Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Pan, Y., J. García-Girón, and L. L. Iversen. 2023. Global change and plant-ecosystem functioning in freshwaters. Trends in Plant Science. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tplants.2022.12.013

Freshwater ecosystems are of worldwide importance for maintaining biodiversity and sustaining the provision of a myriad of ecosystem services to modern societies. Plants, one of the most important components of these ecosystems, are key to water nutrient removal, carbon storage, and food provision. Understanding how the functional connection between freshwater plants and ecosystems is affected by global change will be key to our ability to predict future changes in freshwater systems. Here, we synthesize global plant responses, adaptations, and feedbacks to present-day and future freshwater environments through trait-based approaches, from single individuals to entire communities. We outline the transdisciplinary knowledge benchmarks needed to further understand freshwater plant biodiversity and the fundamental services they provide.

Vieira Araújo, F. H., J. C. B. dos Santos, J. B. dos Santos, A. Ferreira da Silva, R. S. Ramos, R. Siqueira da Silva, and F. Shabani. 2023. Spread of Striga asiatica through suitable climatic conditions: Risk assessment in new areas producing Zea mays in South America. Journal of Arid Environments 210: 104924. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2022.104924

Striga asiatica (dicot), an obligate hemiparasitic of monocots, is a potential threat to South America. Determining the ecological factors that explain the occurrence and predicting suitable areas for S. asiatica are fundamental for designing prevention strategies. We developed a Spatio-temporal dynamics model and evaluated Brazil's Weekly Growth Index (GIW) for S. asiatica. We analyzed four Brazilian regions (Central-West, South, Southeast, and Northeast) to verify the local seasonal variation of the species in climatic data. Our results indicated areas with favorable climatic suitability for the species in part of South America. Seasonal assessment models showed that high rainfall and the dry and cold periods common in tropical regions affect the GIW for S. asiatica. When we associate periods with maximum rainfall of 53 mm per week and temperature above 20 °C, the GIW approaches the optimal index for the regions evaluated, indicating the influence of soil moisture and air temperature. Our risk assessment indicated that the Southeast and Northeast are at the most significant risk of S. asiatica invasion. Projections for climate change between 2040–2059 showed expansions in areas suitable for S. asiatica compared to the current climate of South America.

Hinojosa-Espinosa, O., D. Potter, M. Ishiki, E. Ortiz, and J. L. Villaseñor. 2021. Dichrocephala integrifolia (Astereae, Asteraceae), a new exotic genus and species for Mexico and second record for the New World. Botanical Sciences 99: 708–716. https://doi.org/10.17129/botsci.2754

Background: Dichrocephala is an Old-World genus of the tribe Astereae within the family Asteraceae. One species, D . integrifolia , has been recently reported as introduced in the New World from a pair of collections from Guatemala. During field work in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico, the species was found and collected. This is the first record of both the genus and species in Mexico and the second record for these taxa in the Americas.
 Question: Can D . integrifolia occur in more areas in the New World besides those known from Guatemala and Chiapas?
 Studied species: Dichrocephala integrifolia 
 Study site and dates: Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.
 Methods: An ecological niche model was made and it was projected into the New World.
 Results: The ecological niche model predicts the records of D. integrifolia in the New World in addition to other ecologically suitable areas, mostly in pine-oak forests in Mexico and Central America and zones with humid mountain and pine forest in the Caribbean. Moreover, a morphological description and illustrations of the species are provided to help with its identification.
 Conclusions: It is desirable to avoid the further spreading of D . integrifolia in the New World. Although this species is not considered as invasive, it seems to have a high dispersal potential and the ecological niche modelling indicates larger regions in the Americas that might be affected.

Dimobe, K., K. Ouédraogo, P. Annighöfer, J. Kollmann, J. Bayala, C. Hof, M. Schmidt, et al. 2022. Climate change aggravates anthropogenic threats of the endangered savanna tree Pterocarpus erinaceus (Fabaceae) in Burkina Faso. Journal for Nature Conservation: 126299. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnc.2022.126299

Species distribution modelling is gaining popularity due to significant habitat shifts in many plant and animal species caused by climate change. This issue is particularly pressing for species that provide significant ecosystem goods and services. A prominent case is the valuable African rosewood tree (Pterocarpus erinaceus) that is threatened in sub-Saharan Africa, while its present distribution, habitat requirements and the impact of climate change are not fully understood. This native species naturally occurs in various savanna types, but anthropogenic interventions have considerably reduced its natural populations in the past decades. In this study, ensemble modelling was used to predict the current and future distribution potential of the species in Burkina Faso. Fifty-four environmental variables were selected to describe its distribution in the years 2050 and 2070 based on the greenhouse gas concentration trajectories RCP4.5 and 8.5, and the general circulation models CNRM-CM5 and HadGEM2-CC. A network of protected areas in Burkina Faso was also included to assess how many of the suitable habitats may contribute to the conservation of the species. The factors isothermality (31%), minimum temperature of coldest month (31%), pH in H2O at horizon 0–5 cm (11%), silt content at horizon 60–100 cm (9.2%) and precipitation of warmest quarter (8%) were the most influential distribution drivers for the species. Under current climate conditions, potentially highly suitable habitats cover an area of 129,695 km2, i.e. 47% of Burkina Faso. The projected distribution under RCP4.5 and 8.5 showed that this area will decrease, and that the decline of the species will be pronounced. The two models used in this study forecast a habitat loss of up to 61% for P. erinaceus. Hence, development and implementation of a conservation program are required to save the species in its native range. This study will help land managers prioritise areas for protection of the species and avoid introducing it to inappropriate areas unless suitable conditions are artificially created through the management options applied.

Ripley, B. S., S. L. Raubenheimer, L. Perumal, M. Anderson, E. Mostert, B. S. Kgope, G. F. Midgley, and K. J. Simpson. 2022. CO 2 ‐fertilisation enhances resilience to browsing in the recruitment phase of an encroaching savanna tree. Functional Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.14215

CO2‐fertilisation is implicated in the widespread and significant woody encroachment of savannas due to CO2‐stimulated increases in belowground reserves that enhance sapling regrowth after fire. However, the effect of CO2 concentration ([CO2]) on tree responses to the other major disturbance in savannas, herbivory, is poorly understood. Herbivory‐responses cannot be predicted from fire‐responses, as herbivore effects occur earlier during establishment and are moderated by plant palatability and defence rather than belowground carbon accumulation.

Marcussen, T., H. E. Ballard, J. Danihelka, A. R. Flores, M. V. Nicola, and J. M. Watson. 2022. A Revised Phylogenetic Classification for Viola (Violaceae). Plants 11: 2224. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11172224

The genus Viola (Violaceae) is among the 40–50 largest genera among angiosperms, yet its taxonomy has not been revised for nearly a century. In the most recent revision, by Wilhelm Becker in 1925, the then-known 400 species were distributed among 14 sections and numerous unranked groups. Here, we provide an updated, comprehensive classification of the genus, based on data from phylogeny, morphology, chromosome counts, and ploidy, and based on modern principles of monophyly. The revision is presented as an annotated global checklist of accepted species of Viola, an updated multigene phylogenetic network and an ITS phylogeny with denser taxon sampling, a brief summary of the taxonomic changes from Becker’s classification and their justification, a morphological binary key to the accepted subgenera, sections and subsections, and an account of each infrageneric subdivision with justifications for delimitation and rank including a description, a list of apomorphies, molecular phylogenies where possible or relevant, a distribution map, and a list of included species. We distribute the 664 species accepted by us into 2 subgenera, 31 sections, and 20 subsections. We erect one new subgenus of Viola (subg. Neoandinium, a replacement name for the illegitimate subg. Andinium), six new sections (sect. Abyssinium, sect. Himalayum, sect. Melvio, sect. Nematocaulon, sect. Spathulidium, sect. Xanthidium), and seven new subsections (subsect. Australasiaticae, subsect. Bulbosae, subsect. Clausenianae, subsect. Cleistogamae, subsect. Dispares, subsect. Formosanae, subsect. Pseudorupestres). Evolution within the genus is discussed in light of biogeography, the fossil record, morphology, and particular traits. Viola is among very few temperate and widespread genera that originated in South America. The biggest identified knowledge gaps for Viola concern the South American taxa, for which basic knowledge from phylogeny, chromosome counts, and fossil data is virtually absent. Viola has also never been subject to comprehensive anatomical study. Studies into seed anatomy and morphology are required to understand the fossil record of the genus.

Zhang, Q., J. Ye, C. Le, D. M. Njenga, N. R. Rabarijaona, W. O. Omollo, L. Lu, et al. 2022. New insights into the formation of biodiversity hotspots of the Kenyan flora. Diversity and Distributions. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.13624

Aim This study aimed to investigate the distribution patterns of plant diversity in Kenya, how climatic fluctuations and orogeny shaped them, and the formation of its β-diversity. Location Kenya, East Africa. Taxon Angiosperms. Methods We quantified patterns of turnover and nestedness components of phylogenetic β-diversity for angiosperm species among neighbouring sites using a well-resolved phylogenetic tree and extensive distribution records from public databases and other published sources. We applied clustering methods to delineate biota based on pairwise similarities among multiple sites and used a random assembly null model to assess the effects of species abundance distribution on phylogenetic β-diversity. Results The phylogenetic turnover of the Kenyan flora, intersecting with the biodiversity hotspots Eastern Afromontane, Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa, and Horn of Africa, shows a non-monotonic pattern along a latitudinal gradient that is strongly structured into volcanic and coastal areas. The other areas are mainly dominated by phylogenetic nestedness, even in the eastern part of the equatorial region parallel to the volcanic area. Phylogenetic diversity and phylogenetic structure analyses explain the mechanism of the observed phylogenetic turnover and nestedness patterns. We identified five phytogeographical regions in Kenya: the Mandera, Turkana, Volcanic, Pan Coastal and West Highland Regions. Conclusions Variations in turnover gradient and coexistence are highly dependent on the regional biogeographical history resulting from climatic fluctuations and long-lasting orogeny, which jointly shaped the biodiversity patterns of the Kenyan flora. The nestedness component dominated climatically unstable regions and is presumed to have been caused by heavy local species extinction and recolonization from the Volcanic Region. The high turnover component in climatically stable regions may have preserved old lineages and the prevalence of endemic species within narrow ranges.

Kapuka, A., L. Dobor, and T. Hlásny. 2022. Climate change threatens the distribution of major woody species and ecosystem services provision in southern Africa. Science of The Total Environment 850: 158006. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.158006

In southern Africa, woody vegetation provides essential ecological, regulation, and cultural ecosystem services (ES), yet many species and ecosystems are increasingly threatened by climate change and land-use transformations. We investigated the effect of climate change on the distribution of eight species in 18 countries in southern Africa, covering 36 % of the continent. We proposed a loser/winner ranking of the species based on the changes in land climatic suitability within their historical distribution and future gains and losses of suitable areas. We interpreted these findings in terms of changes in key ES (timber, food, and energy) provision and identified hotspots of ES provision decline. We used species presence data from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, climatic data from the AfriClim dataset, and the MaxEnt algorithm to project the changes in species-specific land climatic suitability.Among the eight investigated species, the baseline suitability range of Mopane (Colophosperm mopane) was least affected by climate change. At the same time, the area of its future distribution was projected to double, rendering it a regional winner. Another two species, manketti (Schinziophyton rautanenii) and leadwood (Combretum imberbe) showed high future gains too; however, the impact on their baseline suitability range differed between the climatic scenarios. The baseline range of African rosewood (Guibourtia coleosperma) declined entirely, and the future gains were negligible, rendering the species a regional loser. The effect of climate change was particularly severe on timber-producing species (four out of eight species), while species providing food (four species) and energy (four species) were affected less. Our projections portrayed distinct hotspot and coldspot areas, where climatic suitability for multiple species was concurrently projected to decline or persist. This assessment can inform spatially targeted adaptation and conservation actions and strategies, which are currently lacking in many African regions.

Rewicz, A., M. Myśliwy, T. Rewicz, W. Adamowski, and M. Kolanowska. 2022. Contradictory effect of climate change on American and European populations of Impatiens capensis Meerb. - is this herb a global threat? Science of The Total Environment 850: 157959. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.157959

AimsThe present study is the first-ever attempt to generate information on the potential present and future distribution of Impatiens capensis (orange balsam) under various climate change scenarios. Moreover, the differences in bioclimatic preferences of native and non-native populations were evaluated.LocationGlobal.TaxonAngiosperms.MethodsA database of I. capensis localities was compiled based on the public database – the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), herbarium specimens, and a field survey in Poland. The initial dataset was verified, and each record was assigned to one of two groups – native (3664 records from North America) or non-native (750 records from Europe and the western part of North America). The analyses involved bioclimatic variables in 2.5 arc-minutes of interpolated climate surface downloaded from WorldClim v. 2.1. MaxEnt version 3.3.2 was used to conduct the ecological niche modeling based on presence-only observations of I. capensis. Forecasts of the future distribution of the climatic niches of the studied species in 2080–2100 were made based on climate projections developed by the CNRM/CERFACS modeling and Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate (MIROC-6).Main conclusionsDistribution models created for “present time” showed slightly broader potential geographical ranges of both native and invasive populations of orange balsam. On the other hand, some areas (e.g. NW Poland, SW Finland), settled by the species, are far outside the modeled climate niche, which indicates a much greater adaptation potential of I. capensis. In addition, the models have shown that climate change will shift the native range of orange balsam to the north and the range of its European populations to the northwest. Moreover, while the coverage of niches suitable for I. capensis in America will extend due to climate change, the European populations will face 31–95 % habitat loss.

Crivellaro, A., A. Piermattei, J. Dolezal, P. Dupree, and U. Büntgen. 2022. Biogeographic implication of temperature-induced plant cell wall lignification. Communications Biology 5. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-022-03732-y

More than 200 years after von Humboldt’s pioneering work on the treeline, our understanding of the cold distribution limit of upright plant growth is still incomplete. Here, we use wood anatomical techniques to estimate the degree of stem cell wall lignification in 1770 plant species from six continents. Contrary to the frequent belief that small plants are less lignified, we show that cell wall lignification in ‘woody’ herbs varies considerably. Although trees and shrubs always exhibit lignified cell walls in their upright stems, small plants above the treeline may contain less lignin. Our findings suggest that extremely cold growing season temperatures can reduce the ability of plants to lignify their secondary cell walls. Corroborating experimental and observational evidence, this study proposes to revisit existing theories about the thermal distribution limit of upright plant growth and to consider biochemical and biomechanical factors for explaining the global treeline position. A global survey of lignin content in plant cell walls corroborates suggestions that cold temperature limits upright tree growth.