Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Dong, F., Q. Zhang, Y. Chen, F. Lei, S. Li, F. Wu, and X. Yang. 2022. Potential millennial‐scale avian declines by humans in southern China. Global Change Biology 28: 5505–5513. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.16289

Mounting observational records demonstrate human‐caused faunal decline in recent decades, while accumulating archaeological evidence suggests an early biodiversity impact of human activities during the Holocene. A fundamental question arises concerning whether modern wildlife population declines began during early human disturbance. Here, we performed population genomic analysis of six common forest birds in East Asia to address this question. For five of them, demographic history inference based on 25‐33 genomes of each species revealed dramatic population declines by 4‐48‐fold over millennia (e.g., two to five thousand years ago). Nevertheless, Summary statistics detected nonsignificant correlations between these population size trajectories and Holocene temperature variations, and ecological niche models explicitly predicted extensive range persistence during the Holocene, implying limited demographic consequence of Holocene climate change. Further analyses suggest high negative correlations between the reconstructed population declines and human disturbance intensities and indicate a potential driver of human activities. These findings provide a deep‐time and large‐scale insight into the recently recognized avifaunal decline and support an early origin hypothesis of human effects on biodiversity. Overall, our study sheds light on the current biodiversity crisis in the context of long‐term human‐environment interactions and offers a multievidential framework for quantitatively assessing the ecological consequences of human disturbance.

Tanaka, K., C. Haga, K. Hori, and T. Matsui. 2022. Renewable energy Nexus: Interlinkages with biodiversity and social issues in Japan. Energy Nexus 6: 100069. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nexus.2022.100069

Renewable energy is one of the most important sources of energy for a decarbonized future. The use of renewable energy necessitates the thorough study of interlinkages with social issues such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, there are no high-resolution renewable energy datasets for analyzing interlinkages. The goal of this research is to 1) create a high-resolution geographically explicit renewable energy potential map, 2) evaluate the SDGs nexus using the potential map, 3) discuss the improvement of renewable energy dataset, and 4) discuss nexus issues for implementing renewable energy systems in Japan. Our potential map has the same resolution of 500 m and unit of annual electricity generation on each energy. The occurence of endangered birds was overlapping with the area having a lot of solar energy potential. Local renewable energy is difficult to access on a small spatial scale, especially in urban regions like Tokyo. Our potential map can be used as a database for site selection and area zoning. The findings suggest that implementing decentralized renewable energy systems in today's highly concentrated megacities, such as the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, is extremely challenging, and that this type of centralized-oriented land design is likely to exacerbate the problem of energy poverty.

Estrada-Peña, A., and N. Fernández-Ruiz. 2022. Is composition of vertebrates an indicator of the prevalence of tick-borne pathogens? Infection Ecology & Epidemiology 12. https://doi.org/10.1080/20008686.2022.2025647

Communities of vertebrates tend to appear together under similar ranges of environmental features. This study explores whether an explicit combination of vertebrates and their contact rates with a tick vector might constitute an indicator of the prevalence of a pathogen in the quest for ticks at the…

Solovyeva, D., I. Bysykatova-Harmey, S. L. Vartanyan, A. Kondratyev, and F. Huettmann. 2021. Modeling Eastern Russian High Arctic Geese (Anser fabalis, A. albifrons) during moult and brood rearing in the ‘New Digital Arctic’. Scientific Reports 11. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-01595-7

Many polar species and habitats are now affected by man-made global climate change and underlying infrastructure. These anthropogenic forces have resulted in clear implications and many significant changes in the arctic, leading to the emergence of new climate, habitats and other issues including di…

Cardador, L., P. Abellán, and T. M. Blackburn. 2021. Incorporating phylogeographic information in alien bird distribution models increases geographic extent but not accuracy of predictions. Biological Invasions 24: 683–695. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-021-02673-7

Species distribution models (SDM) have been proposed as valuable first screening tools for predicting species responses to new environmental conditions. SDMs are usually conducted at the species level, assuming that species-environment relationships are a species-specific feature that do not evolve …

Savini, T., M. Namkhan, and N. Sukumal. 2021. Conservation status of Southeast Asian natural habitat estimated using Galliformes spatio-temporal range decline. Global Ecology and Conservation 29: e01723. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2021.e01723

Southeast Asia has arguably the highest biodiversity loss due to the high deforestation rate and hunting pressure. In the region, 55 species of the family Phasianidae can be found in all available land habitats from lowland plains up to high-elevation mountainous areas. As ground-dwelling birds, the…

Miller, E. F., R. E. Green, A. Balmford, P. Maisano Delser, R. Beyer, M. Somveille, M. Leonardi, et al. 2021. Bayesian Skyline Plots disagree with range size changes based on Species Distribution Models for Holarctic birds. Molecular Ecology 30: 3993–4004. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.16032

During the Quaternary, large climate oscillations impacted the distribution and demography of species globally. Two approaches have played a major role in reconstructing changes through time: Bayesian Skyline Plots (BSPs), which reconstruct population fluctuations based on genetic data, and Species …

de Gabriel Hernando, M., J. Fernández‐Gil, I. Roa, J. Juan, F. Ortega, F. de la Calzada, and E. Revilla. 2021. Warming threatens habitat suitability and breeding occupancy of rear‐edge alpine bird specialists. Ecography 44: 1191–1204. https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.05593

Alpine ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to climate change. For widely distributed alpine specialists, rear-edge populations are disproportionately important; it is expected that climate change will reduce their occupancy ranges due to the loss of suitable habitats and connectivity among them. …

Williamson, J. L., and C. C. Witt. 2021. Elevational niche-shift migration: Why the degree of elevational change matters for the ecology, evolution, and physiology of migratory birds. Ornithology 138. https://doi.org/10.1093/ornithology/ukaa087

Elevational migration can be defined as roundtrip seasonal movement that involves upward and downward shifts in elevation. These shifts incur physiological challenges that are proportional to the degree of elevational change. Larger shifts in elevation correspond to larger shifts in partial pressure…

Wieringa, J. G., B. C. Carstens, and H. L. Gibbs. 2021. Predicting migration routes for three species of migratory bats using species distribution models. PeerJ 9: e11177. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.11177

Understanding seasonal variation in the distribution and movement patterns of migratory species is essential to monitoring and conservation efforts. While there are many species of migratory bats in North America, little is known about their seasonal movements. In terms of conservation, this is impo…