Goncalves, E., F. Casimiro-Soriguer Solanas, J. García-Caballero, and N. Hidalgo-Triana. 2023. Terrestrial Alien Flora of the Iberian Alboran Coast: Assessment, Attributes, and Future Implications. Diversity 15: 1120. https://doi.org/10.3390/d15111120
Although Mediterranean coastal regions in southern Spain have high floristic diversity and numerous Habitats of Community Interest (HCIs) identified by the European Union Directive Council, they are also vulnerable to invasive plants. In our study, we aimed to create a checklist of terrestrial alien taxa in the Iberian area of the Alboran coast, assess each species’ current invasion, analyse the influence of environmental attributes on invasion, estimate the richness of alien species per HCI group, and evaluate each species’ potential invasiveness based on its reproductive and dispersal attributes. The checklist that we developed includes 123 alien taxa, most belonging to the Asteraceae, Asparagaceae, and Poaceae families. Notably, 20% of the species are super invaders that occupy more than 20% of HCIs. We also identified Aloe vera, Cylindropuntia spp., Agave salmiana, Opuntia spp., and Paspalum spp. as incipient invaders with the potential for future expansion. Although most alien flora in the HCIs are not regulated by Spanish legislation (RDL 630/2013), monitoring and eradication plans are crucial. Advocating the cessation of using those plants in gardens and reducing anthropogenic pressure are also essential, as human activities worsen invasion dynamics and facilitate the introduction and establishment of invasive species.
Reichgelt, T., A. Baumgartner, R. Feng, and D. A. Willard. 2023. Poleward amplification, seasonal rainfall and forest heterogeneity in the Miocene of the eastern USA. Global and Planetary Change 222: 104073. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2023.104073
Paleoclimate reconstructions can provide a window into the environmental conditions in Earth history when atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were higher than today. In the eastern USA, paleoclimate reconstructions are sparse, because terrestrial sedimentary deposits are rare. Despite this, the eastern USA has the largest population and population density in North America, and understanding the effects of current and future climate change is of vital importance. Here, we provide terrestrial paleoclimate reconstructions of the eastern USA from Miocene fossil floras. Additionally, we compare proxy paleoclimate reconstructions from the warmest period in the Miocene, the Miocene Climatic Optimum (MCO), to those of an MCO Earth System Model. Reconstructed Miocene temperatures and precipitation north of 35°N are higher than modern. In contrast, south of 35°N, temperatures and precipitation are similar to today, suggesting a poleward amplification effect in eastern North America. Reconstructed Miocene rainfall seasonality was predominantly higher than modern, regardless of latitude, indicating greater variability in intra-annual moisture transport. Reconstructed climates are almost uniformly in the temperate seasonal forest biome, but heterogeneity of specific forest types is evident. Reconstructed Miocene terrestrial temperatures from the eastern USA are lower than modeled temperatures and coeval Atlantic sea surface temperatures. However, reconstructed rainfall is consistent with modeled rainfall. Our results show that during the Miocene, climate was most different from modern in the northeastern states, and may suggest a drastic reduction in the meridional temperature gradient along the North American east coast compared to today.
Xiao, S., S. Li, X. Wang, L. Chen, and T. Su. 2022. Cedrus distribution change: past, present, and future. Ecological Indicators 142: 109159. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2022.109159
Cedrus Trew (Pinaceae) includes four species, which are disjunctively distributed in the Mediterranean region and western Himalaya. Understanding the historical distribution of Cedrus and the driving factors can provide valuable information for the conservation of these species. In this study, we collected current distribution data and pollen fossil records for Cedrus. We used MaxEnt to simulate the distribution of Cedrus in the Mediterranean region and western Himalaya during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), the middle Holocene (MH), present and future in response to different climate scenarios. Our simulation results indicate that winter precipitation is the key factor that determines the distribution of Cedrus, followed by winter temperature. The results also show that summer precipitation had a more important impact in the Mediterranean region than in the western Himalaya. The results indicate that climate change exerts a significant impact on the distribution of Cedrus in the Mediterranean, but not as much as in the western Himalaya. This could be attributed to the greater availability of microclimates (climate niche space) in the latter region. The availability of microclimates associated with the complex topography in the western Himalaya. The simulated results are generally consistent with fossil data. In the Mediterranean region, the suitability of the habitats for Cedrus decreased continuously from the LGM to the year 2070, with a distinct drop from the LGM to the MH. In the western Himalaya, the potential suitability of habitats for Cedrus increased from the LGM to the MH, but might fluctuate in the future. In general, this study identifies the key climate factors restricting the natural distribution of Cedrus. It shows that the distribution of Cedrus would be reduced in response to global climate change in the future, which indicates an urgent need for the protection and management of Cedrus populations.
García, R. M., J. Martínez-Fernández, A. Rodríguez, and A. de la Torre. 2022. Identification of sentinel plant species for evaluating phytotoxicity of veterinary antibiotics in Mediterranean Europe. Environmental Sciences Europe 34. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12302-022-00608-0
Background Antibiotics used to treat livestock species enter agricultural fields when they are excreted by grazing animals or are present in manure that is added to fields as fertiliser. In the European Union, the potential effects of such antibiotics on terrestrial plants must be evaluated following the standardised OECD 208 method, which specifies the crop and wild species that should serve as “sentinels” for assessing antibiotic exposure. The present study aimed to compare this approved list of sentinel species against crop and wild plant species actually present in agricultural and pasture lands in Mediterranean Europe in order to identify the most appropriate sentinel plants for the region. The study focused on Spain as a region representative of Mediterranean Europe. Georeferenced layers for wild plant species and cultivated areas (crops), livestock density and land cover were combined, and then selection criteria were applied, leading to the identification of sentinel crop and wild species for crop land and pasture scenarios. Results In the crop land scenario, the sentinel crop species were barley ( Hordeum vulgare L.), wheat ( Triticum spp.), corn (Zea mays L), sunflower ( Helianthus annuus L.), dried pea ( Pisum sativum L.), alfalfa ( Medicago sativa L.), vetch ( Vicia sativa L.), oilseed rape ( Brassica napus L.) and sugar beet ( Saccharum officinarum L.), all of them listed in the OECD 208 method with the exception of alfalfa; the sentinel wild species were Papaver rhoeas L., Galium aparine L. and Chenopodium album L. In the pasture scenario, sentinel wild species were Bromus tectorum L., Agrostis capillaris L., Trifolium pratense L., Lotus corniculatus L. and Galium aparine L. The following common weed species in field boundaries or in pasture lands also emerged as potential sentinel species for risk assessment, even though they are not listed in the OECD 208 method: Sonchus oleraceus L., Avena sterilis L., Dactylis glomerata L., Hordeum murinum L. and Lolium rigidum Gaudin. Conclusions The sentinel species identified in this study may be useful in risk assessment procedures covering the Mediterranean Europe. The method developed for this study could be applied to identify sentinel species for other representative agroclimatic regions in Europe (such as Atlantic and Continental).
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…
Allstädt, F. J., A. Koutsodendris, E. Appel, W. Rösler, T. Reichgelt, S. Kaboth-Bahr, A. A. Prokopenko, and J. Pross. 2021. Late Pliocene to early Pleistocene climate dynamics in western North America based on a new pollen record from paleo-Lake Idaho. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments 101: 177–195. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12549-020-00460-1
Marked by the expansion of ice sheets in the high latitudes, the intensification of Northern Hemisphere glaciation across the Plio/Pleistocene transition at ~ 2.7 Ma represents a critical interval of late Neogene climate evolution. To date, the characteristics of climate change in North America duri…
Büchi, L., S. Cordeau, R. Hull, and J. Rodenburg. 2020. Vulpia myuros , an increasing threat for agriculture L. J. Rew [ed.],. Weed Research 61: 13–24. https://doi.org/10.1111/wre.12456
Vulpia myuros is an annual grass species of Mediterranean origin, which has achieved a global distribution. It is a fast‐growing species, with high colonisation and competitive abilities. This species is considered an invasive weed in most countries where it has been introduced, with highly negative…
Brightly, W. H., S. E. Hartley, C. P. Osborne, K. J. Simpson, and C. A. E. Strömberg. 2020. High silicon concentrations in grasses are linked to environmental conditions and not associated with C 4 photosynthesis. Global Change Biology 26: 7128–7143. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15343
The uptake and deposition of silicon (Si) as silica phytoliths is common among land plants and is associated with a variety of functions. Among these, herbivore defense has received significant attention, particularly with regards to grasses and grasslands. Grasses are well known for their high sili…
de Jesús Hernández-Hernández, M., J. A. Cruz, and C. Castañeda-Posadas. 2020. Paleoclimatic and vegetation reconstruction of the miocene southern Mexico using fossil flowers. Journal of South American Earth Sciences 104: 102827. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsames.2020.102827
Concern about the course of the current environmental problems has raised interest in investigating the different scenarios that have taken place in our planet throughout time. To that end, different methodologies have been employed in order to determine the different variables that compose the envi…
Lindberg, C. L., H. M. Hanslin, M. Schubert, T. Marcussen, B. Trevaskis, J. C. Preston, and S. Fjellheim. 2020. Increased above‐ground resource allocation is a likely precursor for independent evolutionary origins of annuality in the Pooideae grass subfamily. New Phytologist 228: 318–329. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.16666
Semelparous annual plants flower a single time during their one‐year life cycle, investing much of their energy into rapid reproduction. In contrast, iteroparous perennial plants flower multiple times over several years, and partition their resources between reproduction and persistence. To which ex…