Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Oliveira-Dalland, L. G., L. R. V. Alencar, L. R. Tambosi, P. A. Carrasco, R. M. Rautsaw, J. Sigala-Rodriguez, G. Scrocchi, and M. Martins. 2022. Conservation gaps for Neotropical vipers: Mismatches between protected areas, species richness and evolutionary distinctiveness. Biological Conservation 275: 109750.

The continuous decline in biodiversity despite global efforts to create new protected areas calls into question the effectiveness of these areas in conserving biodiversity. Numerous habitats are absent from the global protected area network, and certain taxonomic groups are not being included in conservation planning. Here, we analyzed the level of protection that the current protected area system provides to viper species in the Neotropical region through a conservation gap analysis. We used distribution size and degree of threat to set species-specific conservation goals for 123 viper species in the form of minimum percentage of their distribution that should be covered by protected areas, and assessed the level of protection provided for each species by overlapping their distribution with protected areas of strict protection. Furthermore, using species richness and evolutionary distinctiveness as priority indicators, we conducted a spatial association analysis to detect areas of special concern. We found that most viper species have <1/4 of their distribution covered by protected areas, including 22 threatened species. Also, the large majority of cells containing high levels of species richness were significantly absent from protected areas, while evolutionary distinctiveness was particularly unprotected in regions with relatively low species richness, like northern Mexico and the Argentinian dry Chaco. Our results provide further evidence that vipers are largely being excluded from conservation planning, leaving them exposed to serious threats that can lead to population decline and ultimately extinction.

Castaño-Quintero, S. M., J. Escobar-Luján, F. Villalobos, L. M. Ochoa-Ochoa, and C. Yáñez-Arenas. 2022. Amphibian Diversity of the Yucatan Peninsula: Representation in Protected Areas and Climate Change Impacts. Diversity 14: 813.

Knowledge about the dynamics of regional diversity patterns is a foundation on which measures aimed to protect diversity dimensions in the light of climate change can be constructed. Here, we describe taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional diversity patterns of amphibians in the Yucatan Peninsula and their representation in the current protected area system. We stacked current and future potential distribution models to estimate taxonomic diversity and, based on the most recent amphibian phylogeny and nine functional traits, we measured phylogenetic and functional diversity. Independent phylogenetic and functional metrics were obtained by applying null models that allowed us to identify the presumably signature mechanisms underlying assemblage formation. We evaluated the effectiveness of the protected areas in protecting diversity dimensions across scenarios. We found phylogenetic and functional clustering as a result of environmental filters that have allowed only recently diverged species with converged functional traits to establish. Nevertheless, random assemblages are more widespread possibly due to the opposite directions in which competition and environmental filtering are acting. Overall, a decrease in all diversity dimensions is projected under future climate change scenarios compared with the current time. None of the protected areas evaluated were effective in protecting diversity dimensions, stressing the need to complete the existing protected areas network.

Rautsaw, R. M., G. Jiménez-Velázquez, E. P. Hofmann, L. R. V. Alencar, C. I. Grünwald, M. Martins, P. Carrasco, et al. 2022. VenomMaps: Updated species distribution maps and models for New World pitvipers (Viperidae: Crotalinae). Scientific Data 9.

Beyond providing critical information to biologists, species distributions are useful for naturalists, curious citizens, and applied disciplines including conservation planning and medical intervention. Venomous snakes are one group that highlight the importance of having accurate information given their cosmopolitan distribution and medical significance. Envenomation by snakebite is considered a neglected tropical disease by the World Health Organization and venomous snake distributions are used to assess vulnerability to snakebite based on species occurrence and antivenom/healthcare accessibility. However, recent studies highlighted the need for updated fine-scale distributions of venomous snakes. Pitvipers (Viperidae: Crotalinae) are responsible for >98% of snakebites in the New World. Therefore, to begin to address the need for updated fine-scale distributions, we created VenomMaps, a database and web application containing updated distribution maps and species distribution models for all species of New World pitvipers. With these distributions, biologists can better understand the biogeography and conservation status of this group, researchers can better assess vulnerability to snakebite, and medical professionals can easily discern species found in their area. Measurement(s) Species Distributions Technology Type(s) Geographic Information System • Species Distribution Model (MaxEnt/kuenm) Factor Type(s) Occurrence Records • Environmental Data Sample Characteristic - Organism Crotalinae Sample Characteristic - Location North America • South America

Shirey, V., R. Khelifa, L. K. M’Gonigle, and L. M. Guzman. 2022. Occupancy–detection models with museum specimen data: Promise and pitfalls. Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

1. Historical museum records provide potentially useful data for identifying drivers of change in species occupancy. However, because museum records are typically obtained via many collection methods, methodological developments are needed in order to enable robust inferences. Occupancy‐detection models, a relatively new and powerful suite of statistical methods, are a potentially promising avenue because they can account for changes in collection effort through space and time.

Espindola, S., E. Vázquez‐Domínguez, M. Nakamura, L. Osorio‐Olvera, E. Martínez‐Meyer, E. A. Myers, I. Overcast, et al. 2022. Complex genetic patterns and distribution limits mediated by native congeners of the worldwide invasive red‐eared slider turtle. Molecular Ecology 31: 1766–1782.

Non-native (invasive) species offer a unique opportunity to study the geographical distribution and range limits of species, wherein the evolutionary change driven by interspecific interactions between native and non-native closely related species is a key component. The red-eared slider turtle, Tra…

García‐Rodríguez, A., M. D. Basanta, M. G. García‐Castillo, H. Zumbado‐Ulate, K. Neam, S. Rovito, C. L. Searle, and G. Parra‐Olea. 2021. Anticipating the potential impacts of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans on Neotropical salamander diversity. Biotropica 54: 157–169.

Emergent infectious disease caused by the fungal pathogens Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) represents one of the major causes of biodiversity loss in amphibians. While Bd has affected amphibians worldwide, Bsal remains restricted to Asia and Europe, b…

Lewthwaite, J. M. M., and A. Ø. Mooers. 2021. Geographical homogenization but little net change in the local richness of Canadian butterflies A. Baselga [ed.],. Global Ecology and Biogeography 31: 266–279.

Aim: Recent studies have found that local-scale plots measured through time exhibit marked variation in the change in species richness. However, the overall effect often reveals no net change. Most studies to date have been agnostic about the identities of the species lost/gained and about the proce…

Sirois‐Delisle, C., and J. T. Kerr. 2021. Climate change aggravates non‐target effects of pesticides on dragonflies at macroecological scales. Ecological Applications 32.

Critical gaps in understanding how species respond to environmental change limit our capacity to address conservation risks in a timely way. Here, we examine the direct and interactive effects of key global change drivers, including climate change, land use change, and pesticide use, on persistence …

Ethier, J. P., A. Fayard, P. Soroye, D. Choi, M. J. Mazerolle, and V. L. Trudeau. 2021. Life history traits and reproductive ecology of North American chorus frogs of the genus Pseudacris (Hylidae). Frontiers in Zoology 18.

Amphibian biodiversity is declining globally, with over 40% of species being considered threatened to become extinct. Crucial to the success of conservation initiatives are a comprehensive understanding of life history and reproductive ecology of target species. Here we provide an overview of the Ps…

Clement, R. A., N. A. Saxton, S. Standring, P. R. Arnold, K. K. Johnson, D. R. Bybee, and S. M. Bybee. 2021. Phylogeny, migration and geographic range size evolution of Anax dragonflies (Anisoptera: Aeshnidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 194: 858–878.

The genus Anax is a group of cosmopolitan dragonflies noted for its conspicuous migratory behaviours and large size. Here we present the first dated, species-level, multigene, molecular phylogeny for the group to test generic and species-limits, as well as the evolution of migration and range size. …