Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Holzmeyer, L., Hartig, A.-K., Franke, K., Brandt, W., Muellner-Riehl, A. N., Wessjohann, L. A., & Schnitzler, J. (2020). Evaluation of plant sources for antiinfective lead compound discovery by correlating phylogenetic, spatial, and bioactivity data. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201915277. doi:10.1073/pnas.1915277117 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1915277117

Antibiotic resistance and viral diseases are rising around the world and are becoming major threats to global health, food security, and development. One measure that has been suggested to mitigate this crisis is the development of new antibiotics. Here, we provide a comprehensive evaluation of the …

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 …

Reginato, M., Vasconcelos, T. N. C., Kriebel, R., & Simões, A. O. (2020). Is dispersal mode a driver of diversification and geographical distribution in the tropical plant family Melastomataceae? Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 148, 106815. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2020.106815 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2020.106815

Species of plants with different life history strategies may differ in their seed dispersal mechanisms, impacting their distribution and diversification patterns. Shorter or longer distance dispersal is favored by different dispersal modes, facilitating (or constraining) population isolation, which …

Klages, J. P., Salzmann, U., Bickert, T., Hillenbrand, C.-D., Gohl, K., … Dziadek, R. (2020). Temperate rainforests near the South Pole during peak Cretaceous warmth. Nature, 580(7801), 81–86. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2148-5 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2148-5

The mid-Cretaceous period was one of the warmest intervals of the past 140 million years1,2,3,4,5, driven by atmospheric carbon dioxide levels of around 1,000 parts per million by volume6. In the near absence of proximal geological records from south of the Antarctic Circle, it is disputed whether p…

Stropp, J., Umbelino, B., Correia, R. A., Campos-Silva, J. V., Ladle, R. J., & Malhado, A. C. M. (2020). The ghosts of forests past and future: deforestation and botanical sampling in the Brazilian Amazon. Ecography. doi:10.1111/ecog.05026 https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.05026

The remarkable biodiversity of the Brazilian Amazon is poorly documented and threatened by deforestation. When undocumented areas become deforested, in addition to losing the fauna and flora, we lose the opportunity to know which unique species had occupied a habitat. Here we quantify such knowledge…

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…

Bhattacharya, S., Sperber, K., Özüdoğru, B., Leubner-Metzger, G., & Mummenhoff, K. (2019). Naturally-primed life strategy plasticity of dimorphic Aethionema arabicum facilitates optimal habitat colonization. Scientific Reports, 9(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-019-52520-y https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-52520-y

Plasticity in plant dispersal traits can maximise the ability of a plant species to survive in stressful environments during colonization. Aethionema arabicum (Brassicaceae) is a dimorphic annual species that is hypothesized to survive stressful conditions during colonization due to adaptive plastic…

Nevado, B., Wong, E. L. Y., Osborne, O. G., & Filatov, D. A. (2019). Adaptive Evolution Is Common in Rapid Evolutionary Radiations. Current Biology. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2019.07.059 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2019.07.059

One of the most long-standing and important mysteries in evolutionary biology is why biological diversity is so unevenly distributed across space and taxonomic lineages. Nowhere is this disparity more evident than in the multitude of rapid evolutionary radiations found on oceanic islands and mountai…

Han, T., Zheng, Q., Onstein, R. E., Rojas‐Andrés, B. M., Hauenschild, F., Muellner‐Riehl, A. N., & Xing, Y. (2019). Polyploidy promotes species diversification of Allium through ecological shifts. New Phytologist. doi:10.1111/nph.16098 https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.16098

Despite the role of polyploidy in multiple evolutionary processes, its impact on plant diversification remains controversial. An increased polyploid frequency may facilitate speciation through shifts in ecology, morphology, or both. Here we used Allium to evaluate (1) the relationship between intras…