Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Descôteaux, R., M. Huserbråten, L. Jørgensen, P. Renaud, R. Ingvaldsen, E. Ershova, and B. Bluhm. 2022. Origin of marine invertebrate larvae on an Arctic inflow shelf. Marine Ecology Progress Series. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps14170

Many benthic invertebrate taxa possess planktonic early life stages which drift with water currents and contribute to dispersal of the species, sometimes reaching areas beyond the current ranges of the adults. Until recently, it had been difficult to identify planktonic larvae to species level due to lack of distinguishing features, preventing detection of expatriate species. Here we used DNA metabarcoding of the COI gene to obtain species-level identification of early life stages of benthic invertebrates in zooplankton samples from the Barents Sea and around Svalbard, where, regionally, large volumes of warm Atlantic Water enter the Arctic from the south. We compared the larval community in the water column to the adult community on the seafloor to identify mismatches. In addition, we implemented particle tracking analysis to identify the possible areas of origin of larvae. Our results show that 30–45% of larval taxa—largely polychaetes and nudibranchs—were not local to the sampling area, though most were found nearby in the Barents Sea. In the particle tracking analysis, some larvae originating along the Norwegian coast were capable of reaching the northwest coast of Svalbard within 3 mo, but larvae found east of Svalbard had a more constrained possible area of origin which did not extend to the Norwegian coast. This study highlights largely regional-scale larval connectivity in the Barents Sea but demonstrates the potential for some long-lived larval taxa to travel to Svalbard and the Barents Sea from further south.

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. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-31860-w

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.

Knutson, V. L., and T. M. Gosliner. 2022. The first phylogenetic and species delimitation study of the nudibranch genus Gymnodoris reveals high species diversity (Gastropoda: Nudibranchia). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 171: 107470. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2022.107470

Nudibranchs are charismatic marine gastropods that lack a shell in the adult stage. While most nudibranchs feed on sessile animals such as sponges, bryozoans, and cnidarians, the nudibranch genus Gymnodoris Stimpson, 1855 evolved a more active and predatory lifestyle, including sea slug predation, cannibalism, and oddly enough, fish-fin parasitism. At the beginning of our work, no phylogenetic hypothesis existed for the genus, nor a clear picture of how Gymnodoris is related to other nudibranchs. Here we set out to reconstruct Gymnodoris phylogeny, investigate species diversity, and clarify the status of the genus name Analogium, which had been proposed for members of the genus with a linear gill filament arrangement. We present the first phylogenetic hypothesis for Gymnodoris, reconstructed by maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference using two mitochondrial and two nuclear molecular markers, with gill filament arrangement plotted on the phylogeny. The backbone of the phylogeny remains unresolved with these markers, however, we found that Gymnodoris comprises three main well-supported clades, which we refer to as the “subornata”, “citrina” and “varied” clade, the latter two clades being comprised of several well-supported subclades. The sister group to Gymnodoris is a clade including the genera Vayssierea and Lecithophorus. Based on ABGD and PTP species delimitation methods, we conservatively estimate 65–70 species comprise our dataset. We further estimate that approximately 81% of the species we sampled are undescribed, and note that a linear gill filament arrangement has evolved multiple times within the genus. Gymnodoris is only monophyletic when the species with a linear gill arrangement are included. Therefore, at this time, we agree with the synonymy of Analogium striata with Gymnodoris striata by Rudman and Darvell (1990) and that the genus name Analogium is warranted as a junior synonym of Gymnodoris. Given the extensive undescribed diversity, and lack of resolution at some of the nodes in the phylogeny, patterns of diversification in diet are impossible to discern at this time and will require a large effort to both describe Gymnodoris species diversity and the diets of these candidate species.

Wen, A., T. Wu, X. Zhu, R. Li, X. Wu, J. Chen, Y. Qiao, et al. 2021. Changes in the spatial distribution of Bryophytes on the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau under CMIP6 future projections. Environmental Earth Sciences 81. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-021-10122-w

Bryophytes play important roles in high altitude–latitude ecosystem owing to their extensive geographical coverage. Particularly, the insulating effect prevent permafrost degradation with the rapidly climate warming on the QTP. However, few studies investigated how Bryophytes will react to environme…

Xue, T., S. R. Gadagkar, T. P. Albright, X. Yang, J. Li, C. Xia, J. Wu, and S. Yu. 2021. Prioritizing conservation of biodiversity in an alpine region: Distribution pattern and conservation status of seed plants in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Global Ecology and Conservation 32: e01885. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2021.e01885

The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) harbors abundant and diverse plant life owing to its high habitat heterogeneity. However, the distribution pattern of biodiversity hotspots and their conservation status remain unclear. Based on 148,283 high-resolution occurrence coordinates of 13,450 seed plants, w…

Arfianti, T., and M. J. Costello. 2021. The distribution of benthic amphipod crustaceans in Indonesian seas. PeerJ 9: e12054. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.12054

Amphipod crustaceans are an essential component of tropical marine biodiversity. However, their distribution and biogeography have not been analysed in one of the world’s largest tropical countries nested in the Coral Triangle, Indonesia. We collected and identified amphipod crustaceans from eight s…

Li, X., B. Li, G. Wang, X. Zhan, and M. Holyoak. 2020. Deeply digging the interaction effect in multiple linear regressions using a fractional-power interaction term. MethodsX 7: 101067. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mex.2020.101067

In multiple regression Y ~ β0 + β1X1 + β2X2 + β3X1 X2 + ɛ., the interaction term is quantified as the product of X1 and X2. We developed fractional-power interaction regression (FPIR), using βX1M X2N as the interaction term. The rationale of FPIR is that the slopes of Y-X1 regression along the X2 gr…

Ewers‐Saucedo, C., and P. Pappalardo. 2019. Testing adaptive hypotheses on the evolution of larval life history in acorn and stalked barnacles. Ecology and Evolution 9: 11434–11447. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5645

Despite strong selective pressure to optimize larval life history in marine environments, there is a wide diversity with regard to developmental mode, size, and time larvae spend in the plankton. In the present study, we assessed if adaptive hypotheses explain the distribution of the larval life his…

Folk, R. A., R. L. Stubbs, M. E. Mort, N. Cellinese, J. M. Allen, P. S. Soltis, D. E. Soltis, and R. P. Guralnick. 2019. Rates of niche and phenotype evolution lag behind diversification in a temperate radiation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116: 10874–10882. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1817999116

Environmental change can create opportunities for increased rates of lineage diversification, but continued species accumulation has been hypothesized to lead to slowdowns via competitive exclusion and niche partitioning. Such density-dependent models imply tight linkages between diversification and…