Science Enabled by Specimen Data

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…

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…

Clark, M. D., Wonkka, C. L., Kreuter, U. P., & Rogers, W. E. (2020). Interactive effects of prescribed fire and livestock grazing on Seriphium plumosum in South African sour bushveld. African Journal of Range & Forage Science, 1–8. doi:10.2989/10220119.2020.1751287 https://doi.org/10.2989/10220119.2020.1751287

Documented increases in woody plant abundance worldwide can reduce land value and grazing capacity. Throughout many grasslands and savannas in South Africa, Seriphium plumosum, an encroaching woody plant, has been rapidly displacing desirable native species. Cost-effective management techniques are …

Frankiewicz, K. E., Chau, J. H., & Oskolski, A. A. (2020). Wood and bark of Buddleja: uniseriate phellem, and systematic and ecological patterns. IAWA Journal, 1–40. doi:10.1163/22941932-bja10020 https://doi.org/10.1163/22941932-bja10020

Wood anatomy of Buddleja is well-explored but not in many southern African members, which form a grade of species and small clades that form successive sister groups to the rest of the genus, and its bark structure has not been studied at all. We provide new descriptions of wood anatomy for twelve s…

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…

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…

Lindberg, C. L., Hanslin, H. M., Schubert, M., Marcussen, T., Trevaskis, B., Preston, J. C., & Fjellheim, S. (2020). Increased above ground resource allocation is a likely precursor for independent evolutionary origins of annuality in the Pooideae grass subfamily. New Phytologist. doi:10.1111/nph.16666 https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.16666

Semelparous annual plants flower a single time during their one‐year life cycle, investing much of their energy into rapid reproduction. In contrast, iteroparous perennial plants flower multiple times over several years, and partition their resources between reproduction and persistence. To which ex…

Van Treuren, R., Hoekstra, R., Wehrens, R., & van Hintum, T. (2020). Effects of climate change on the distribution of crop wild relatives in the Netherlands in relation to conservation status and ecotope variation. Global Ecology and Conservation, 23, e01054. doi:10.1016/j.gecco.2020.e01054 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2020.e01054

Crop wild relatives (CWR) are wild plant taxa that are genetically related to a cultivated species and are considered rich sources of useful traits for crop improvement. CWR are generally underrepresented in genebanks, while their survival in nature is not guaranteed. Inventories and risk analyses a…

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 …