Science Enabled

Mapaura, A., Canavan, K., Richardson, D. M., Clark, V. R., & Steenhuisen, S.-L. (2020). The invasive grass genus Nassella in South Africa: A synthesis. South African Journal of Botany, 135, 336–348. doi:10.1016/j.sajb.2020.08.031 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sajb.2020.08.031

Three species of Nassella have naturalized in South Africa. Nassella trichotoma and N. tenuissima are declared weeds under category 1b of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEM:BA) and occur mainly in the montane grasslands of the Western and Eastern Cape provinces. Nassella ne…

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…

Li, K., Wang, J., Qiao, L., Zheng, R., Ma, Y., Chen, Y., … Liu, H. (2020). Diversity of Reproductive Phenology Among Subtropical Grasses Is Constrained by Evolution and Climatic Niche. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 8. doi:10.3389/fevo.2020.00181 https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2020.00181

Reproductive phenology is sensitive to climatic changes and is associated with species functional types, distribution ranges, and their corresponding climatic niches. Phylogenetic niche conservatism in reproductive phenology also constrains its diversity and the distribution of species. Therefore, w…

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 …

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) …

Klages, J. P., Salzmann, U., Bickert, T., Hillenbrand, C.-D., Gohl, K., … Dziadek, R. (2020). Temperate rainforests near the South Pole during peak Cretaceous warmth. Nature, 580(7801), 81–86. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2148-5 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2148-5

The mid-Cretaceous period was one of the warmest intervals of the past 140 million years1,2,3,4,5, driven by atmospheric carbon dioxide levels of around 1,000 parts per million by volume6. In the near absence of proximal geological records from south of the Antarctic Circle, it is disputed whether p…

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…