Ciência habilitada por dados de espécimes

Fell, H. G., M. Jones, S. Atkinson, N. C. Stenseth, and A. C. Algar. 2023. The role of reservoir species in mediating plague’s dynamic response to climate. Royal Society Open Science 10.

The distribution and transmission of Yersinia pestis , the bacterial agent of plague, responds dynamically to climate, both within wildlife reservoirs and human populations. The exact mechanisms mediating plague's response to climate are still poorly understood, particularly across large environmentally heterogeneous regions encompassing several reservoir species. A heterogeneous response to precipitation was observed in plague intensity across northern and southern China during the Third Pandemic. This has been attributed to the response of reservoir species in each region. We use environmental niche modelling and hindcasting methods to test the response of a broad range of reservoir species to precipitation. We find little support for the hypothesis that the response of reservoir species to precipitation mediated the impact of precipitation on plague intensity. We instead observed that precipitation variables were of limited importance in defining species niches and rarely showed the expected response to precipitation across northern and southern China. These findings do not suggest that precipitation–reservoir species dynamics never influence plague intensity but that instead, the response of reservoir species to precipitation across a single biome cannot be assumed and that limited numbers of reservoir species may have a disproportional impact upon plague intensity.

Chiarenza, A. A., A. M. Waterson, D. N. Schmidt, P. J. Valdes, C. Yesson, P. A. Holroyd, M. E. Collinson, et al. 2022. 100 million years of turtle paleoniche dynamics enable the prediction of latitudinal range shifts in a warming world. Current Biology.

Past responses to environmental change provide vital baseline data for estimating the potential resilience of extant taxa to future change. Here, we investigate the latitudinal range contraction that terrestrial and freshwater turtles (Testudinata) experienced from the Late Cretaceous to the Paleogene (100.5–23.03 mya) in response to major climatic changes. We apply ecological niche modeling (ENM) to reconstruct turtle niches, using ancient and modern distribution data, paleogeographic reconstructions, and the HadCM3L climate model to quantify their range shifts in the Cretaceous and late Eocene. We then use the insights provided by these models to infer their probable ecological responses to future climate scenarios at different representative concentration pathways (RCPs 4.5 and 8.5 for 2100), which project globally increased temperatures and spreading arid biomes at lower to mid-latitudes. We show that turtle ranges are predicted to expand poleward in the Northern Hemisphere, with decreased habitat suitability at lower latitudes, inverting a trend of latitudinal range contraction that has been prevalent since the Eocene. Trionychids and freshwater turtles can more easily track their niches than Testudinidae and other terrestrial groups. However, habitat destruction and fragmentation at higher latitudes will probably reduce the capability of turtles and tortoises to cope with future climate changes.

Oliveira-Dalland, L. G., L. R. V. Alencar, L. R. Tambosi, P. A. Carrasco, R. M. Rautsaw, J. Sigala-Rodriguez, G. Scrocchi, and M. Martins. 2022. Conservation gaps for Neotropical vipers: Mismatches between protected areas, species richness and evolutionary distinctiveness. Biological Conservation 275: 109750.

The continuous decline in biodiversity despite global efforts to create new protected areas calls into question the effectiveness of these areas in conserving biodiversity. Numerous habitats are absent from the global protected area network, and certain taxonomic groups are not being included in conservation planning. Here, we analyzed the level of protection that the current protected area system provides to viper species in the Neotropical region through a conservation gap analysis. We used distribution size and degree of threat to set species-specific conservation goals for 123 viper species in the form of minimum percentage of their distribution that should be covered by protected areas, and assessed the level of protection provided for each species by overlapping their distribution with protected areas of strict protection. Furthermore, using species richness and evolutionary distinctiveness as priority indicators, we conducted a spatial association analysis to detect areas of special concern. We found that most viper species have <1/4 of their distribution covered by protected areas, including 22 threatened species. Also, the large majority of cells containing high levels of species richness were significantly absent from protected areas, while evolutionary distinctiveness was particularly unprotected in regions with relatively low species richness, like northern Mexico and the Argentinian dry Chaco. Our results provide further evidence that vipers are largely being excluded from conservation planning, leaving them exposed to serious threats that can lead to population decline and ultimately extinction.

Ginal, P., W. C. Tan, and D. Rödder. 2022. Invasive risk assessment and expansion of the realized niche of the Oriental Garden Lizard Calotes versicolor species complex (Daudin, 1802). Frontiers of Biogeography 14.

Correlative species distribution modelling (SDM) can be a useful tool to quantify a species’ realized niche and to predict its potential distribution for non-native ranges. The agamid lizard Calotes versicolor s.l. belongs to the most widely distributed reptile taxa worldwide. In the past, C. versicolor s.l. has been introduced to several countries, including regions in the Oriental, the Neotropical and the Afrotropical realms, where strong negative impact on the local fauna is assumed. Due to the complicated taxonomy and the existence of several cryptic species, which are covered by this taxon, we used C. versicolor sensu lato and its four subtaxa (C. versicolor sensu stricto, C. irawadi, C. vultuosus, C. farooqi) as target species to (1) compute correlative SDMs for C. versicolor s.l. and its subtaxa and project them across the globe to highlight climatically suitable areas of risk for future invasion and (2) based on the ecological niche concept, we investigate if the species complex expanded its realized climatic niche during the invasion process. We use two different SDM approaches, namely n-dimensional hypervolumes and Maxent. N-dimensional hypervolumes are a non-hierarchically ranked approach, which is a useful tool to investigate the expansion in the realized niche, while Maxent, a hierarchically ranked model, is used to focus on potentially suitable areas for future invasion. We calculated two final models for C. versicolor s.l., one based on records from the native range and one based on records from the native and invaded range, as well as one model for each subtaxon. Our results show a geographic expansion into novel climatic conditions as well as an expansion in the realized niche. Our results reveal that C. versicolor s.l. is currently inhabiting 13% of its potential range but could find suitable climatic conditions on a global surface area between 14,025,100 km2 and 53,142,600 km2 . Our predictions reveal large areas of highly suitable climatic conditions for the Oriental, Australian, Afrotropical and Neotropical realms, whereas only small regions of the Palearctic and Nearctic realms provide moderately suitable conditions. Further, some localities, especially those with a high amount of human traffic like ports or airports, might act as multiplicators and might therefore be a stepping stone into further areas.

Jablonski, D., R. Masroor, and S. Hofmann. 2022. On the edge of the Shivaliks: An insight into the origin and taxonomic position of Pakistani toads from the Duttaphrynus melanostictus complex (Amphibia, Bufonidae). Zoosystematics and Evolution 98: 275–284.

AbstractThe common Asian toad Duttaphrynusmelanostictus (Schneider, 1799) complex has a wide distribution ranging from western foothills of the Himalaya to the easternmost range of the Wallacea, with the evidence of human-mediated introductions to some other areas. In the entire distribution range, the complex is formed by several evolutionary clades, distributed mostly in South-East Asia with unresolved taxonomy. In the northwestern edge of its distribution (Pakistan), the name D.melanostictushazarensis (Khan, 2001) has been assigned to local populations but its biological basis remained, so far, understudied and unvalidated. Therefore, we re-evaluated the available genetic data (mitochondrial and nuclear) to show the relationships between Pakistani populations (including the type locality of D.m.hazarensis) and others from across the range. Our results showed that Pakistani populations are associated with one, deeply diverged, well-supported and widely distributed clade (so-called Duttaphrynus sp. 1 according to 16S, or clade B based on tRNAGly-ND3), that has already been detected in previous studies. This clade is further distributed in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia and is characterized by a low level of genetic variability. This further suggests that both natural, as well as potential human-mediated dispersal, might have played an important role in setting up the current phylogeographic and distribution pattern of this clade. The clade is deeply divergent from other clades of the complex and represents a taxonomically unresolved entity. We here argue that the clade Duttaphrynus sp. 1/B represents a distinct species for which the name Duttaphrynusbengalensis (Daudin, 1802) comb. nov. is applicable, while the description of D.m.hazarensis does not satisfy the rules of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature.

Rautsaw, R. M., G. Jiménez-Velázquez, E. P. Hofmann, L. R. V. Alencar, C. I. Grünwald, M. Martins, P. Carrasco, et al. 2022. VenomMaps: Updated species distribution maps and models for New World pitvipers (Viperidae: Crotalinae). Scientific Data 9.

Beyond providing critical information to biologists, species distributions are useful for naturalists, curious citizens, and applied disciplines including conservation planning and medical intervention. Venomous snakes are one group that highlight the importance of having accurate information given their cosmopolitan distribution and medical significance. Envenomation by snakebite is considered a neglected tropical disease by the World Health Organization and venomous snake distributions are used to assess vulnerability to snakebite based on species occurrence and antivenom/healthcare accessibility. However, recent studies highlighted the need for updated fine-scale distributions of venomous snakes. Pitvipers (Viperidae: Crotalinae) are responsible for >98% of snakebites in the New World. Therefore, to begin to address the need for updated fine-scale distributions, we created VenomMaps, a database and web application containing updated distribution maps and species distribution models for all species of New World pitvipers. With these distributions, biologists can better understand the biogeography and conservation status of this group, researchers can better assess vulnerability to snakebite, and medical professionals can easily discern species found in their area. Measurement(s) Species Distributions Technology Type(s) Geographic Information System • Species Distribution Model (MaxEnt/kuenm) Factor Type(s) Occurrence Records • Environmental Data Sample Characteristic - Organism Crotalinae Sample Characteristic - Location North America • South America

Barends, J. M., and B. Maritz. 2022. Dietary Specialization and Habitat Shifts in a Clade of Afro-Asian Colubrid Snakes (Colubridae: Colubrinae). Ichthyology &amp; Herpetology 110.

Speciation through niche divergence often occurs as lineages of organisms colonize and adapt to new environments with novel ecological opportunities that facilitate the evolution of ecologically different phenotypes. In snakes, adaptive diversification may be driven by the evolution of traits relating to changes in their diets. Accordingly, habitatmediated differences in prey available to ancestral snakes as they colonized and occupied novel dynamic landscapes are likely to have been a strong selective agent behind the divergence and radiation of snakes across the globe. Using an ancestral reconstruction approach that considers the multivariate nature of ecological phenotypes while accounting for sampling variation between taxa, we explored how diet and macro-habitat use coevolved across a phylogeny of 67 species of Afro-Asian colubrine snakes. Our results show that the most recent common ancestor of this clade was likely a dietary generalist that occupied tropical forests in Asia. Deviations from this generalist diet to a variety of specialist diets each dominated by the utilization of single prey types repeatedly occurred as ancestral colubrines shifted from tropical forests to savanna and grassland habitats across Africa. We additionally found that dietary specialist species were on average smaller in maximum length than dietary generalists, congruent with established predator-size, preydiversity dynamics in snakes. We speculate that adaptive divergence in ancestral colubrines arose as a result of a selective regime that favored diets comprised of terrestrial prey, and that partitioning of different prey types led to the various forms of dietary specialization evident in these lineages today. Our findings provide new insights into the ecological correlates associated with the evolution of diet in snakes, thereby furthering our understanding of the driving forces behind patterns of snake diversification.

Pomoim, N., Y. Trisurat, A. C. Hughes, and R. T. Corlett. 2022. Can Thailand Protect 30% of Its Land Area for Biodiversity, and Will This Be Enough? Diversity 14: 344.

The draft post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework asks CBD parties to conserve at least 30% of the planet by 2030 ‘through a well-connected and effective system of protected areas … with the focus on areas particularly important for biodiversity’. We use Thailand as a case study for the ability of a densely populated, hyper diverse, tropical, middle-income country to meet this target at a national level. Existing protected areas (PAs) total 24.3% of Thailand’s land area. Adding forest on government land adjacent to existing PAs, plus unprotected areas of Ramsar sites, raises this to 29.5%. To assess the importance for biodiversity, we used modeled distributions of birds and mammals plus, as proxies for other biodiversity components, elevation, bioclimate, forest type, and WWF ecoregion. All modeled species occur in the current PA system but <30% meet representation targets. Expansion of the system increases the proportion of mammals and birds adequately protected and increases the protection for underrepresented bioclimatic zones and forest types. The expanded system remains fragmented and underrepresents key habitats, but opportunities for increasing protection of these are limited. It is also still vulnerable to climate change, although projected impacts are reduced. Additional protection is needed for wetland and coastal habitats, and limestone karsts.

Pomoim, N., A. C. Hughes, Y. Trisurat, and R. T. Corlett. 2022. Vulnerability to climate change of species in protected areas in Thailand. Scientific Reports 12.

Although 23% of Thailand’s land is in protected areas, these are vulnerable to climate change. We used spatial distribution modelling for 866 vertebrate and 591 plant species to understand potential climate change impacts on species in protected areas. Most mammals, birds, and plants were projected to decline by 2070, but most amphibians and reptiles were projected to increase. By 2070 under RCP8.5, 54% of modeled species will be threatened and 11 nationally extinct. However, SDMs are sensitive to truncation of the climate space currently occupied by habitat loss and hunting, and apparent truncation by data limitations. In Thailand, lowland forest clearance has biased records for forest-dependent species to cooler uplands (> 250 m a.s.l.) and hunting has confined larger vertebrates to well-protected areas. In contrast, available data is biased towards lowland non-forest taxa for amphibians and reptiles. Niche truncation may therefore have resulted in overestimation of vulnerability for some mammal and plant species, while data limitations have likely led to underestimation of the threat to forest-dependent amphibians and reptiles. In view of the certainty of climate change but the many uncertainties regarding biological responses, we recommend regular, long-term monitoring of species and communities to detect early signals of climate change impacts.

Cardador, L., P. Abellán, and T. M. Blackburn. 2021. Incorporating phylogeographic information in alien bird distribution models increases geographic extent but not accuracy of predictions. Biological Invasions 24: 683–695.

Species distribution models (SDM) have been proposed as valuable first screening tools for predicting species responses to new environmental conditions. SDMs are usually conducted at the species level, assuming that species-environment relationships are a species-specific feature that do not evolve …