Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Brendel, M. R., Schurr, F. M., & Sheppard, C. S. (2020). Inter‐ and intraspecific selection in alien plants: How population growth, functional traits and climate responses change with residence time. Global Ecology and Biogeography. doi:10.1111/geb.13228 https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.13228

Aim: When alien species are introduced to new ranges, climate or trait mismatches may initially constrain their population growth. However, inter‐ and intraspecific selection in the new environment should cause population growth rates to increase with residence time. Using a species‐for‐time approac…

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…

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…

Holzmeyer, L., Hartig, A.-K., Franke, K., Brandt, W., Muellner-Riehl, A. N., Wessjohann, L. A., & Schnitzler, J. (2020). Evaluation of plant sources for antiinfective lead compound discovery by correlating phylogenetic, spatial, and bioactivity data. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201915277. doi:10.1073/pnas.1915277117 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1915277117

Antibiotic resistance and viral diseases are rising around the world and are becoming major threats to global health, food security, and development. One measure that has been suggested to mitigate this crisis is the development of new antibiotics. Here, we provide a comprehensive evaluation of the …

Goodwin, Z. A., Muñoz-Rodríguez, P., Harris, D. J., Wells, T., Wood, J. R. I., Filer, D., & Scotland, R. W. (2020). How long does it take to discover a species? Systematics and Biodiversity, 1–10. doi:10.1080/14772000.2020.1751339 https://doi.org/10.1080/14772000.2020.1751339

The description of a new species is a key step in cataloguing the World’s flora. However, this is only a preliminary stage in a long process of understanding what that species represents. We investigated how long the species discovery process takes by focusing on three key stages: 1, the collection …

Peyre, G., Lenoir, J., Karger, D. N., Gomez, M., Gonzalez, A., Broennimann, O., & Guisan, A. (2020). The fate of páramo plant assemblages in the sky islands of the northern Andes. Journal of Vegetation Science. doi:10.1111/jvs.12898 https://doi.org/10.1111/jvs.12898

Aims: Assessing climate change impacts on biodiversity is a main scientific challenge, especially in the tropics, therefore, we predicted the future of plant species and communities on the unique páramo sky islands. We implemented the Spatially Explicit Species Assemblage Modelling framework, by i) …

Stropp, J., Umbelino, B., Correia, R. A., Campos-Silva, J. V., Ladle, R. J., & Malhado, A. C. M. (2020). The ghosts of forests past and future: deforestation and botanical sampling in the Brazilian Amazon. Ecography. doi:10.1111/ecog.05026 https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.05026

The remarkable biodiversity of the Brazilian Amazon is poorly documented and threatened by deforestation. When undocumented areas become deforested, in addition to losing the fauna and flora, we lose the opportunity to know which unique species had occupied a habitat. Here we quantify such knowledge…

Marconi, L., & Armengot, L. (2020). Complex agroforestry systems against biotic homogenization: The case of plants in the herbaceous stratum of cocoa production systems. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 287, 106664. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2019.106664 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2019.106664

In addition to their potential against deforestation and climate change, agroforestry systems may have a relevant role in biodiversity conservation. In this sense, not only species richness per se, but also community composition, including the distribution range of the species, should be considered.…

Karger, D. N., Kessler, M., Conrad, O., Weigelt, P., Kreft, H., König, C., & Zimmermann, N. E. (2019). Why tree lines are lower on islands-Climatic and biogeographic effects hold the answer. Global Ecology and Biogeography. doi:10.1111/geb.12897 https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12897

Aim: To determine the global position of tree line isotherms, compare it with observed local tree limits on islands and mainlands, and disentangle the potential drivers of a difference between tree line and local tree limit. Location: Global. Time period: 1979–2013. Major taxa studied: Trees. Method…

Park, D. S., & Razafindratsima, O. H. (2018). Anthropogenic threats can have cascading homogenizing effects on the phylogenetic and functional diversity of tropical ecosystems. Ecography, 42(1), 148–161. doi:10.1111/ecog.03825 https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.03825

Determining the mechanisms that underlie species distributions and assemblages is necessary to effectively preserve biodiversity. This cannot be accomplished by examining a single taxonomic group, as communities comprise a plethora of interactions across species and trophic levels. Here, we examine …