Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Cross, A. T., Krueger, T. A., Gonella, P. M., Robinson, A. S., & Fleischmann, A. S. (2020). Conservation of carnivorous plants in the age of extinction. Global Ecology and Conservation, e01272. doi:10.1016/j.gecco.2020.e01272 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2020.e01272

Carnivorous plants (CPs)—those possessing specific strategies to attract, capture and kill animal prey and obtain nutrition through the absorption of their biomass—are harbingers of anthropogenic degradation and destruction of ecosystems. CPs exhibit highly specialised and often very sensitive ecolo…

Brightly, W. H., Hartley, S. E., Osborne, C. P., Simpson, K. J., & Strömberg, C. A. E. (2020). High silicon concentrations in grasses are linked to environmental conditions and not associated with C 4 photosynthesis. Global Change Biology. doi:10.1111/gcb.15343 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., Chase, B. M., Quick, L. J., Dupont, L. M., & Johnson, T. C. (2020). Temperature change in subtropical southeastern Africa during the past 790,000 yr. Geology. doi:10.1130/g47841.1 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…

Lindelof, K., Lindo, J. A., Zhou, W., Ji, X., & Xiang, Q. (Jenny). (2020). Phylogenomics, biogeography, and evolution of the blue‐ or white‐fruited dogwoods ( Cornus ) ‐ insights into morphological and ecological niche divergence following intercontinental geographic isolation. Journal of Systematics and Evolution. doi:10.1111/jse.12676 https://doi.org/10.1111/jse.12676

The eastern Asian (EA)–eastern North American (ENA) floristic disjunction represents a major pattern of phytogeography of the Northern Hemisphere. Despite 20 years of studies dedicated to identification of taxa that display this disjunct pattern, its origin and evolution remain an open question, esp…

De Jesús Hernández-Hernández, M., Cruz, J. A., & Castañeda-Posadas, C. (2020). Paleoclimatic and vegetation reconstruction of the miocene southern Mexico using fossil flowers. Journal of South American Earth Sciences, 104, 102827. doi:10.1016/j.jsames.2020.102827 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsames.2020.102827

Concern about the course of the current environmental problems has raised interest in investigating the different scenarios that have taken place in our planet throughout time. To that end, different methodologies have been employed in order to determine the different variables that compose the envi…

Fernandez, R. D., Ceballos, S. J., Aragón, R., Malizia, A., Montti, L., Whitworth-Hulse, J. I., … Grau, H. R. (2020). A Global Review of Ligustrum Lucidum (OLEACEAE) Invasion. The Botanical Review, 86(2), 93–118. doi:10.1007/s12229-020-09228-w https://doi.org/10.1007/s12229-020-09228-w

Ligustrum lucidum is a highly invasive East Asian tree that successfully colonizes several subtropical and temperate areas around the world. Its invasion capacity results from a widespread human use mostly in urban and periurban settings, very abundant fruit and seed production, small bird-dispersed…

Davies, T. J., Daru, B. H., Bezeng, B. S., Charles-Dominique, T., Hempson, G. P., Kabongo, R. M., … Bond, W. J. (2020). Savanna tree evolutionary ages inform the reconstruction of the paleoenvironment of our hominin ancestors. Scientific Reports, 10(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-020-69378-0 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., Wang, J., Qiao, L., Zheng, R., Ma, Y., Chen, Y., … Liu, H. (2020). Diversity of Reproductive Phenology Among Subtropical Grasses Is Constrained by Evolution and Climatic Niche. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 8. doi:10.3389/fevo.2020.00181 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…

Bellot, S., Bayton, R. P., Couvreur, T. L. P., Dodsworth, S., Eiserhardt, W. L., Guignard, M. S., … Baker, W. J. (2020). On the origin of giant seeds: the macroevolution of the double coconut ( Lodoicea maldivica ) and its relatives (Borasseae, Arecaceae). New Phytologist. doi:10.1111/nph.16750 https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.16750

Seed size shapes plant evolution and ecosystems, and may be driven by plant size and architecture, dispersers, habitat and insularity. How these factors influence the evolution of giant seeds is unclear, as are the rate of evolution and the biogeographical consequences of giant seeds. We generated D…

Jahanshiri, E., Mohd Nizar, N. M., Tengku Mohd Suhairi, T. A. S., Gregory, P. J., Mohamed, A. S., Wimalasiri, E. M., & Azam-Ali, S. N. (2020). A Land Evaluation Framework for Agricultural Diversification. Sustainability, 12(8), 3110. doi:10.3390/su12083110 https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083110

Shortlisting ecologically adaptable plant species can be a starting point for agricultural diversification projects. We propose a rapid assessment framework based on an ecological model that can accelerate the evaluation of options for sustainable crop diversification. To test the new model, expert-…