Ciencia habilitada por datos de especímenes

Espinosa-Chávez, O. J., A. G. Navarro-Sigüenza, H. Rodríguez-Correa, and L. A. Sánchez-González. 2024. Highly divergent sympatric lineages of Leptotila verreauxi (aves: Columbidae) suggest a secondary contact area in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico. Avian Research: 100160.

Due to a complex geological and biotic history, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (IT), has been long recognized as a driver for the evolutionary divergence of numerous lowland and highland taxa. Widely distributed in the lowlands of the American continent, the White-Tipped Dove (Leptotila verreauxi) is a polytypic species with 13 recognized subspecies. Four of these have been recorded in Mexico, and the distribution of three abuts at the IT, suggesting a contact zone. To estimate phylogenetic patterns, divergence times and genetic differentiation, we examined two mtDNA (ND2 and COI) and one nDNA (β-fibint 7) markers. We also used correlative ecological niche models (ENM) to assess whether ecological differences across the IT may have acted as a biogeographical boundary. We estimated paleodistributions during the Middle Holocene, Last Glacial Maximum and Last Interglacial, to evaluate the influence of climate changes on the distribution and demographic changes. Our results showed genetically distinct lineages that diverged approximately 2.5 million years ago. Climatic and ecological factors may have played a dual role in promoting differentiation, but also in the formation of a secondary contact zone in the southern IT. Our ecological niche comparisons indicated that the ecological niche of sympatric lineages at the IT are not identical, suggesting niches divergence; in addition, environmental niche models across the region indicated no abrupt biogeographic barriers, but the presence of regions with low suitability. These results suggest that genetic differentiation originated by a vicariant event probably related to environmental factors favored the evolution of different ecological niches. Also, the absence of a biogeographic barrier but the presence of less suitable areas in the contact regions, suggest that secondary contact zones may be also maintained by climatic factors for the eastern group, but also by biotic interactions for the western group.

Hamer, M., M. Kgatla, and B. Petersen. 2023. An assessment of collection specimen data for South African mountain plants and invertebrates. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa: 1–19.

South Africa is considered a megadiverse country, with exceptionally high plant and relatively high animal species richness and endemism. The country’s species have been surveyed and studied for over 200 years, resulting in extensive natural science collections and a vast number of scientific papers and books. This study assessed whether existing data portals provide access to occurrence data and investigated the extent of the data in Global Biodiversity Information Facility and its completeness for plants and selected invertebrate taxa. The main focus was preserved specimen data, but some observation data from iNaturalist were also considered for selected analyses. Records that include species-level identification and co-ordinates were mapped in QGIS to show the coverage of collection localities across the country. The records that fall within the mountain range spatial layer were then extracted and counted to identify density of records per mountain range for various taxa. Forty percent of plant records are from mountain localities, and the Atlantic Cape Fold Mountains had the highest density of records. Table Mountain has been extensively collected for plants and invertebrates. A large proportion of the records for invertebrates lacked species-level identification and co-ordinates, resulting in a low number of records for analyses. The accessible data are only a relatively small subset of existing collections, and digitisation and data upgrading is considered a high priority before collecting gaps can be addressed by targeted surveys.

Moreno, I., J. M. W. Gippet, L. Fumagalli, and P. J. Stephenson. 2022. Factors affecting the availability of data on East African wildlife: the monitoring needs of conservationists are not being met. Biodiversity and Conservation.

Understanding the status and abundance of species is essential for effective conservation decision-making. However, the availability of species data varies across space, taxonomic groups and data types. A case study was therefore conducted in a high biodiversity region—East Africa—to evaluate data biases, the factors influencing data availability, and the consequences for conservation. In each of the eleven target countries, priority animal species were identified as threatened species that are protected by national governments, international conventions or conservation NGOs. We assessed data gaps and biases in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility and the Living Planet Index. A survey of practitioners and decision makers was conducted to confirm and assess consequences of these biases on biodiversity conservation efforts. Our results showed data on species occurrence and population trends were available for a significantly higher proportion of vertebrates than invertebrates. We observed a geographical bias, with higher tourism income countries having more priority species and more species with data than lower tourism income countries. Conservationists surveyed felt that, of the 40 types of data investigated, those data that are most important to conservation projects are the most difficult to access. The main challenges to data accessibility are excessive expense, technological challenges, and a lack of resources to process and analyse data. With this information, practitioners and decision makers can prioritise how and where to fill gaps to improve data availability and use, and ensure biodiversity monitoring is improved and conservation impacts enhanced.

Sánchez, C. A., H. Li, K. L. Phelps, C. Zambrana-Torrelio, L.-F. Wang, P. Zhou, Z.-L. Shi, et al. 2022. A strategy to assess spillover risk of bat SARS-related coronaviruses in Southeast Asia. Nature Communications 13.

Emerging diseases caused by coronaviruses of likely bat origin (e.g., SARS, MERS, SADS, COVID-19) have disrupted global health and economies for two decades. Evidence suggests that some bat SARS-related coronaviruses (SARSr-CoVs) could infect people directly, and that their spillover is more frequent than previously recognized. Each zoonotic spillover of a novel virus represents an opportunity for evolutionary adaptation and further spread; therefore, quantifying the extent of this spillover may help target prevention programs. We derive current range distributions for known bat SARSr-CoV hosts and quantify their overlap with human populations. We then use probabilistic risk assessment and data on human-bat contact, human viral seroprevalence, and antibody duration to estimate that a median of 66,280 people (95% CI: 65,351–67,131) are infected with SARSr-CoVs annually in Southeast Asia. These data on the geography and scale of spillover can be used to target surveillance and prevention programs for potential future bat-CoV emergence. Coronaviruses may spill over from bats to humans. This study uses epidemiological data, species distribution models, and probabilistic risk assessment to map overlap among people and SARSr-CoV bat hosts and estimate how many people are infected with bat-origin SARSr-CoVs in Southeast Asia annually.

McManamay, R. A., C. R. Vernon, and H. I. Jager. 2021. Global Biodiversity Implications of Alternative Electrification Strategies Under the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways. Biological Conservation 260: 109234.

Addressing climate mitigation while meeting global electrification goals will require major transitions from fossil-fuel dependence to large-scale renewable energy deployment. However, renewables require significant land assets per unit energy and could come at high cost to ecosystems, creating pote…

Miller, E. F., R. E. Green, A. Balmford, P. Maisano Delser, R. Beyer, M. Somveille, M. Leonardi, et al. 2021. Bayesian Skyline Plots disagree with range size changes based on Species Distribution Models for Holarctic birds. Molecular Ecology 30: 3993–4004.

During the Quaternary, large climate oscillations impacted the distribution and demography of species globally. Two approaches have played a major role in reconstructing changes through time: Bayesian Skyline Plots (BSPs), which reconstruct population fluctuations based on genetic data, and Species …

Ellestad, P., F. Forest, M. Serpe, S. J. Novak, and S. Buerki. 2021. Harnessing large-scale biodiversity data to infer the current distribution of Vanilla planifolia (Orchidaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 196: 407–422.

Although vanilla is one of the most popular flavours in the world, there is still uncertainty concerning the native distribution of the species that produces it, Vanilla planifolia. To circumscribe the native geographical extent of this economically important species more precisely, we propose a new…

Ramírez‐Albores, J. E., D. A. Prieto‐Torres, A. Gordillo‐Martínez, L. E. Sánchez‐Ramos, and A. G. Navarro‐Sigüenza. 2020. Insights for protection of high species richness areas for the conservation of Mesoamerican endemic birds A. Hughes [ed.],. Diversity and Distributions 27: 18–33.

Aim: To assess the representativeness values of Mesoamerican endemic birds within the current network of protected areas (PAs) to determine high‐priority and complementary conservation areas to maximize the long‐term protection of species. Location: From central Mexico to southern Panama. Methods:…

Cooper, N., A. L. Bond, J. L. Davis, R. Portela Miguez, L. Tomsett, and K. M. Helgen. 2019. Sex biases in bird and mammal natural history collections. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 286: 20192025.

Natural history specimens are widely used across ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation. Although biological sex may influence all of these areas, it is often overlooked in large-scale studies using museum specimens. If collections are biased towards one sex, studies may not be representativ…

Cardador, L., and T. M. Blackburn. 2020. A global assessment of human influence on niche shifts and risk predictions of bird invasions B. McGill [ed.],. Global Ecology and Biogeography 29: 1956–1966.

Aim: Estimating the strength of niche conservatism is key for predictions of invasion risk. Most studies consider only the climatic niche, but other factors, such as human disturbance, also shape niches. Whether occupation of human habitats in the alien range depends on the native tolerances of spec…