Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Colli-Silva, M., J. R. Pirani, and A. Zizka. 2022. Ecological niche models and point distribution data reveal a differential coverage of the cacao relatives (Malvaceae) in South American protected areas. Ecological Informatics 69: 101668.

For many regions, such as in South America, it is unclear how well the existent protected areas network (PAs) covers different taxonomic groups and if there is a coverage bias of PAs towards certain biomes or species. Publicly available occurrence data along with ecological niche models might help to overcome this gap and to quantify the coverage of taxa by PAs ensuring an unbiased distribution of conservation effort. Here, we use an occurrence database of 271 species from the cacao family (Malvaceae) to address how South American PAs cover species with different distribution, abundance, and threat status. Furthermore, we compared the performance of online databases, expert knowledge, and modelled species distributions in estimating species coverage in PAs. We found 79 species from our survey (29% of the total) lack any record inside South American PAs and that 20 out of 23 species potentially threatened with extinction are not covered by PAs. The area covered by South American PAs was low across biomes, except for Amazonia, which had a relative high PA coverage, but little information on species distribution within PA available. Also, raw geo-referenced occurrence data were underestimating the number of species in PAs, and projections from ecological niche models were more prone to overestimating the number of species represented within PAs. We discuss that the protection of South American flora in heterogeneous environments demand for specific strategies tailored to particular biomes, including making new collections inside PAs in less collected areas, and the delimitation of more areas for protection in more known areas. Also, by presenting biasing scenarios of collection effort in a representative plant group, our results can benefit policy makers in conserving different spots of tropical environments highly biodiverse.

Sarker, U., Y.-P. Lin, S. Oba, Y. Yoshioka, and K. Hoshikawa. 2022. Prospects and potentials of underutilized leafy Amaranths as vegetable use for health-promotion. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 182: 104–123.

Climate change causes environmental variation worldwide, which is one of the most serious threats to global food security. In addition, more than 2 billion people in the world are reported to suffer from serious malnutrition, referred to as ‘hidden hunger.’ Dependence on only a few crops could lead to the loss of genetic diversity and high fragility of crop breeding in systems adapting to global scale climate change. The exploitation of underutilized species and genetic resources, referred to as orphan crops, could be a useful approach for resolving the issue of adaptability to environmental alteration, biodiversity preservation, and improvement of nutrient quality and quantity to ensure food security. Moreover, the use of these alternative crops will help to increase the human health benefits and the income of farmers in developing countries. In this review, we highlight the potential of orphan crops, especially amaranths, for use as vegetables and health-promoting nutritional components. This review highlights promising diversified sources of amaranth germplasms, their tolerance to abiotic stresses, and their nutritional, phytochemical, and antioxidant values for vegetable purposes. Betalains (betacyanins and betaxanthins), unique antioxidant components in amaranth vegetables, are also highlighted regarding their chemodiversity across amaranth germplasms and their stability and degradation. In addition, we discuss the physiological functions, antioxidant, antilipidemic, anticancer, and antimicrobial activities, as well as the biosynthesis pathway, molecular, biochemical, genetics, and genomic mechanisms of betalains in detail.


В ходе экспедиционных исследований уточнена современная фактическая граница натурализации Аmbrosia artemisiifolia на Европейской территории России. Эта граница проходит по югу Брянской, Курской и Саратовской, северу Воронежской областей. Общая протяжённость экспедиционных маршрутов составила около 8900 км, количество обследованных точек – 777. В целях выявления потенциала дальнейшего продвижения вида на север проведён сравнительный эколого-географический анализ и моделирование распространения амброзии на севере её вторичного ареала на Европейской территории России и первичного – в Канаде. Выявлено, что основным фактором, лимитирующим продвижение вида на север, служит недостаточная теплообеспеченность периода созревания семян. Для определения эколого-географической ниши амброзии была составлена глобальная карта распределения сумм активных температур с порогом выше 10 °С за период от даты перехода длины дня через 14 часов после летнего солнцестояния до устойчивого перехода осенних температур через 0 °С (САТфп). Было определено значение САТфп на самых северных точках натурализации Аmbrosia artemisiifolia на Европейской территории России и в Канаде. Сравнение эколого-географических границ по фактору теплообеспеченности на Европейской территории России и в Канаде показало, что реализованная видом эколого-географическая ниша на Североамериканском континенте в настоящее время в целом шире, чем на Европейской территории России. Рассмотрены возможные причины, по которым амброзия не освоила всю потенциальную экологическую нишу на Европейской территории России, сделаны предположения о возможности дальнейшего продвижения вида на север. Амброзия по фактору теплообеспеченности на Европейской территории России может продвинуться дальше на север – в Брянскую, Орловскую, Липецкую, Тамбовскую, Саратовскую, Оренбургскую, южную половину Пензенской, юг Ульяновской, Самарской областей и Башкортостана. Дополнительные проблемы с продвижением вида в северо-восточном направлении на Европейской территории России могут быть обусловлены сопряжённым неблагоприятным воздействием дополнительного фактора – недостаточной влагообеспеченности, поскольку от Саратовской области и восточнее амброзия на северном пределе распространения находится в зоне экологического пессимума одновременно по показателям тепло- и влагообеспеченности.

Liang, S., X. Zhang, and R. Wei. 2022. Ecological adaptation shaped the genetic structure of homoploid ferns against strong dispersal capacity. Molecular Ecology 31: 2679–2697.

The formation of spatial genetic structure with the presence of extensive gene flow, an evolutionary force which is generally expected to eliminate population-specific variation and maintain genetic homogeneity, remains poorly understood. Homosporous ferns, which spread by spores through wind and possess long-distance dispersal capacity, provide an ideal system to investigate such a process. Here, using a homoploid fern lineage, the Athyrium sinense complex, we used reduced-representation genomic data to examine spatial genetic structure and explored potential driving forces including geographical distance, environment, climatic history and external dispersal constraints. Our findings showed a clear north-south divergence at the genetic, morphological and ecological levels between both sides of 35°N in East Asia. Fluctuant and heterogeneous climatic condition was demonstrated to play a crucial role during the formation of the divergence. Our results suggested that this lineage was able to migrate southward and colonize new habitat as a result of the Quaternary climatic fluctuation. Furthermore, the present genetic structure is attributed to adaptation to heterogeneous environments, especially temperature difference. In addition to ecological adaptation, we found clues showing that canopy density, wind direction as well as habitat continuity were all likely to constrain the effect of gene flow. These results demonstrated a diversification process without ploidy changes in ferns providing new insights for our present knowledge on ferns’ spatio-temporal evolutionary pattern. In particular, our study highlights the influence of environmental heterogeneity in driving genetic divergence against strong dispersal capacity.

Lima, V. P., R. A. F. de Lima, F. Joner, I. Siddique, N. Raes, and H. ter Steege. 2022. Climate change threatens native potential agroforestry plant species in Brazil. Scientific Reports 12.

Climate change is one of the main drivers of species extinction in the twentyfirst-century. Here, we (1) quantify potential changes in species' bioclimatic area of habitat (BAH) of 135 native potential agroforestry species from the Brazilian flora, using two different climate change scenarios (SSP2…

Filartiga, A. L., A. Klimeš, J. Altman, M. P. Nobis, A. Crivellaro, F. Schweingruber, and J. Doležal. 2022. Comparative anatomy of leaf petioles in temperate trees and shrubs: the role of plant size, environment and phylogeny. Annals of Botany 129: 567–582.

Background and Aims Petioles are important plant organs connecting stems with leaf blades and affecting light-harvesting ability of the leaf as well as transport of water, nutrients and biochemical signals. Despite the high diversity in petiole size, shape and anatomy, little information is availabl…

Wang, D., C. Shi, K. Alamgir, S. Kwon, L. Pan, Y. Zhu, and X. Yang. 2022. Global assessment of the distribution and conservation status of a key medicinal plant (Artemisia annua L.): The roles of climate and anthropogenic activities. Science of The Total Environment 821: 153378.

As a medicinal plant, Artemisia annua L. is the main source of artemisinin in malaria drugs, but the lack of understanding of its distribution, environmental conditions and protection status limits the mass acquisition of artemisinin. Therefore, we used the ensemble forecast method to model the curr…

Freitas, C., F. T. Brum, C. Cássia-Silva, L. Maracahipes, M. B. Carlucci, R. G. Collevatti, and C. D. Bacon. 2021. Incongruent Spatial Distribution of Taxonomic, Phylogenetic, and Functional Diversity in Neotropical Cocosoid Palms. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change 4.

Biodiversity can be quantified by taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional diversity. Current evidence points to a lack of congruence between the spatial distribution of these facets due to evolutionary and ecological constraints. A lack of congruence is especially evident between phylogenetic and ta…

Vasconcelos, T., J. D. Boyko, and J. M. Beaulieu. 2021. Linking mode of seed dispersal and climatic niche evolution in flowering plants. Journal of Biogeography.

Aim: Due to the sessile nature of flowering plants, movements to new geographical areas occur mainly during seed dispersal. Frugivores tend to be efficient dispersers because animals move within the boundaries of their preferable niches, so seeds are more likely to be transported to environments tha…

Kolanowska, M. 2021. The future of a montane orchid species and the impact of climate change on the distribution of its pollinators and magnet species. Global Ecology and Conservation 32: e01939.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of global warming on suitable niches of montane orchid, Traunsteinera globosa, using ecological niche modelling approach. Additionally, the effect of various climate change scenarios on future changes in the distribution and overlap of the orchid magn…