenvironment of our hominin ancestors. Scientific Reports 10. 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., J. Wang, L. Qiao, R. Zheng, Y. Ma, Y. Chen, X. Hou, et al. 2020. Diversity of Reproductive Phenology Among Subtropical Grasses Is Constrained by Evolution and Climatic Niche. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 8. 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…

Riina, R., T. Villaverde, M. Rincón‐Barrado, J. Molero, and I. Sanmartín. 2020. More than one sweet tabaiba: Disentangling the systematics of the succulent dendroid shrub Euphorbia balsamifera. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 59: 490–503. https://doi.org/10.1111/jse.12656

The sweet tabaiba (Euphorbia balsamifera Ait.) is one of the classical examples of the disjunct biogeographic pattern known as Rand Flora. This species is currently circumscribed to comprise two subspecies, Euphorbia balsamifera subsp. balsamifera and E. balsamifera subsp. adenensis (Deflers) P.R.O.…

Dimobe, K., A. Ouédraogo, K. Ouédraogo, D. Goetze, K. Stein, M. Schmidt, B. M. Ivette Nacoulma, et al. 2020. Climate change reduces the distribution area of the shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa C.F. Gaertn.) in Burkina Faso. Journal of Arid Environments 181: 104237. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2020.104237

Vitellaria paradoxa, the shea tree, an economically important fruit-tree species native to savanna regions is threatened in Burkina Faso due to overexploitation and changing land-use. Furthermore, it remains unclear how climate change will influence its frequency and distribution. We investigated th…