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Frontiers of Biogeography     Open Access   (Followers: 4, SJR: 0.233, CiteScore: 1)
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Frontiers of Biogeography
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.233
Citation Impact (citeScore): 1
Number of Followers: 4  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 1948-6596
Published by International Biogeography Society Homepage  [1 journal]
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      PubDate: Sat, 4 Jun 2022 00:00:00 +0000
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      PubDate: Tue, 1 Mar 2022 00:00:00 +0000
  • The macroecology of community energy use in terrestrial vertebrates

    • Abstract: Energy is a fundamental macroecological property as it governs all ecological processes and interactions. Understanding variation in community energy use and its correlations is crucial to knowing how communities function across the globe. As an organism’s metabolic rate equates to its rate of energy flow, individual rates can predict community-level functioning. Here, daily rates of community energy flow are calculated for 118 bat, 109 bird, and 196 non-volant small mammal inventories from around the world. These were scaled up from individual metabolic rates that were obtained for the 416 bat, 1880 bird, and 562 small mammal species present in the samples. While controlling for spatial autocorrelation, rates were contrasted and compared to various ecological, environmental, geographic, and anthropogenic variables, using a method of sequential regression that renders the variables orthogonal to each other, thus addressing the issue of collinearity. In all groups, there is...
      PubDate: Sat, 26 Feb 2022 00:00:00 +000
  • Phenology in adult and larval Lepidoptera from structured and unstructured
           surveys across eastern North America

    • Abstract: Caterpillars (larval Lepidoptera) are an essential link in trophic networks of forest ecosystems, as they serve as herbivores of vegetation and a food source for many organisms. Phenological mismatches between caterpillars, host plants, or predators may have negative effects across multiple trophic levels. Seasonal timing of caterpillar emergence and peak occurrence may be impacted by climate change, however, studying caterpillar phenology at broad spatial scales is challenging due to lack of data availability. Here, we examine two sources of caterpillar observations, opportunistic records from iNaturalist and structured surveys of forest caterpillars, and compare whether phenology patterns in these datasets are consistent across larval datasets and with more numerous records of adult butterflies. Despite substantial taxonomic differences between these three datasets, we found concurrence in patterns of early and late years in spring onset between datasets. However, the datasets...
      PubDate: Wed, 2 Feb 2022 00:00:00 +0000
  • Can sea snakes slither through seascape structure' Comparative
           phylogeography and population genetics of Hydrophis group sea snakes in
           Australia and Southeast Asia

    • Abstract: Pleistocene sea level changes substantially shaped the biogeography of northern Australia and the Indo-Malayan Archipelago (IMA). For co-distributed species, their phylogeographic and population genetic patterns are expected to be concomitant with geological transformations of the Pleistocene. However, species-specific ecologies and life history traits may also be influential in generating patterns which depart from simple expectations arising from biogeographic features. Thus, comparative population genetic studies, which use taxa that reduces variation in taxonomy and geography, may refine our understanding of how biogeographic elements shape the populations of co-occurring species. Here, we sampled two sea snake species, Hydrophis curtus and H. elegans, throughout their known ranges in the IMA and northern Australia. These sea snakes have similar life history strategies and ecologies as well as overlapping distributions across the Torres Strait, a well-known biogeographic...
      PubDate: Wed, 2 Feb 2022 00:00:00 +0000
  • Which is the richest of them all' Comparing area-adjusted plant
           diversities of Mediterranean- and tropical-climate regions

    • Abstract: Tropical- and Mediterranean-climate regions harbour exceptional levels of regional-scale plant diversity, though until recently, comparisons of their diversities have been hindered by a lack of comprehensive inventories of tropical floras. Using taxonomically verified floras, we analyse area-adjusted plant diversities of tropical- and Mediterranean-climate regions to determine which are the most species-rich regions on Earth. On average, the Neotropics and tropical Southeast Asia support the most diverse floras globally. However, the area-adjusted diversities of the richest floras in these tropical regions (Ecuador and Peninsular Malaysia, respectively) are matched by those of Mediterranean-climate floras (the Cape and Mediterranean Basin, respectively), calling into question the role of water–energy dynamics as a determinant of global plant diversity patterns. Instead, these patterns are consistent with the hypothesis that the synergy of topographical heterogeneity (promoting...
      PubDate: Wed, 26 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +000
  • Biogeographic and β-diversity patterns for southern Africa’s native
           freshwater fishes: a synthesis

    • Abstract: Freshwater habitats are some of the most imperilled ecosystems in the world as they harbour numerous species threatened with extinction. In tropical Africa, acute deficiency of scientific data on the distribution patterns of freshwater biodiversity hampers successful conservation interventions. The number of newly described and resurrected freshwater fish species in southern Africa has increased considerably since the last bioregionalization effort, nearly three decades ago.  Here, we utilize an updated matrix of catchment-scale native freshwater fish distributions to re-evaluate earlier biogeographic zonation patterns and examine the relative contribution of beta diversity to observed spatial distribution patterns in the subregion. Cluster analysis applied to an incidence data matrix of 259 native freshwater fish species from 17 drainage basins resulted in three major biogeographic zones, which generally corresponded to patterns shown in earlier studies. However, our...
      PubDate: Sat, 22 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +000
  • Biodiversity’s ubiquitous signal

    • Abstract: Review of: The Species–Area Relationship: Theory and ApplicationEdited by Thomas J. Matthews, Kostas A. Triantis, Robert J. WhittakerCambridge University PressMarch 2021Online ISBN:9781108569422
      PubDate: Tue, 4 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000
  • Species richness and composition of Caribbean aquatic entomofauna: role of
           climate, island area, and distance to mainland

    • Abstract: From a literature review, we constructed a database comprising >1000 freshwater insect species (especially Odonata, Coleoptera, Trichoptera, Ephemeroptera; OCTE) in 26 Geographical Caribbean Units (GCU) and quantified local filtering (climate heterogeneity, annual rainfall, annual temperature), geography (area, distance from the mainland) and emergence age as a proxy for island ontogeny. We investigated the relative role of these variables on the species richness, endemism and composition of the units using island species-area relationship (ISAR), generalised linear modelling (GLM) and nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS). In addition, we analysed the spatial patterns of species richness and composition using Moran’s I index. ISAR generally demonstrated one or two thresholds and continuous or discontinuous responses according to OCTE groups. A small island effect could be detected for Trichoptera and Ephemeroptera richness, whereas Odonata and Coleoptera only...
      PubDate: Sat, 1 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000
  • Water inputs across the Namib Desert: implications for dryland edaphic

    • Abstract: Microbes have a dominant role in nutrient cycling processes in the world’s deserts, where growth and activity are limited by the availability of water. In order to understand the dynamics of water availability in a desert system and how it may affect the soil microbiome, we analysed soil temperature and relative humidity fluctuations recorded between April 2018 and April 2020 across a precipitation gradient in the Namib Desert and compared them with recorded data from satellites and nearby weather stations. This allowed us to assess the possible impact of fog and rain events in terms of biologically-available water. Using published literature on the water activity limits for various physiological processes in microorganisms, we were able to infer the annual ‘metabolic windows’ for desert microbial communities across the longitudinal precipitation gradient. Specifically, soil surface microbial communities were estimated to have the capacity for active growth for an average of...
      PubDate: Sat, 1 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000
  • Different levels of disturbance influence the distributional patterns of
           native but not exotic plant species on New Zealand small islands

    • Abstract: Disturbances of oceanic origin can severely affect plant communities on islands, but it is unclear whether they promote or deter biological invasions. Here, I collected floristic data from 97 small islands subject to different levels of ocean-borne disturbances (i.e. inside and outside Wellington Harbour, New Zealand). First, I tested how relationships between the richness of native and exotic species and island characteristics (e.g. area, isolation, height, distance from nearest dwelling) changed depending on island location. Next, I assessed compositional differences on inner and outer islands for both native and exotic species, and how they vary with geographic distance between islands (i.e. distance-decay). Results show that the richness of both native and exotic plant species was similarly related to island characteristics regardless of island location. Both native and exotic species richness consistently increased with area and nearest dwelling. However, only exotics...
      PubDate: Sat, 1 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000
  • Molecular phylogenetic analyses and ecological niche modeling provide new
           insights into threats to the endangered Crocodile Lizard (Shinisaurus

    • Abstract: The endangered crocodile lizard, Shinisaurus crocodilurus, is seriously imperiled by anthropogenic threats, including habitat loss and degradation and most critically over-collection for the international pet trade. As a result, population sizes of crocodile lizards have sharply declined throughout their range, with only a small number remaining in China and a handful of individuals left in Vietnam. To prioritize conservation measures for the species, in this study, we generate new mitochondrial sequences of important new samples and analyze them with existing data. Our results confirm a new genetically distinct population in China, highlighting cryptic genetic diversity within the species. The assessment of climate change impacts on the species suggests that the suitable habitat of one population in China will become severely fragmented, decreased in size, and shifted, while the habitat of two other Chinese populations will remain stable and may even expand given...
      PubDate: Sat, 1 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000
  • Operationalizing expert knowledge in species' range estimates using
           diverse data types

    • Abstract: Estimates of species’ ranges can inform many aspects of biodiversity research and conservation-management decisions. Many practical applications need high-precision range estimates that are sufficiently reliable to use as input data in downstream applications. One solution has involved expert-generated maps that reflect on-the-ground field information and implicitly capture various processes that may limit a species’ geographic distribution. However, expert maps are often subjective and rarely reproducible. In contrast, species distribution models (SDMs) typically have finer resolution and are reproducible because of explicit links to data. Yet, SDMs can have higher uncertainty when data are sparse, which is an issue for most species. Also, SDMs often capture only a subset of the factors that determine species distributions (e.g., climate) and hence can require significant post-processing to better estimate species’ current realized distributions. Here, we demonstrate how expert...
      PubDate: Sat, 1 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000
  • Species distribution modeling to inform transboundary species conservation
           and management under climate change: promise and pitfalls

    • Abstract: Spatially explicit biogeographic models are among the most used methods in conservation biogeography, with correlative species distribution models (SDMs) being the most popular among them. SDMs can identify the potential for species’ and community range shifts under climate change, and thus can inspire, inform, and guide complex and adaptive conservation management planning efforts such as collaborative transboundary conservation frameworks. However, SDMs are rarely developed collaboratively, which would be ideal for conservation applications of such models. Further, SDMs that are applied to conservation often do not follow best practices of the field, which are particularly important for applications in climate change contexts for which model extrapolation into potentially novel climates is necessary. Thus, while there is substantial promise, particularly among machine-learning based SDM approaches, there are also many pitfalls to consider when applying SDMs to conservation,...
      PubDate: Sat, 1 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000
  • The past as a prologue to the frontiers of ecology: informative and
           engaging lessons from ancient mammals.

    • Abstract: Mammalian paleoecology: using the past to study the present, by Felisa A. Smith, 2021, Johns Hopkins University Press, 260 pp., ISBN 9781421441405 (hardcover).
      PubDate: Sat, 1 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000
  • Tramps in transition: genetic differentiation between populations of an
           iconic "supertramp" taxon in the Central Indo-Pacific

    • Abstract: The island monarch (Monarcha cinerascens) was an original example of the “supertramp strategy”, i.e. dispersal specialisation enabling remote island colonisation but causing competitive exclusion from larger islands. It is the only one of these original Melanesian supertramps to occur in Wallacea, also home to the sedentary pale-blue monarch (Hypothymis puella). We interrogate the supertramp strategy and its biogeographical underpinnings by assessing the population structure of these two monarch species. We sampled island and pale-blue monarchs in Wallacea, collecting DNA and morphological data. We investigated monarch population structure by applying Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood phylogenetic methods, as well as ABGD, to their ND2 and ND3 genes. We constructed linear models to investigate the relationships between genetic divergence, dispersal ability, and island area, height, and isolation. Wallacea’s deep waters restrict gene flow even in a supertramp,...
      PubDate: Sat, 1 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000
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  • With what precision can the population size of Tyrannosaurus rex be
           estimated' A reply to Meiri

    • Abstract: Interested in the absolute preservation rate of one of the best understood dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex, Marshall et al. (2021) estimated the total number that ever lived.  This required estimating its geographic range, longevity, and population density, which required estimating its body mass and physiology.  Meiri (2021) questions the precision of our estimates, emphasizing the difficulties in estimating population densities and geographic ranges for living species, and in error propagation.  He posits that estimating population sizes of extinct species is ‘extremely unlikely’.  While we agree that we did not quantify some sources of uncertainty (for example, in the physiology of T. rex), our calculations do not depend on short-term changes in population density and geographic range, but rather on their long-term averages, rendering many of Meiri’s (2021) concerns moot.  We also note that Monte Carlo Simulation propagates uncertainties...
      PubDate: Tue, 12 Oct 2021 00:00:00 +000
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      PubDate: Thu, 2 Sep 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Mountain biodiversity and elevational gradients

    • Abstract: Mountains are excellent systems for studying species responses to changing conditions because climatic conditions and related productivity measures change rapidly over short distances (Körner 2007).  Mountains also often have high biodiversity and high levels of endemism (Hoorn et al. 2018, Rahbek et al. 2019), and are typically relatively less disturbed by people compared to flat lowlands. Although new insights about biodiversity patterns associated with mountains and elevation gradients have been achieved (Rahbek et al. 2019) the underpinning mechanistic causes of these biodiversity patterns are still open for debate (cf. Jablonski et al. 2006). This is the underpinning motivation for this special issue on 'Elevational Gradients and Mountain Biodiversity'.
      PubDate: Wed, 14 Jul 2021 00:00:00 +000
  • Population sizes of T. rex cannot be precisely estimated

    • Abstract: Marshall et al. recently estimated population densities, range sizes, instant and cumulative total population sizes for Tyrannosaurus rex with narrow ranges of uncertainly. I revisit the assumptions that led them to these conclusions and show that many of these parameters are associated with much wider margins of error than they estimated. Biogeographic estimates seem to have been especially unrealistic, seriously hampering the effort to calculate population level parameters. I posit that biogeographic and ecological uncertainties make it extremely unlikely to be able to estimate population sizes of long-extinct species.
      PubDate: Mon, 21 Jun 2021 00:00:00 +000
  • Globally important plant functional traits for coping with climate change

    • Abstract: The last decade has seen a proliferation of studies that use plant functional traits to assess how plants respond to climate change. However, it remains unclear whether there is a global set of traits that can predict plants’ ability to cope or even thrive when exposed to varying manifestations of climate change. We conducted a systematic global review which identified 148 studies to assess whether there is a set of common traits across biomes that best predict positive plant responses to multiple climate changes and associated environmental changes.  Eight key traits appear to best predict positive plant responses to multiple climate/environmental changes across biomes: lower or higher specific leaf area (SLA), lower or higher plant height, greater water-use efficiency (WUE), greater resprouting ability, lower relative growth rate, greater clonality/bud banks/below-ground storage, higher wood density, and greater rooting depth. Trait attributes associated with positive...
      PubDate: Mon, 21 Jun 2021 00:00:00 +000
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      PubDate: Mon, 21 Jun 2021 00:00:00 +000
  • Geographic and ecological segregation in an extinct guild of flightless
           birds: New Zealand’s moa

    • Abstract: The nine currently recognized species of moa (Order – Dinornithiformes; Bonaparte 1853) suffered extinction soon after New Zealand was settled by humans.  They were the result of an evolutionary radiation that produced a unique guild of birds – giant, and totally wingless species that evolved in the absence of non-volant mammals.   Recent advances in dating and paleoclimatology, and compilations of data on distributions of the nine species of moa, along with information on the geographic, topographic, climatic and edaphic characteristics of sites from which moa remains have been recovered, enabled us to test whether their evolutionary radiation truly was ‘adaptive’, producing ecologically distinct species.  Randomization, resampling analyses of moa distributions across North and South Islands revealed highly significant geographic and ecological segregation, with different species tending to occupy different islands, regions within islands, or elevations...
      PubDate: Fri, 28 May 2021 00:00:00 +000
  • Assessment of climate change impacts on one of the rarest apes on Earth,
           the Cao Vit Gibbon Nomascus nasutus

    • Abstract: The Cao Vit Gibbon (Nomascus nasutus) is a critically endangered species of gibbon that was historically wide-ranging but is now known to occupy only one forest patch that straddles the China-Vietnam border. While past and current threats to the species include poaching and habitat destruction, the potential effects of global climate change on this species and its current habitat are still poorly known. Species Distribution Modeling (SDM) is often used to predict the risk of potential species distribution shifts in response to climate change and inform conservation planning including restoration and reintroduction efforts. Here, we present optimally tuned SDMs to predict climatically suitable habitat for N. nasutus, projected under a range of future climate change scenarios. Our SDMs showed high predictive performance and successfully predicted the current known range, but also showed expected areas of overprediction to a much wider area that likely...
      PubDate: Thu, 20 May 2021 00:00:00 +000
  • High-elevation limits and the ecology of high-elevation vascular plants:
           legacies from Alexander von Humboldt

    • Abstract: Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland in their Essay on the Geography of Plants discuss what was known in 1807 about the elevational limits of vascular plants in the Andes, North America, and the European Alps and suggest what factors might influence these upper elevational limits. Here, in light of current knowledge and techniques, I consider which species are thought to be the highest vascular plants in twenty mountain areas and two polar regions on Earth. I review how one can try to compare elevational limits in different parts of Earth. I discuss recent advances in high-elevation plant ecology that would surely have fascinated von Humboldt such as the special snow-roots in some snow-bed plants and the coldest place on Earth where a vascular plant is growing. I briefly outline an ignored von Humboldt legacy, Mendelssohn’s Humboldt Cantata. In conclusion I summarise the foundations and legacies that von Humboldt created for global high-elevation ecology and biogeograph...
      PubDate: Fri, 14 May 2021 00:00:00 +000
  • Rapid decline and fragmentation of the distribution of an enigmatic small
           carnivore, the Owston’s Civet, in response to future climate change

    • Abstract: Indochina is known as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, with populations of many endangered and/or endemic species dramatically declining due to a range of threats, such as illegal hunting, habitat destruction, and global climate change. Climate change is expected to alter the region’s habitat and ecosystem conditions, force contraction of species ranges, and increase the likelihood of local extinctions. Maxent is a widely used modelling approach to predict the species’ current potential distribution, project range shifts in response to climate change, and inform conservation planning. Here, we collated known records and built models for both present and future climatically suitable habitat of the Owston’s Civet (Chrotogale owstoni), an endangered and poorly studied small carnivore occurring in Vietnam, eastern Laos, and a small part of southern China. Projections of climatically suitable habitat for the civet in most climate change scenarios and timeframes...
      PubDate: Thu, 13 May 2021 00:00:00 +000
  • The interface between Macroecology and Conservation: existing links and
           untapped opportunities

    • Abstract: Human activities are altering the structure of ecosystems, compromising the benefits they provide to nature and people. Effective conservation actions and management under ongoing global change rely on a better understanding of socio-ecological patterns and processes across broad spatiotemporal scales. Both macroecology and conservation science contribute to this improved understanding and, while they have different scopes, these disciplines have become increasingly interconnected over time. Here we describe examples of how macroecology has contributed to conservation science, and how conservation science can motivate further macroecological developments and applications. We identify challenges and untapped potential to further strengthen the links between these two disciplines. Major macroecological contributions include developing ecological theory, providing methodologies useful for biodiversity assessments and projections, making data more accessible and addressing knowledge...
      PubDate: Tue, 4 May 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Species–area relationships of the Aegean, a comparative approach
           between six taxa

    • Abstract: Islands occupy a proportionately small area on Earth, however they play a crucial role in Ecology and Biogeography, as they constitute “natural laboratories”. The increased number of species, with increasing island area, is such a commonly observed pattern that it has been labelled as one of the few laws of ecology. The Aegean archipelago is of broad biogeographical interest, as it has a considerable number of islands in addition to a rich paleogeographical and geological history, while being divided among three continents (Europe, Asia, Africa). As a result, the composition of life in the Aegean is dominated by species of European, Asian, African origin as well as species endemic in the archipelago. In this framework, we approached the species–area relationship (SAR) of the Aegean islands for six different organismic groups (birds, herptiles, snails, isopods, tenebrionids and chilopods) and 20 different models. The aim was to determine which model(s) perform better for each...
      PubDate: Mon, 26 Apr 2021 00:00:00 +000
  • How the fraying fabric was woven: a pocket guide to the changing world

    • Abstract: The Very Short Introductions series, which now includes Mark Lomolino’s new book Biogeography, aims to give “anyone ... a stimulating and accessible way into a new subject” (p. ii). In such an holistic discipline as biogeography, in such a short book, finding the hooks to engage a diverse audience and represent the field seems like an impossible task. But having co- authored a, if not the discipline’s preeminent, full-size biogeography text (Lomolino et al. 2016), probably few are as well positioned as Lomolino to distil biogeography’s essence.
      PubDate: Wed, 7 Apr 2021 00:00:00 +0000
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  • Non-overlapping climatic niches and biogeographic barriers explain
           disjunct distributions of continental Urania moths

    • Abstract: Larvae of Urania moths feed exclusively on Omphalea plants, which are widely distributed in the Neotropics. However, the distributions of the two Urania species in this region are disjunct. This distributional pattern could derive from the presence of the Andes, but it could also be related to differences in ecological niches, the presence of negative interactions, or the absence of conditions that can only be observed at a habitat level. We tested whether differences in the ecological niches of continental Urania moths play a role in their disjunct distribution. Using species records and climatic variables, we characterized the ecological niches of Urania moths and their host plants and analyzed the overlap of the moths' niches. Using ecoregions as a proxy of habitat-level environmental conditions, we explored the role of host plant availability on the moth distributions. Suitable conditions for the species were widespread, with...
      PubDate: Sat, 13 Feb 2021 00:00:00 +000
  • Origin, diversification, and biogeography of forest birds across temperate
           forest regions in the Northern Hemisphere

    • Abstract: Technological and methodological advances in biogeography, phylogenetics, and bioinformatics during the past couple of decades provide greatly enhanced insights into the evolutionary history of birds in space and time. Molecular data, especially next-generation DNA sequencing, have produced a revolution in reconstructing the phylogenetic history of lineages. These advances shed a new light on the mode, tempo, and spatial context of differentiation processes that shaped the composition and structure of extant forest bird communities of temperate forests of the Northern Hemisphere. This paper offers a framework for understanding this history based on analytical tools that allow us to decipher the imprint of changes in the geographic configuration of land masses and in climates since the Mesozoic, with a focus on the temperate-tropical flyways that connect the massive forest blocks of the Northern to those of the Southern Hemispheres. Differentiation of most extant bird lineages...
      PubDate: Mon, 1 Feb 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Karst as an abiotic driver of François’ langur distribution, with
           predictions for biological communities on karst under climate change

    • Abstract: Ecological niche models (ENMs) can project changes in species’ distributions under climate change and thus inform conservation efforts and further our understanding of patterns of change. Predictions of species’ distribution shifts under climate change in topographically and geologically complex landscapes, such as karst landforms, should be improved by better integration of non-climate abiotic variables, such as karst geology or habitat structure, into model projections. We built ENMs for one of the limestone langurs, a group of leaf monkeys adapted to forests on the Sino-Vietnamese limestone karst landform. We collected occurrence localities for François’ leaf monkeys (Trachypithecus francoisi) and thinned them to avoid sampling bias. We included as environmental parameters a global dataset for karst geology and 19 bioclimatic variables derived from monthly temperature and precipitation at 30 arc-second resolution. ENMs including karst geology and climatic variables...
      PubDate: Thu, 21 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +000
  • Hierarchical analyses of community biogeography in the Afromontane

    • Abstract: The Afromontane mountains are a complex series of highlands that have intermittently been connected by habitat corridors during climatic cycles, resulting in a mosaic of range disjunctions and allospecies complexes in the present day. Patterns of community relatedness between geographic regions are often determined through single-species analyses or spatial analyses of diversity and nestedness at the species level. To understand patterns of Afromontane community evolution and to assess the effects of taxonomy on our understanding of biogeographic patterns, I concatenated three different lists of Afromontane bird taxa divided into five different taxonomic hierarchies. These lists were converted into a presence-absence matrix across 42 different montane regions, and analyzed using multiple different clustering techniques using a replicable coding pipeline. I use these lists and methods to determine patterns of relatedness between montane blocks, to assess the consistency with...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Burrowing habit in Smilisca frogs as an adaptive response to ecological
           niche constraints in seasonally dry environments

    • Abstract: As environmental conditions change over time, some species can follow the spatial footprint of their ecological niches or can adapt physiologically to the new conditions; modifying behavior can offer an alternative means of adapting to novel environments. The burrowing habit allows organisms to avoid adverse climatic conditions during part of the year by remaining inside burrows. Smilisca fodiens and S. dentata are two burrowing hylid frogs that inhabit areas beyond the northernmost distributional limits of the other six arboreal species of their genus, and indeed beyond of most American hylids. In this study, we tested whether burrowing habit allows these species to adapt to drier conditions while conserving the climatic niche of the arboreal species. We compared the annual niches of the arboreal species to those of the burrowing species under two assumptions: true seasonal niches and full annual niches. Through ecological niche similarity tests, we performed...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Disjunct plant species in South American seasonally dry tropical forests
           responded differently to past climatic fluctuations

    • Abstract: Seasonally dry tropical forests (STDFs) are a main component of open seasonally dry areas in South America and their biogeography is understudied compared to evergreen forests. In this work, we identify vascular plant species with long-distance disjunctions across STDF patches of South America based on information available in online repositories and on species taxonomy and distribution, to explore species’ biogeographic patterns. Specifically, we combine distribution data from the Brazilian Flora 2020 Project (BFG) and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) to identify species with a peri-Amazonian distribution, and then use species distribution models to discuss possible scenarios of peri-Amazonian distributions under Pleistocene climatic fluctuations. We identified 81 candidate species for peri-Amazonian distributions in STDFs, including shrubs, herbs, trees and lianas, and provided a summary of their main fruit dispersion syndrome based on the literature to...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Cryptic diversity of Rhinolophus lepidus in South Asia and differentiation
           across a biogeographic barrier

    • Abstract: Peninsular India is an important region for mammalian diversification and harbors major biogeographic barriers. However, little is known about the role of this region in the diversification of bats though it harbors high chiropteran diversity. In this study, we used phenotypic, acoustic, and genetic markers to assess the diversification of Rhinolophus lepidus bats in South Asia. We first investigated if peninsular India is associated with speciation of R. lepidus. Further, we tested if the Palghat Gap acts as a biogeographic barrier to gene flow in this species. Our results revealed cryptic genetic diversity in peninsular India suggesting that this region holds at least one endemic species level lineage of the R. lepidus species complex.  Analyses of populations of R. lepidus across the Palghat Gap in the Western Ghats revealed clinal variation in phenotype, with bats south of this barrier being bigger and emitting echolocation calls...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Seasonal variation in the ecology of tropical cavity-nesting Hymenoptera
           on Mt. Kilimanjaro

    • Abstract: Insect communities vary seasonally with changing climatic conditions and related changes in resource availability, strength of competition, or pressure by natural antagonists. But seasonal dynamics, particularly in tropical mountain ecosystems, are not well understood. We monitored cavity-nesting Hymenoptera communities on Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, to analyse temporal patterns of nest-building activity, ecological rates, and life-history traits in relation to seasonal climatic variation and elevation. We installed trap nests on 25 study sites in natural and disturbed habitat types covering the colline (<1,300 m) and submontane zones (≥1,300 m a.s.l). We analysed patterns of seasonality in the cavity-nesting ecology of Hymenoptera at three different trophic levels –bees, caterpillar-hunting wasps and spider-hunting wasps– over a complete annual period, covering two rainy and two dry seasons. Nest-building activity showed strong seasonal trends in all three investigated...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • The two South American dry diagonals

    • Abstract: South American drylands roughly form two diagonals both termed in the biogeographical literature as the "South American dry diagonal" (SADD). However, they correspond to two different geographical areas. One comprises the Caatinga, Cerrado and Chaco domains, thus encompassing the areas between northeastern Brazil and northwestern Argentina. The other stretches from Patagonia in southern Argentina to the Pacific deserts of northern Chile and Peru, thus also including the Monte, Prepuna and dry Puna domains. I termed them the eastern and western SADDs, respectively (i.e., eSADD and wSADD). In this mini review I attempt to summarize the major climatic features of the two South American dry diagonals, their possible origins, biogeographical patterns within and around them and to explore possible interconnections. The eSADD is generally more humid than the wSADD and has more pronounced rainfall seasonality, with precipitation concentrated in summer, while the wSADD tends...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Thresholds and the species–area relationship: a set of functions for
           fitting, evaluating and plotting a range of commonly used piecewise models
           in R

    • Abstract: An increasing number of studies have focused on identifying thresholds in the species–area relationship (SAR). The most common approach in such studies is to use piecewise regression models. While a few software packages are available for fitting piecewise models, these resources are general regression packages (i.e., they are not specifically designed for the analysis of SAR data) and tend to only provide functions for fitting a subset of the piecewise models proposed in the SAR literature. Given the large number of SAR studies now fitting piecewise models, there is a need for a software package that provides functions for fitting a range of piecewise models, including continuous, left-horizontal and discontinuous models in addition to supplementary functions for analysing model fits, in the context of SAR data. To this end, we provide a set of functions for fitting six piecewise regression models to SAR data, calculating confidence intervals around the breakpoint estimates...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • A simulation-based method for selecting calibration areas for ecological
           niche models and species distribution models

    • Abstract: Ecological niche models and species distribution models (ENM and SDM, respectively) are tools that have seen massive use and considerable improvement during the last twenty years. The choice of calibration areas for such models has strong effects on model outcomes and model interpretation, as well as on model transfer to distinct environmental settings. However, approaches to selecting these areas remain simple and/or unlinked to biological concepts. Such models should be calibrated within areas that the species of interest has explored throughout its recent history, the accessible area (M). In this paper, we provide a simulation approach for estimating a species’ M considering processes of dispersal, colonization, and extinction in constant current climate or glacial-interglacial climate change frameworks, implemented within a new R package we developed called grinnell. Using the avian genus Aphelocoma, we explored different parameterizations...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • The EarthLife Consortium API: an extensible, open-source service for
           accessing fossil data and taxonomies from multiple community paleodata

    • Abstract: Paleobiologists and paleoecologists interested in studying biodiversity dynamics over broad spatial and temporal scales have built multiple community-curated data resources, each emphasizing a particular spatial domain, timescale, or taxonomic group(s). This multiplicity of data resources is understandable, given the enormous diversity of life across Earth's history, but creates a barrier to achieving a truly global understanding of the diversity and distribution of life across time. Here we present the Earth Life Consortium Application Programming Interface (ELC API), a lightweight data service designed to search and retrieve fossil occurrence and taxonomic information from across multiple paleobiological resources. Key endpoints include Occurrences (returns spatiotemporal locations of fossils for selected taxa), Locales (returns information about sites with fossil data), References (returns bibliographic information), and Taxonomy (returns names of subtaxa associated with...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Legacies of an ice-age world may explain the contemporary biogeographical
           provinces of corals

    • Abstract: This study hindcast the geographic distribution of 18 Indo-Pacific scleractinian coral species, with different sensitivities to modern heat stress, into the last glacial maximum (LGM), some 18,000 years ago, when sea-surface temperatures were 2–4oC cooler and sea level was ~130 m lower than on contemporary reefs. Identifying geographic provinces from the past may provide clues into genetic affiliations through time and provide some insight into how some coral species might respond to contemporary climate change. Coral habitat in the Indo-Pacific was reduced by 70% in the LGM. We identified five Indo-Pacific biogeographical provinces for corals during the LGM — (i) the western Indian Ocean, (ii) Southeast Asia, (iii) Indonesia and northwestern Australia, (iv) northeastern Australia and the Pacific Islands, and (v) the eastern Pacific. These provinces align with provinces recently identified using genetic markers. Given that the Quaternary was dominated by glacial...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Another rejection of the more-individuals-hypothesis: Carrion beetles
           (Silphidae, Coleoptera) in the Southern Rocky Mountains

    • Abstract: Beetles are the most diverse animal clade on the planet, and understanding the mechanisms underlying their diversity patterns is critical to understanding animal biodiversity in general. Using carrion beetles (Silphidae; Coleoptera), I test the more-individuals hypothesis (MIH), consisting of positive climatic impacts on food resources leading to increased abundance and then diversity. I also test competing mechanistic hypotheses, including interacting effects of climate, local vegetation, habitat diversity, habitat heterogeneity, soil diversity, and elevational area. Carrion beetle species richness and abundances were estimated using 40 standardized pitfall traps set for 90 days at 30 survey sites on two elevational gradients in the Front Range and San Juan Mountains, Colorado, USA. Standardized measurements assessed 13 vegetative characteristics, food resources (mammal abundances), soil diversity, habitat diversity, elevational area, temperature, precipitation and net primary...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Annual precipitation drives fire occurrence across sub-humid and semi-arid
           ecological gradients

    • Abstract: Fire is an integral part of semiarid to moderately humid ecosystem dynamics in North America. The biogeographical settings in which fires readily occur are affected by global processes like climate change, as well as local and regional characteristics such as terrain, proximity to human infrastructure, and vegetation structure. Increasing numbers and severity of fires today requires high-resolution and accurate predictions of fire probability. Species distribution models (SDM) allow researchers to identify environmental predictors of fire and depict the probability of fire occurrence. We applied a Maximum Entropy (Maxent) SDM to identify fire predictors and fire risk across a broad biogeographic humid to semi-arid climate gradient within the state of Texas. We used 15 years (2001-2016) of remotely sensed fire occurrence data, along with 13 biophysical variables representing climate, terrain, human activity, and landcover to generate multiple models. Annual precipitation was...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Climate change threatens the conservation of one of the world’s most
           endangered transboundary tree species: Magnolia grandis

    • Abstract: The Sino-Vietnamese border region is known for having unique and high levels of biodiversity. Global climate change is expected to alter the region’s climate and related changes in habitats and ecosystems will result in shifts in species’ distributions and increase the likelihood of local and global extinctions. Ecological Niche Models (ENMs) are widely used to predict the magnitude of potential species distribution shifts in response to climate change and inform conservation planning. Here, we present climate-based ENM projections of future climatically suitable habitat for the Daguo Mulian tree (Magnolia grandis), a critically endangered species of high ecological and cultural value in the Sino-Vietnamese border region. Projections of modeled climatically suitable habitat for M. grandis, both for the 2050s and 2070s, suggest significant habitat loss within conservation areas, and a defining shift in the location of suitable habitat. Future projections are...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Conservation biogeography of the terrestrial mammals in Iran: diversity
           patterns, and vulnerability to climate change and extinction

    • Abstract: Under the framework of a “conservation biogeography” approach, initially, I reviewed and updated the taxonomy and distribution of the rich but understudied mammalian diversity of Iran. This data then formed the basis for the biogeographical regionalization of this complex transitional area using hierarchical clustering and infomap network methods. I used linear models to explore the correlates of extinction risk for this threatened mammalian fauna. Functional grouping of target species was used to assess their vulnerability to the magnitude and velocity of climate change impacts. Both clustering and network methods successfully illuminated the intricate biogeographic patterns, while the network detected many more small bioregions, including two transition zones. The extinction risk analyses revealed that human activities, such as hunting and persecuting (direct impacts) played a major role in the decline of these taxa, as opposed to minor effect of indirect and instrinsic and...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Land snails on islands: building a global inventory

    • Abstract: Land snails are one of the most diverse groups of terrestrial animals and are commonly used as model organisms in ecology, biogeography and conservation biology. Despite being poor dispersers, they form crucial components of island faunas and exhibit high percentages of endemism. Insular land snails are also among the most threatened animals on Earth, already having suffered extensive human-caused extinctions. However, current estimates of global insular land snail diversity are based on sporadic records published at the scale of individual islands and/or archipelagos. To tackle this shortfall, we herein present the major features of a global inventory of island snails. We recovered full species lists from existing literature and available species checklists for 727 islands across the globe and collated a database which currently includes the occurrence of 11,139 species, that is approximately 48% of all known land snail species (of which there are an estimated 23,000). Seventy-five...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Devising a method to remotely model and map the distribution of natural
           landscapes in Europe with the greatest recreational amenity value
           (cultural services)

    • Abstract: With a growing emphasis on the societal benefits gained through recreation outdoors, a method is needed to identify which spaces are most valuable for providing those benefits. Social media platforms offer a wealth of useful information on where people prefer to enjoy the outdoors. We combined geotagged images from Flickr with several environmental metrics in a Maxent model to calculate the probability of a photograph being taken (the potential supply of recreational amenity). We then built a set of population density kernels to express the potential demand of recreational amenity. Linear regression was used to compare supply and demand layers to visitation records from 540 recreation sites across Europe. The result was a map estimating the number of visitors/km2/year. Our analysis showed that natural areas near population centres deliver more recreational benefit than attractive sites in remote locations. The former should therefore be prioritised by planners and...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Dispersal vs. vicariance: the origin of India’s extant tetrapod

    • Abstract: Given the Indian block’s ancient association with Gondwana and subsequent separation from Africa, then Madagascar, then the Seychelles, vicariance has often been invoked to explain the distribution of some of India’s extant biota that might have had Gondwanan origins. Here I review phylogenetic studies and fossil data of Indian tetrapods to ascertain the contribution of dispersal and vicariance in shaping the assemblage. Paleogene dispersal into India accounts for almost all of the tetrapod clades in India. Vicariance is invoked for three groups, all fossorial; the caecilians, the frog family Nasikabatrachidae and the blindsnake family Gerrhopilidae. This review concludes that practically all of India’s Late Cretaceous tetrapod fauna (of Gondwanan origin) was extirpated during the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction, which may have been exacerbated by the coeval volcanism associated with the emplacement of the Deccan Trap large igneous province. Subsequently, the tetrapod...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Northern Fennoscandia via the British Isles: evidence for a novel
           post-glacial recolonization route by winter moth (Operophtera brumata)

    • Abstract: The frequency and severity of outbreaks by pestiferous insects is increasing globally, likely as a result of human-mediated introductions of non-native organisms. However, it is not always apparent whether an outbreak is the result of a recent introduction of an evolutionarily naïve population, or of recent disturbance acting on an existing population that arrived previously during natural range expansion.  Here we use approximate Bayesian computation to infer the colonization history of a pestiferous insect, the winter moth, Operophtera brumata L. (Lepidoptera: Geometridae), which has caused widespread defoliation in northern Fennoscandia. We generated genotypes using a suite of 24 microsatellite loci and find that populations of winter moth in northern Europe can be assigned to five genetically distinct clusters that correspond with 1) Iceland, 2) the British Isles, 3) Central Europe and southern Fennoscandia, 4) Eastern Europe, and 5) northern Fennoscandia. We...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • A framework linking biogeography and species traits to plant species
           vulnerability under global change in Mediterranean-type ecosystems

    • Abstract: We review the roles that plant species traits and biogeography play in species’ exposure and vulnerability to decline or extinction under global change, focusing on separate and combined impacts of multiple threats – climate change, land-use change, and altered disturbance regimes. We establish a conceptual framework and research agenda for identifying the spatial characteristics of species ranges, as well as the life history and functional traits, that are associated with extinction risk for plant species with functional attributes emblematic of fire-prone, winter-precipitation Mediterranean-type ecosystems (MTEs). MTEs worldwide are characterized by their high plant diversity and unique floras, historical and contemporary high rates of land use change, and strong interactions between climate, fire, and land use. We focus on the California Floristic Province (CFP), an MTE that is a global plant diversity hotspot, and show how our framework can be used to understand the relationships...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • A comprehensive monograph on the ecology and distribution of the House
           bunting (Emberiza sahari) in Algeria

    • Abstract: The House bunting (Emberiza sahari Levaillant, 1850) is a human commensal passerine bird species, characteristic of urban environments in the Sahara Desert of Algeria. Its distribution in Algeria, with particular emphasis in Ghardaïa, was investigated using two sampling methods: progressive frequency sampling and point abundance index, with ecological field data collected during 2017-2019. Morphological biometric measurements were carried out on free-living individuals for each sex. Reproduction phenology and success were surveyed through the breeding season (February‒September) during 2018‒2019. Trophic behavior was studied by direct observations of foraging individuals. Results showed that the species range in Algeria is larger than shown by data from the literature, with expansion northwards within the country. At a finer scale, in Saharan cities, the species prefers old and traditional urban environments, where its densities are higher than within modern urban...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Do sub-groups of butterflies display different elevational distribution
           patterns in the Eastern Himalaya, India'

    • Abstract: Understanding the pattern of biodiversity along environmental gradients helps in identifying diversity hotspot areas that can be prioritized for conservation. While the elevational distribution of several taxa has been studied, responses of the sub-groups within a taxon to elevation and its associated factors are not properly understood. Here we study species richness and butterfly density along an elevation gradient in Sikkim, Eastern Himalaya, India and explore the underlying causes of the patterns. We sampled butterflies using a fixed-width point count method in 16 elevational bands (150–200 m intervals), between a range of 300 and 3300 m a.s.l. We categorized butterflies into various sub-groups based on family, range size, biogeographic affinity, and host-plant specialization. We recorded 3603 individuals and 253 species of butterflies after the completion of 1860 point counts. Overall, species richness in the majority of the sub-groups (except for Riodinidae...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • On the scaling and standardization of charcoal data in paleofire

    • Abstract: Understanding the biogeography of past and present fire events is particularly important in tropical forest ecosystems, where fire rarely occurs in the absence of human ignition. Open science databases have facilitated comprehensive and synthetic analyses of past fire activity, but charcoal datasets must be standardized (scaled) because of variations in measurement strategy, sediment type, and catchment size.  Here, we: i) assess how commonly used metrics of charcoal scaling perform on datasets from tropical forests; ii) introduce a new method called proportional relative scaling, which down-weights rare and infrequent fire; and iii) compare the approaches using charcoal data from four lakes in the Peruvian Amazon. We found that Z-score transformation and relative scaling (existing methods) distorted the structure of the charcoal peaks within the record, inflating the variation in small-scale peaks and minimizing the effect of large peaks. Proportional relative scaling...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Revealing receiver bias in the communication of mapped biodiversity

    • Abstract: Researchers often communicate knowledge about biodiversity, especially information about where species are likely to be found, through maps. However, readers do not necessarily interpret such maps in the way the authors intend. We assessed undergraduate students' interpretations of mapped biodiversity data with a mixed-method approach: a survey instrument was developed using writing and focus groups, then delivered to students enrolled in introductory biology courses at the University of Florida in the United States. Surveyed participants (N = 195) were presented with sets of maps for the Palamedes Swallowtail butterfly, Papilio palamedes, with three data visualization methods: point occurrences, expert-assessed range, and correlative distribution model results (distributional models were shown at high and low resolutions). Map interpretations were assessed by asking participants to rate the likelihood of finding a Palamedes Swallowtail at various point on each map...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Biogeographic patterns of blood parasitism in the Aegean Wall Lizard
           across the cycladic islands

    • Abstract: The biogeography of host-parasite dynamics is an area that has received little attention in studies of island ecology. While a few studies have shed insight on patterns of parasitism in insular host populations, more empirical evidence is needed to ascertain how isolation impacts parasites. Biogeography generally theorizes that the physical size of islands and the duration of each island’s isolation can be driving geographic factors controlling species interactions and populations dynamics. To test this, we assessed the effect of island structure and population isolation on the endemic insular lizard Podarcis erhardii and its native hemogregarine parasite (Apicomplexa: Adeleorina) in the Cyclades (Aegean Sea). We analyzed the relationships of prevalence and parasitemia of hemogregarine infection with several factors concerning the island (size, time of isolation, spatial isolation, population density) and host (body size) levels using regression and structural equation models,...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Global biodiversity and biogeography of rhodolith-forming species

    • Abstract: Unattached nodules of calcareous red algae (Rhodophyta), known as rhodoliths, are widely reported and studied in places that extend from the tropics to polar latitudes. Factors controlling the distribution of the rhodolith-forming species remain poorly understood. A review of the global distribution of present-day rhodolith beds was undertaken, collating information on 106 rhodolith-forming species from 10 families, representing 21 genera distributed through 11 realms: 1) Arctic, 2) Temperate Northern Atlantic, 3) Temperate Northern Pacific, 4) Tropical Atlantic, 5) Western Indo-Pacific, 6) Central Indo-Pacific, 7) Eastern Indo-Pacific, 8) Tropical Eastern Pacific, 9) Temperate South America, 10) Temperate Australasia, and 11) Southern Ocean. The Central Indo-Pacific and Temperate Australasia proved to be the most diverse realms. Of 62 provinces across these realms, the Tropical Southwestern Atlantic, the Mediterranean Sea and the Tropical East Pacific feature the highest diversity...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • A pan-Himalayan test of predictions on plant species richness based on
           primary production and water-energy dynamics

    • Abstract: Spatial variation in plant species diversity is well-documented but an overarching first-principles theory for diversity variation is lacking. Chemical energy expressed as Net Primary Production (NPP) is related to a monotonic increase in species richness at a macroscale and supports one of the leading energy-productivity hypotheses, the More individuals Hypothesis. Alternatively, water-energy dynamics (WED) hypothesizes enhanced species richness when water is freely available and energy supply is optimal. This theoretical model emphasises the amount and duration of photosynthesis across the year and therefore we include the length of the growing season and its interaction with precipitation. This seasonal-WED model assumes that biotemperature and available water represent the photosynthetically active period for the plants and hence, is directly related to NPP, especially in temperate and alpine regions. This study aims to evaluate the above-mentioned theoretical models using...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Phylogenetic diversity of ferns reveals different patterns of niche
           conservatism and habitat filtering between epiphytic and terrestrial

    • Abstract: Much attention has been directed to understanding species richness patterns, but adding an evolutionary perspective allows us to also consider the historical processes determining current diversity patterns. We analyzed phylogenetic patterns of fern species assemblages in 868 plots along a wide range of elevational (0-4000 m) and latitudinal (0°-23°N) gradients in the Neotropics to allow a deeper understanding of evolutionary processes underlying current patterns of diversity and community assembly. Overall, we found that phylogenetic mean pairwise distance (sMPD) and mean nearest taxon distance (sMNTD) decreased with increasing latitude and elevation, but that these geographical factors per se were weak explanatory variables. Incorporating environmental variables strongly enhanced the power of the predictive model, indicating that fern assemblages are phylogenetically more diverse under wet and warm to cool conditions at low latitudes and elevations. Further, whereas epiphytic...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • A present and future assessment of the effectiveness of existing reserves
           in preserving three critically endangered freshwater turtles in Southeast
           Asia and South Asia

    • Abstract: Tortoises and freshwater turtles are among the most threatened taxa of vertebrates in the world due to consumption, urban development, agriculture, and land and water pollution. About 50% of the currently recognised chelonian species are considered threatened with extinction according to the IUCN Red List. Asia is an epicentre for the turtle and tortoise extinction crisis, containing the highest diversity of threatened species. In this study, we used species distribution models (SDMs) to assess the effectiveness of existing protected areas across Southeast and South Asia for the conservation of three large critically endangered freshwater turtles (Batagur borneoensis, B. affinis, and Pelochelys cantorii). We derived the models based on selected bioclimatic variables at the sites of known species records. Our SDMs showed that Indonesia is of particular importance in prioritising conservation for these three species, containing the largest areas of suitable...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Phylogeny and biogeography of Ceiba Mill. (Malvaceae, Bombacoideae)

    • Abstract: The Neotropics is the most species-rich area in the world, and the mechanisms that generated and maintain its biodiversity are still debated. This paper contributes to the debate by investigating the evolutionary and biogeographic history of the genus Ceiba Mill. (Malvaceae, Bombacoideae). Ceiba comprises 18 mostly Neotropical species, largely endemic to two major biomes, seasonally dry tropical forests (SDTFs) and rain forests. Its species are among the most characteristic elements of Neotropical SDTF, one of the most threatened biomes in the tropics. Phylogenetic analyses of DNA sequence data (from the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacers [nrITS] for 30 accessions representing 14 species of Ceiba) recovered the genus as monophyletic. The phylogeny showed geographic and ecological structure in three main clades: (i) a rain forest lineage of nine accessions of C. pentandra sister to the remaining species; (ii) a highly supported...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Investigating elevational gradients of species richness in a Mediterranean
           plant hotspot using a published flora

    • Abstract: The Apuan Alps are one of the most peculiar mountain chain in the Mediterranean, being very close to the coastline and reaching an elevation of almost 2000 m. Based on published flora, we investigated the distribution of plant species richness along the whole elevational gradient of this chain considering: (i) all species, (ii) endemic versus alien species; and (iii) functional groups of species based on Raunkiær life forms (RLF). Generalized Linear Models (GLMs) were used to analyse richness patterns along the elevational gradient, and elevational richness models versus the area of the elevational belts were fitted to test the effect of surface area. Our results showed decreasing species richness with increasing elevation. In contrast, endemic species richness increased along the elevational gradient. Alien species were mainly distributed at low elevations, but this result should be taken with caution since we used historical data. Species life forms were not equally...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Advances in conservation biogeography: towards protected area
           effectiveness under anthropogenic threats

    • Abstract: This study endorses the main findings of a PhD thesis (Hoffmann 2020) and the manuscripts included intend to advance the success of protected areas in biodiversity conservation mediated through effective and efficient protected area management. The manuscripts provide missing scientific evaluations that modern conservation planning over large geographical extents requires: the comprehensive quantification of species diversity within and between protected areas; the development and application of efficient and effective in-situ monitoring and remote sensing of species diversity; and the assessment of anthropogenic climate change threats to protected areas. Moreover, the manuscripts aim at spreading conservation-minded data and knowledge by means of publishing open-access papers, open-source software and open data. This thesis synopsis is to stimulate a growing scientific and public debate on the effectiveness of protected areas and nature conservation under anthropogenic threats,...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Modeling the environmental refugia of the endangered Lichtenfelder’s
           Tiger Gecko (Goniurosaurus lichtenfelderi) towards implementation of
           transboundary conservation

    • Abstract: Climate change has potential effects on global biodiversity by shifting the optimal distribution of terrestrial organisms, particularly species with narrow distributions. Goniurosaurus lichtenfelderi, a forest-dwelling lizard, is found on both the islands and mainland of northern Vietnam and southern China. The species is categorized as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List and was recently listed in CITES Appendix II and the Vietnam Government’s Decree 06 in 2019 due to severe anthropogenic impacts on its populations. In this study, we employ Maxent species distribution modeling with climatic and vegetation cover data to identify the potential distribution of G. lichtenfelderi. We also used this approach to assess future climate impacts on the potential distribution under different climate change scenarios. Our model predicts that the potential distribution of G. lichtenfelderi will shrink significantly under future scenarios and even vanish in the entire...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Climatic drivers of Sphagnum species distributions

    • Abstract: Peat mosses (genus Sphagnum) dominate most Northern mires and show distinct distributional limits in Europe despite having efficient dispersal and few dispersal barriers. This pattern indicates that Sphagnum species distributions are strongly linked to climate. Sphagnum-dominated mires have been the largest terrestrial carbon sinks in Europe over the last few millennia. Understanding the climatic drivers of Sphagnum species distributions is important for predicting the future functionality of peatlands. We used MaxEnt, with biologically relevant climatic variables, to model and clarify the current distributions of 45 Sphagnum species in Europe. We used a dataset of 238 316 records from across Europe (30° to 90° N, -30° to 63° E; Sahara to the Arctic, Azores to Ural mountains). We used annual degree-days, annual water balance and their monthly standard deviations (i.e. seasonality) as climatic predictors over a range of spatial...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Limnological response to climatic changes in western Amazonia over the
           last millennium

    • Abstract: The Little Ice Age (LIA - A.D. 1400 to 1820, 550 to 130 cal yr BP) was a significant worldwide climatic fluctuation, yet little is known about its impact on the ecology of Amazonia or its human inhabitants. Using organic geochemistry and diatoms, we investigate the limnological impact of this event in an Amazonian record spanning the last 760 years. The sedimentary record is from Lake Pata (Lagoa da Pata), which lies on the Hill of Six Lakes (Morro dos Seis Lagos), in the wettest section of the western Brazilian Amazonia. We found that many of the diatom taxa recovered from this remote site are either morphotypes of known species or species new to science. Eunotia and Frustulia dominated our fossil diatom assemblage over time, indicating oligotrophic waters of low pH. The limnological characteristics of this pristine system changed very little over the last millennium, except for a slight intensification of precipitation indicated by the increase in Aulacoseira...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Taxonomic hypotheses and the biogeography of speciation in the Tiger
           Whiptail complex (Aspidoscelis tigris: Squamata, Teiidae)

    • Abstract: Biodiversity in southwestern North America has a complex biogeographic history involving tectonism interspersed with climatic fluctuations. This yields a contemporary pattern replete with historic idiosyncrasies often difficult to interpret when viewed from through the lens of modern ecology. The Aspidoscelis tigris (Tiger Whiptail) complex (Squamata: Teiidae) is one such group in which taxonomic boundaries have been confounded by a series of complex biogeographic processes that have defined the evolution of the clade. To clarify this situation, we first generated multiple taxonomic hypotheses, which were subsequently tested using mitochondrial DNA sequences (ATPase 8 and 6) evaluated across 239 individuals representing five continental members of this complex. We then evaluated the manner by which our models parsed phylogenetic and biogeographic patterns. We found considerable variation among species ‘hypotheses,’ which we interpret as reflecting inflated levels of...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Co-occurrence frequency in vegetation patches decreases towards the harsh
           edge along an arid volcanic elevational gradient

    • Abstract: Positive plant–plant interactions are thought to drive vegetation patterns in harsh environments, such as semi-arid areas. According to the stress-gradient hypothesis (SGH), the role of positive interactions between species (facilitation) is expected to increase with harshness, predicting associated variation in species composition along environmental gradients. However, the relation between stress and facilitation along environmental gradients is debated. Furthermore, differentiating facilitative interactions from other underlying mechanisms, such as microtopographic heterogeneity, is not trivial. We analysed the spatial co-occurrence relationships of vascular plant species that form patchy vegetation in arid lapilli fields (tephra) from recent volcanic eruptions on La Palma, Canary Islands. Assuming a harshness gradient negatively correlated with elevation because the lower elevations are more arid and water availability is considered the most limiting resource,...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Sonoric geography – addressing the silence of biogeography

    • Abstract: In 2015, we called upon our colleagues to address a glaring oversight of a potentially transformative frontier in biogeography – the geography of sound (Lomolino et al. 2015).  Our purpose here is to lay the conceptual foundations, based on the fundamental unifying principles of biogeography, to guide the development of the nascent field of sonoric geography.  We define sonoric geography as an emerging subdiscipline of biogeography that attempts to discover and articulate patterns of geographic variation in the acoustic properties of biological communities and identify the underlying, causal explanations for those patterns.We see at least two major benefits to this initiative.  First, it will advance the field of biogeography by expanding the spectrum of biological properties studied – demonstrating how the field’s fundamental, unifying principles can be applied to a novel component of biological diversity – sound and acoustic...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
  • Invaders in waiting' Non-equilibrium in Southern Hemisphere seaweed

    • Abstract: Bioinvasions pose a major threat to global biodiversity. Correlative Ecological Niche Models (ENMs) can be a valuable tool to identify invaders and invasion sites. However, in cases when species are in non-equilibrium with their native environment (i.e. do not fill their niche), correlative approaches have limited power and invasions lead to shifts of the realized niche. In recent years, several new seaweed species have been reported in Antarctica. It is impossible to unequivocally identify which of these species are truly non-natives, however, here, we provide literature-based evidence that seaweed species have been introduced to Antarctica. Under this assumption, we reconstruct pre- and post-introduction niches of these species, calculate relative niche sizes and overlap between pre-Antarctic and Antarctic sites, and evaluate increase in niche size due to inclusion of Antarctic habitats. In seven species, the absolute occupied temperature range is dramatically enlarged, with...
      PubDate: Fri, 1 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000
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