Ciencia habilitada por datos de especímenes

Campbell, L. C. E., E. T. Kiers, and G. Chomicki. 2022. The evolution of plant cultivation by ants. Trends in Plant Science. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tplants.2022.09.005

Outside humans, true agriculture was previously thought to be restricted to social insects farming fungus. However, obligate farming of plants by ants was recently discovered in Fiji, prompting a re-examination of plant cultivation by ants. Here, we generate a database of plant cultivation by ants, identify three main types, and show that these interactions evolved primarily for shelter rather than food. We find that plant cultivation evolved at least 65 times independently for crops (~200 plant species), and 15 times in farmer lineages (~37 ant taxa) in the Neotropics and Asia/Australasia. Because of their high evolutionary replication, and variation in partner dependence, these systems are powerful models to unveil the steps in the evolution and ecology of insect agriculture.

Amaral, D. T., I. A. S. Bonatelli, M. Romeiro-Brito, E. M. Moraes, and F. F. Franco. 2022. Spatial patterns of evolutionary diversity in Cactaceae show low ecological representation within protected areas. Biological Conservation 273: 109677. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2022.109677

Mapping biodiversity patterns across taxa and environments is crucial to address the evolutionary and ecological dimensions of species distribution, suggesting areas of particular importance for conservation purposes. Within Cactaceae, spatial diversity patterns are poorly explored, as are the abiotic factors that may predict these patterns. We gathered geographic and genetic data from 921 cactus species by exploring both the occurrence and genetic databases, which are tightly associated with drylands, to evaluate diversity patterns, such as phylogenetic diversity and endemism, paleo-, neo-, and superendemism, and the environmental predictor variables of such patterns in a global analysis. Hotspot areas of cacti diversity are scattered along the Neotropical and Nearctic regions, mainly in the desertic portion of Mesoamerica, Caribbean Island, and the dry diagonal of South America. The geomorphological features of these regions may create a complexity of areas that work as locally buffered zones over time, which triggers local events of diversification and speciation. Desert and dryland/dry forest areas comprise paleo- and superendemism and may act as both museums and cradles of species, displaying great importance for conservation. Past climates, topography, soil features, and solar irradiance seem to be the main predictors of distinct endemism types. The hotspot areas that encompass a major part of the endemism cells are outside or poorly covered by formal protection units. The current legally protected areas are not able to conserve the evolutionary diversity of cacti. Given the rapid anthropogenic disturbance, efforts must be reinforced to monitor biodiversity and the environment and to define/plan current and new protected areas.

Carvalho¹, C. E., M. O. T. Menezes, F. S. Araújo, and J. C. Sfair. 2022. High endemism of cacti remains unprotected in the Caatinga. Biodiversity and Conservation 31: 1217–1228. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-022-02384-y

Protected areas are one of the main strategies of biodiversity conservation. However, if these areas do not coincide spatially with priority areas for conservation, they may not fully achieve their objective. Cactaceae is one of the most frequent plant families in the drylands of the neotropical reg…

Xue, T., S. R. Gadagkar, T. P. Albright, X. Yang, J. Li, C. Xia, J. Wu, and S. Yu. 2021. Prioritizing conservation of biodiversity in an alpine region: Distribution pattern and conservation status of seed plants in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Global Ecology and Conservation 32: e01885. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2021.e01885

The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) harbors abundant and diverse plant life owing to its high habitat heterogeneity. However, the distribution pattern of biodiversity hotspots and their conservation status remain unclear. Based on 148,283 high-resolution occurrence coordinates of 13,450 seed plants, w…

Franco, M. J., M. Brea, and E. Cerdeño. 2021. First Bignoniaceae liana from the Miocene of South America and its evolutionary significance. American Journal of Botany 108: 1761–1774. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajb2.1736

Premise: Two Bignoniaceae stems with the distinctive anatomy of a liana are described from the Miocene of South America. They are the first fossil evidence of climbing habit in Bignoniaceae. Methods: The fossil lianas are siliceous permineralizations. Transverse, tangential, and radial thin section…

Larridon, I., J. Galán Díaz, K. Bauters, and M. Escudero. 2020. What drives diversification in a pantropical plant lineage with extraordinary capacity for long‐distance dispersal and colonization? Journal of Biogeography 48: 64–77. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13982

Aim: Colonization of new areas may entail shifts in diversification rates linked to biogeographical movement (dispersification), which may involve niche evolution if species were not exapted to new environments. Scleria (Cyperaceae) includes c. 250 species and has a pantropical distribution suggesti…

Goodwin, Z. A., P. Muñoz-Rodríguez, D. J. Harris, T. Wells, J. R. I. Wood, D. Filer, and R. W. Scotland. 2020. How long does it take to discover a species? Systematics and Biodiversity 18: 784–793. https://doi.org/10.1080/14772000.2020.1751339

The description of a new species is a key step in cataloguing the World’s flora. However, this is only a preliminary stage in a long process of understanding what that species represents. We investigated how long the species discovery process takes by focusing on three key stages: 1, the collection …

Reginato, M., T. N. C. Vasconcelos, R. Kriebel, and A. O. Simões. 2020. Is dispersal mode a driver of diversification and geographical distribution in the tropical plant family Melastomataceae? Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 148: 106815. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2020.106815

Species of plants with different life history strategies may differ in their seed dispersal mechanisms, impacting their distribution and diversification patterns. Shorter or longer distance dispersal is favored by different dispersal modes, facilitating (or constraining) population isolation, which …

Ringelberg, J. J., N. E. Zimmermann, A. Weeks, M. Lavin, and C. E. Hughes. 2020. Biomes as evolutionary arenas: Convergence and conservatism in the trans‐continental succulent biome A. Moles [ed.],. Global Ecology and Biogeography 29: 1100–1113. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.13089

Aim: Historically, biomes have been defined based on their structurally and functionally similar vegetation, but there is debate about whether these similarities are superficial, and about how biomes are defined and mapped. We propose that combined assessment of evolutionary convergence of plant fun…

Carvalho, M. C., L. R. Gomide, F. W. Acerbi Júnior, and D. Tng. 2019. Potential and Future Geographical Distribution of Eremanthus erythropappus (DC.) MacLeish: a Tree Threatened by Climate Change. Floresta e Ambiente 26. https://doi.org/10.1590/2179-8087.045518

Eremanthus erythropappus is a commercially-important tree which has a long history of exploitation in the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais. The knowledge on the potential geographical distribution of E. erythropappus is therefore critical for the species sustainability. Thus, the aim of this study wa…