Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Reichgelt, T., A. Baumgartner, R. Feng, and D. A. Willard. 2023. Poleward amplification, seasonal rainfall and forest heterogeneity in the Miocene of the eastern USA. Global and Planetary Change 222: 104073. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2023.104073

Paleoclimate reconstructions can provide a window into the environmental conditions in Earth history when atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were higher than today. In the eastern USA, paleoclimate reconstructions are sparse, because terrestrial sedimentary deposits are rare. Despite this, the eastern USA has the largest population and population density in North America, and understanding the effects of current and future climate change is of vital importance. Here, we provide terrestrial paleoclimate reconstructions of the eastern USA from Miocene fossil floras. Additionally, we compare proxy paleoclimate reconstructions from the warmest period in the Miocene, the Miocene Climatic Optimum (MCO), to those of an MCO Earth System Model. Reconstructed Miocene temperatures and precipitation north of 35°N are higher than modern. In contrast, south of 35°N, temperatures and precipitation are similar to today, suggesting a poleward amplification effect in eastern North America. Reconstructed Miocene rainfall seasonality was predominantly higher than modern, regardless of latitude, indicating greater variability in intra-annual moisture transport. Reconstructed climates are almost uniformly in the temperate seasonal forest biome, but heterogeneity of specific forest types is evident. Reconstructed Miocene terrestrial temperatures from the eastern USA are lower than modeled temperatures and coeval Atlantic sea surface temperatures. However, reconstructed rainfall is consistent with modeled rainfall. Our results show that during the Miocene, climate was most different from modern in the northeastern states, and may suggest a drastic reduction in the meridional temperature gradient along the North American east coast compared to today.

Ronquillo, C., F. Alves-Martins, V. Mazimpaka, T. Sobral-Souza, B. Vilela-Silva, N. G. Medina, and J. Hortal. 2020. Assessing spatial and temporal biases and gaps in the publicly available distributional information of Iberian mosses. Biodiversity Data Journal 8. https://doi.org/10.3897/bdj.8.e53474

One of the most valuable initiatives on massive availability of biodiversity data is the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, which is creating new opportunities to develop and test macroecological knowledge. However, the potential uses of these data are limited by the gaps and biases associate…

Goodwin, Z. A., P. Muñoz-Rodríguez, D. J. Harris, T. Wells, J. R. I. Wood, D. Filer, and R. W. Scotland. 2020. How long does it take to discover a species? Systematics and Biodiversity 18: 784–793. 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 …

Mezghani, N., C. K. Khoury, D. Carver, H. A. Achicanoy, P. Simon, F. M. Flores, and D. Spooner. 2019. Distributions and Conservation Status of Carrot Wild Relatives in Tunisia: A Case Study in the Western Mediterranean Basin. Crop Science 59: 2317–2328. https://doi.org/10.2135/cropsci2019.05.0333

Crop wild relatives, the wild progenitors and closely related cousins of cultivated plant species, are sources of valuable genetic resources for crop improvement. Persisting gaps in knowledge of taxonomy, distributions, and characterization for traits of interest constrain their expanded use in plan…

Caudullo, G., E. Welk, and J. San-Miguel-Ayanz. 2017. Chorological maps for the main European woody species. Data in Brief 12: 662–666. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dib.2017.05.007

A novel chorological data compilation for the main European tree and shrub species is presented. This dataset was produced by combining numerous and heterogeneous data collected from 20th century atlas monographs providing complete species distribution maps, and from more recent national to regional…