Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Ramirez-Villegas, J., Khoury, C. K., Achicanoy, H. A., Diaz, M. V., Mendez, A. C., Sosa, C. C., Kehel, Z., Guarino, L., Abberton, M., Aunario, J., Awar, B. A., Alarcon, J. C., Amri, A., Anglin, N. L., Azevedo, V., Aziz, K., Capilit, G. L., Chavez, O., Chebotarov, D., … Zavala, C. (2022). State of ex situ conservation of landrace groups of 25 major crops. Nature Plants. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-022-01144-8 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-022-01144-8

Crop landraces have unique local agroecological and societal functions and offer important genetic resources for plant breeding. Recognition of the value of landrace diversity and concern about its erosion on farms have led to sustained efforts to establish ex situ collections worldwide. The degree to which these efforts have succeeded in conserving landraces has not been comprehensively assessed. Here we modelled the potential distributions of eco-geographically distinguishable groups of landraces of 25 cereal, pulse and starchy root/tuber/fruit crops within their geographic regions of diversity. We then analysed the extent to which these landrace groups are represented in genebank collections, using geographic and ecological coverage metrics as a proxy for genetic diversity. We find that ex situ conservation of landrace groups is currently moderately comprehensive on average, with substantial variation among crops; a mean of 63% ± 12.6% of distributions is currently represented in genebanks. Breadfruit, bananas and plantains, lentils, common beans, chickpeas, barley and bread wheat landrace groups are among the most fully represented, whereas the largest conservation gaps persist for pearl millet, yams, finger millet, groundnut, potatoes and peas. Geographic regions prioritized for further collection of landrace groups for ex situ conservation include South Asia, the Mediterranean and West Asia, Mesoamerica, sub-Saharan Africa, the Andean mountains of South America and Central to East Asia. With further progress to fill these gaps, a high degree of representation of landrace group diversity in genebanks is feasible globally, thus fulfilling international targets for their ex situ conservation. By analysing the state of representation of traditional varieties of 25 major crops in ex situ repositories, this study demonstrates conservation progress made over more than a half-century and identifies the gaps remaining to be filled.

Sanczuk, P., De Lombaerde, E., Haesen, S., Van Meerbeek, K., Luoto, M., Van der Veken, B., Van Beek, E., Hermy, M., Verheyen, K., Vangansbeke, P., & De Frenne, P. (2022). Competition mediates understorey species range shifts under climate change. Journal of Ecology. Portico. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13907 https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13907

Biological communities are reshuffling owing to species range shifts in response to climate change. This process inherently leads to novel assemblages of interacting species. Yet, how climatic change and local dynamics in biotic interactions jointly affect range shifts is still poorly understood.We combine a unique long‐term transplant competition‐exclusion experiment with species distribution models (SDMs) to test the effects of biotic interactions on understorey species range shifts under climate change in European temperate forests. Using a time‐series of 18 years of individual‐level demographic data of four common understorey plant species transplanted beyond their cold range edge to plots with and without interspecific competition, we built integral projection models (IPMs) and analysed the effects of competition on five key vital rates and population growth. We assessed the results of the transplant experiment in the context of the modelled species’ current and future potential distributions.We find that species’ population performances in the transplant experiment decreased with lower predicted habitat suitability from the SDMs. The population performance at the transplant sites was mediated by biotic interactions with the local plant community: for two species with intermediate levels of predicted habitat suitability at the transplant sites, competition effects could explicitly differentiate between net population growth (λ > 1) or shrinkage (λ < 1).Synthesis: Our findings contest the long‐standing idea that at cold range edges, mainly abiotic factors structure species’ distributions. We conclude that biotic interactions, through acting on local population dynamics, may impact species distributions at the continental scale. Hence, predicting climate‐change impacts on biodiversity redistributions ultimately requires us to also integrate dynamics in biotic interactions.

Sarker, U., Lin, Y.-P., Oba, S., Yoshioka, Y., &amp; Hoshikawa, K. (2022). Prospects and potentials of underutilized leafy Amaranths as vegetable use for health-promotion. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plaphy.2022.04.011 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plaphy.2022.04.011

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.

Cui, N., Chen, T., Liao, B., Xu, J., &amp; Li, X. (2021). The biology of medicinal resource substitution in Salvia. Chinese Medicine, 16(1). doi:10.1186/s13020-021-00548-6 https://doi.org/10.1186/s13020-021-00548-6

Background The decrease of wild reserves and the sharp increase of market demand have led to resource substitution, but it is still not clear how to discover medicinal alternative resources. Here we reveal the biology of medicinal resource substitution in the case of Salvia. Methods A hypothesis was…

Cahen, D., Rickenback, J., &amp; Utteridge, T. M. A. (2021). A revision of Ziziphus (Rhamnaceae) in Borneo. Kew Bulletin. doi:10.1007/s12225-021-09970-3 https://doi.org/10.1007/s12225-021-09970-3

The genus Ziziphus (Rhamnaceae) is revised for Borneo. 13 species are recognised using morphological evidence, including three new endemic species: Ziziphus cuspidata, Z. domatiata and Z. puberula. Borneo is therefore the island with the greatest known diversity of Ziziphus species. The area surroun…

Xue, T., Gadagkar, S. R., Albright, T. P., Yang, X., Li, J., Xia, C., … Yu, S. (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. doi:10.1016/j.gecco.2021.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…

Mairal, M., Chown, S. L., Shaw, J., Chala, D., Chau, J. H., Hui, C., … Le Roux, J. J. (2021). Human activity strongly influences genetic dynamics of the most widespread invasive plant in the sub‐Antarctic. Molecular Ecology. doi:10.1111/mec.16045 https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.16045

The link between the successful establishment of alien species and propagule pressure is well-documented. Less known is how humans influence the post-introduction dynamics of invasive alien populations. The latter requires studying parallel invasions by the same species in habitats that are differen…

Saldaña‐López, A., Vilà, M., Lloret, F., Manuel Herrera, J., & González‐Moreno, P. (2021). Assembly of species’ climatic niches of coastal communities does not shift after invasion. Journal of Vegetation Science, 32(2). doi:10.1111/jvs.12989 https://doi.org/10.1111/jvs.12989

Question: Do invasions by invasive plant species with contrasting trait profiles (Arctotheca calendula, Carpobrotus spp., Conyza bonariensis, and Opuntia dillenii) change the climatic niche of coastal plant communities? Location: Atlantic coastal habitats in Huelva (Spain). Methods: We identifi…

Mertens, A., Swennen, R., Rønsted, N., Vandelook, F., Panis, B., Sachter‐Smith, G., … Janssens, S. B. (2021). Conservation status assessment of banana crop wild relatives using species distribution modelling. Diversity and Distributions. doi:10.1111/ddi.13233 https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.13233

Aim: Crop wild relatives (CWR) are an essential source of genetic material for the improvement of certain traits in related crop species. Despite their importance, increasing public, scientific and political support, large gaps exist in the amount of genetic material collected and conserved of many…

Paź-Dyderska, S., Jagodziński, A. M., & Dyderski, M. K. (2021). Possible changes in spatial distribution of walnut (Juglans regia L.) in Europe under warming climate. Regional Environmental Change, 21(1). doi:10.1007/s10113-020-01745-z https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-020-01745-z

Juglans regia L. is a species of great importance for environmental management due to attractive wood and nutritious fruits, but also high invasive potential. Thus, uncertainties connected with its range shift are essential for environmental management. We aimed to predict the future climatic optimu…