Science Enabled by Specimen Data

Cámara-Leret, R., Raes, N., Roehrdanz, P., De Fretes, Y., Heatubun, C. D., Roeble, L., … Hannah, L. (2019). Climate change threatens New Guinea’s biocultural heritage. Science Advances, 5(11), eaaz1455. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aaz1455 https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aaz1455

New Guinea is the most biologically and linguistically diverse tropical island on Earth, yet the potential impacts of climate change on its biocultural heritage remain unknown. Analyzing 2353 endemic plant species distributions, we find that 63% of species are expected to have smaller geographic ran…

Armani, M., Charles-Dominique, T., E. Barton, K., & W. Tomlinson, K. (2019). Developmental constraints and resource environment shape early emergence and investment in spines in saplings. Annals of Botany. doi:10.1093/aob/mcz152 https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcz152

Background and Aims: Herbivory by large mammals imposes a critical recruitment bottleneck on plants in many systems. Spines defend plants against large herbivores and how early they emerge in saplings may be one of the strongest predictors of sapling survival in herbivore-rich environments. Yet litt…

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.…

Nevado, B., Wong, E. L. Y., Osborne, O. G., & Filatov, D. A. (2019). Adaptive Evolution Is Common in Rapid Evolutionary Radiations. Current Biology. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2019.07.059 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2019.07.059

One of the most long-standing and important mysteries in evolutionary biology is why biological diversity is so unevenly distributed across space and taxonomic lineages. Nowhere is this disparity more evident than in the multitude of rapid evolutionary radiations found on oceanic islands and mountai…

Pouteau, R., Trueba, S., & Isnard, S. (2019). Retracing the contours of the early angiosperm environmental niche. Annals of Botany. doi:10.1093/aob/mcz131 https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcz131

Background and Aims We aim to understand the environmental conditions of early angiosperms emergence and radiation. Such a question has long remained controversial because various applied approaches in the past have drawn conflicting images of early angiosperm ecology. …

Fletcher, T. L., Warden, L., Sinninghe Damsté, J. S., Brown, K. J., Rybczynski, N., Gosse, J. C., & Ballantyne, A. P. (2019). Evidence for fire in the Pliocene Arctic in response to amplified temperature. Climate of the Past, 15(3), 1063–1081. doi:10.5194/cp-15-1063-2019 https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-1063-2019

The mid-Pliocene is a valuable time interval for investigating equilibrium climate at current atmospheric CO2 concentrations because atmospheric CO2 concentrations are thought to have been comparable to the current day and yet the climate and distribution of ecosystems were quite different. One intr…

De Albuquerque, F. S., Macías-Rodríguez, M. Á., Búrquez, A., & Astudillo-Scalia, Y. (2019). Climate change and the potential expansion of buffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris L., Poaceae) in biotic communities of Southwest United States and northern Mexico. Biological Invasions. doi:10.1007/s10530-019-02050-5 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-019-02050-5

In the last decades, more than six hundred exotic species have become established throughout the region of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, including the African buffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris L.). Buffelgrass often causes negative impacts on natural ecosystems and it is consi…

Folk, R. A., Stubbs, R. L., Mort, M. E., Cellinese, N., Allen, J. M., Soltis, P. S., … Guralnick, R. P. (2019). Rates of niche and phenotype evolution lag behind diversification in a temperate radiation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(22), 10874–10882. doi:10.1073/pnas.1817999116 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1817999116

Environmental change can create opportunities for increased rates of lineage diversification, but continued species accumulation has been hypothesized to lead to slowdowns via competitive exclusion and niche partitioning. Such density-dependent models imply tight linkages between diversification and…

Gomes, S. I. F., van Bodegom, P. M., Merckx, V. S. F. T., & Soudzilovskaia, N. A. (2019). Global distribution patterns of mycoheterotrophy. Global Ecology and Biogeography. doi:10.1111/geb.12920 https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12920

Aim: Mycoheterotrophy is a mode of life where plants cheat the mycorrhizal symbiosis, receiving carbon via their fungal partners. Despite being widespread, mycoheterotrophic plants are locally rare, hampering the understanding of their global environmental drivers. Here, we explore global environmen…

Ramos, R. S., Kumar, L., Shabani, F., & Picanço, M. C. (2019). Risk of spread of tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) in tomato crops under various climate change scenarios. Agricultural Systems, 173, 524–535. doi:10.1016/j.agsy.2019.03.020 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2019.03.020

Species distribution models (SDMs) are valuable for the information they provide to reduce the potential negative effects of climatic factors on agricultural production systems. Such information may be used to prevent the entry and spread of invasive species in new areas, as well as to monitor regio…

He, X., Burgess, K. S., Yang, X.-F., Ahrends, A., Gao, L.-M., & Li, D.-Z. (2019). Upward elevation and northwest range shifts for alpine Meconopsis species in the Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains region. Ecology and Evolution. doi:10.1002/ece3.5034 https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5034

Climate change may impact the distribution of species by shifting their ranges to higher elevations or higher latitudes. The impacts on alpine plant species may be particularly profound due to a potential lack of availability of future suitable habitat. To identify how alpine species have responded …

Wan, J.-Z., Zhang, Z.-X., & Wang, C.-J. (2019). Effects of ecoregional vulnerability on habitat suitability of invasive alien plants: an assessment using 13 species on a global scale. Environmental Earth Sciences, 78(5). doi:10.1007/s12665-019-8186-3 https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-019-8186-3

The development of new hypotheses can promote the explanation of mechanisms on plant invasion across different scales. We tested the hypothesis that ecoregional vulnerability can affect habitat suitability of invasive alien plants (IAPs) in non-native ranges. We used 13 IAPs, distributed around the …

Margaroni, S., Petersen, K. B., Gleadow, R., & Burd, M. (2019). The role of spore size in the global pattern of co-occurrence among Selaginella species. Journal of Biogeography. doi:10.1111/jbi.13532 https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13532

Aim: Separation of regeneration niches may promote coexistence among closely related plant species, but there is little evidence that regeneration traits affect species ranges at broad geographical scales. We address patterns of co‐occurrence within the genus Selaginella, an ancient lineage of free‐…

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…

Figueira, R., & Lages, F. (2019). Museum and Herbarium Collections for Biodiversity Research in Angola. Biodiversity of Angola, 513–542. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-03083-4_19 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-03083-4_19

The importance of museum and herbarium collections is especially great in biodiverse countries such as Angola, an importance as great as the challenges facing the effective and sustained management of such facilities. The interface that Angola represents between tropical humid climates and semi-dese…

Chevalier, M. (2019). Enabling possibilities to quantify past climate from fossil assemblages at a global scale. Global and Planetary Change, 175, 27–35. doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2019.01.016 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2019.01.016

The field of quantitative palaeoclimatology has made significant progress in the past decades. However, this progress has been spatially heterogeneous and strong discrepancies – both in terms of quality and density – exist between Europe and North America and the rest of the world. The need to balan…

Gagnon, E., Ringelberg, J. J., Bruneau, A., Lewis, G. P., & Hughes, C. E. (2018). Global Succulent Biome phylogenetic conservatism across the pantropical Caesalpinia Group (Leguminosae). New Phytologist. doi:10.1111/nph.15633 https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.15633

The extent to which phylogenetic biome conservatism versus biome shifting determine global patterns of biodiversity remains poorly understood. To address this question, we investigate the biogeography and trajectories of biome and growth form evolution across the Caesalpinia Group (Leguminosae), a c…

Crespo-Mendes, N., Laurent, A., & Hauschild, M. Z. (2018). Effect factors of terrestrial acidification in Brazil for use in Life Cycle Impact Assessment. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment. doi:10.1007/s11367-018-1560-7 https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-018-1560-7

Purpose:In Life Cycle Impact Assessment, atmospheric fate factors, soil exposure factors, and effect factors are combined to characterize potential impacts of acidifying substances in terrestrial environments. Due to the low availability of global data sets, effect factors (EFs) have been reported a…

Crespo-Mendes, N., Laurent, A., Bruun, H. H., & Hauschild, M. Z. (2019). Relationships between plant species richness and soil pH at the level of biome and ecoregion in Brazil. Ecological Indicators, 98, 266–275. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2018.11.004 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2018.11.004

Soil pH has been used to indicate how changes in soil acidity can influence species loss. The correlation between soil pH and plant species richness has mainly been studied in North America and Europe, while there is a lack of studies exploring Tropical floras. Here, our aim was therefore to investi…

Milla, R., Bastida, J. M., Turcotte, M. M., Jones, G., Violle, C., Osborne, C. P., … Byun, C. (2018). Phylogenetic patterns and phenotypic profiles of the species of plants and mammals farmed for food. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2(11), 1808–1817. doi:10.1038/s41559-018-0690-4 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-018-0690-4

The origins of agriculture were key events in human history, during which people came to depend for their food on small numbers of animal and plant species. However, the biological traits determining which species were domesticated for food provision, and which were not, are unclear. Here, we invest…

Li, Q., Liu, Y. (Christopher), Jin, J., & Quan, C. (2018). Late Oligocene Fissistigma (Annonaceae) leaves from Guangxi, low-latitude China and its paleoecological implications. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 259, 39–47. doi:10.1016/j.revpalbo.2018.09.005 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.revpalbo.2018.09.005

Fissistigma nanningense sp. nov. (Annonaceae) is described based on well-preserved mummified leaves from the Oligocene Yongning Formation of Nanning, Guangxi, southern China. They are characterized by retuse apex, a swollen petiole, eucamptodromous to simple brochidodromous secondary veins, percurre…

Obiakara, M. C., & Fourcade, Y. (2018). Climatic niche and potential distribution of Tithonia diversifolia (Hemsl.) A. Gray in Africa. PLOS ONE, 13(9), e0202421. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0202421 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0202421

Mexican sunflower, Tithonia diversifolia (Asteraceae), is an invasive tropical plant species native to Central America. It has spread in more than 70 countries across Asia, Africa and Australia. In Africa, this species is known to disturb native crops and plant communities, but its negative impacts …

Xie, S.-P., Zhang, S.-H., Chen, T.-Y., Zhang, X.-C., Zeng, X., & Yu, Y. (2018). Late Miocene occurrence of monogeneric family Oleandraceae from southwest China and its implications on evolution of eupolypods I. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 256, 13–19. doi:10.1016/j.revpalbo.2018.05.002 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.revpalbo.2018.05.002

Yunnan in SW China is a world renowned hotspot for diverse species of vascular plants such as ferns. However, fossil records of the Cenozoic ferns there are insufficient to clarify their phylogeny and historical biogeography from a geological perspective. Among these derived ferns, the monogeneric f…

Wan, J.-Z., & Wang, C.-J. (2018). Expansion risk of invasive plants in regions of high plant diversity: A global assessment using 36 species. Ecological Informatics, 46, 8–18. doi:10.1016/j.ecoinf.2018.04.004 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoinf.2018.04.004

Invasive plant species (IPS) have a high potential for expanding within biodiversity hotspots and threatening global plant diversity. Hence, it is urgent to assess the expansion risk of IPS in regions of high plant diversity and their potentially negative effects throughout the world. We used the wo…

Petersen, K. B., & Burd, M. (2018). The adaptive value of heterospory: Evidence from Selaginella . Evolution, 72(5), 1080–1091. doi:10.1111/evo.13484 https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.13484

Heterospory was a pivotal evolutionary innovation for land plants, but it has never been clear why it evolved. We used the geographic distributions of 114 species of the heterosporous lycophyte Selaginella to explore the functional ecology of microspore and megaspore size, traits that would be corre…

Reichgelt, T., West, C. K., & Greenwood, D. R. (2018). The relation between global palm distribution and climate. Scientific Reports, 8(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-018-23147-2 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-23147-2

Fossil palms provide qualitative evidence of (sub-) tropical conditions and frost-free winters in the geological past, including modern cold climate regions (e.g., boreal, or polar climates). The freeze intolerance of palms varies across different organs and life stages, with seedlings in particular…

Jurd, D., & Pole, M. (2017). Miocene “fin-winged” fruits and Pliocene drift fruits – the first record of Combretaceae (Terminalia) from New Zealand. Geobios, 50(5-6), 423–429. doi:10.1016/j.geobios.2017.10.002 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geobios.2017.10.002

Two types of fossil Terminalia (Combretaceae) fruits are described from warmer periods in New Zealand’s past. One is represented by large ‘fin-winged’ fruit (samara) from the Early Miocene Manuherikia Group sediments of Bannockburn and the Nevis Valley. The form and size of the fruits are entirely u…

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

Grossenbacher, D. L., Brandvain, Y., Auld, J. R., Burd, M., Cheptou, P.-O., Conner, J. K., … Goldberg, E. E. (2017). Self-compatibility is over-represented on islands. New Phytologist, 215(1), 469–478. doi:10.1111/nph.14534 https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.14534

Because establishing a new population often depends critically on finding mates, individuals capable of uniparental reproduction may have a colonization advantage. Accordingly, there should be an over-representation of colonizing species in which individuals can reproduce without a mate, particularl…

Antonelli, A., Hettling, H., Condamine, F. L., Vos, K., Nilsson, R. H., Sanderson, M. J., … Vos, R. A. (2016). Toward a Self-Updating Platform for Estimating Rates of Speciation and Migration, Ages, and Relationships of Taxa. Systematic Biology, syw066. doi:10.1093/sysbio/syw066 https://doi.org/10.1093/sysbio/syw066

Rapidly growing biological data –including molecular sequences and fossils– hold an unprecedented potential to reveal how evolutionary processes generate and maintain biodiversity. However, researchers often have to develop their own idiosyncratic workflows to integrate and analyse these data for re…