20 Works

Extinction dynamics under extreme conservation threat: the flora of St Helena

Quentin Cronk & Phil Lambdon
The flora of the island of St Helena provides an amplified system for the study of extinction by reason of the island’s high endemism, small size, vulnerable biota, length of time of severe disturbance (since 1502) and severity of threats. Endemic plants have been eliminated from 96.5% of St Helena by habitat loss. There are eight recorded extinctions in the vascular flora since 1771 giving an extinction rate of 581 extinctions per million species per...

Phylogeny, biogeography, and morphological evolution among and within the Neotropical and Asian clades of Schefflera (Araliaceae)

Gregory Plunkett, Porter Lowry, Pedro Fiaschi, David Frodin & Antoine Nicolas
Schefflera is the largest and most complex genus of Araliaceae, with ~600 described species (and many additional species awaiting formal description), but recent studies indicate that it is polyphyletic, forming five geographically centered clades spread across the major lineages of the family. Significant progress has been made in revising the three smallest clades, but the two largest groups, centered in Asia and the Neotropics, remain poorly understood. To advance our knowledge of these groups, a...

Plant dispersal strategies of high tropical alpine communities across the Andes

Carolina Tovar, Inga Melcher, Buntarou Kusumoto, Francisco Cuesta, Antoine Cleef, Rosa Isela Meneses, Stephan Halloy, Luis Daniel Llambi, Stephan Beck, Priscilla Muriel, Ricardo Jaramillo, Jorge Jacome & Julieta Carilla
• Dispersal is a key ecological process that influences plant community assembly. Therefore, understanding whether dispersal strategies are associated with climate is of utmost importance, particularly in areas greatly exposed to climate change. We examined alpine plant communities located in the mountain summits of the tropical Andes across a 4000 km latitudinal gradient. We investigated species dispersal strategies and tested their association with climatic conditions and their evolutionary history. • We used dispersal-related traits (dispersal...

Fast diversification through a mosaic of evolutionary histories characterizes the endemic flora of ancient Neotropical mountains

Thais Vasconcelos, Suzana Alcantara, Caroline Andrino, Félix Forest, Marcelo Reginato, Marcelo Simon & José Pirani
Mountains are among the most biodiverse areas on the globe. In young mountain ranges, exceptional plant species-richness is often associated to recent and rapid radiations linked to the mountain uplift itself. In ancient mountains, however, orogeny vastly precedes the evolution of vascular plants, so species-richness has been explained by species accumulation during long periods of low extinction rates. Here we evaluate these assumptions by analyzing plant diversification dynamicsin thecampo rupestre, an ecosystem associated to pre-Cambrian...

Age-related pharmacodynamics in a bumblebee-microsporidian system mirror similar patterns in vertebrates

Arran J. Folly, Philip C. Stevenson & Mark J. F. Brown
Immune systems provide a key defence against diseases. However, they are not a panacea and so both vertebrates and invertebrates co-opt naturally occurring bioactive compounds to treat themselves against parasites and pathogens. In vertebrates this co-option is complex, with pharmacodynamics leading to differential effects of treatment at different life stages, which may reflect age-linked differences in the immune system. However, our understanding of pharmacodynamics in invertebrates is almost non-existent. Critically, this knowledge may elucidate broad...

WEGE: A new metric for ranking locations for biodiversity conservation

Harith Farooq, Josué Andersson, Francesco Belluardo, Cristóvão Nanvonamuquitxo, Dominic Bennett, Justin Moat, Amadeu Soares, Søren Faurby & Alexandre Antonelli
Aim Effective policy making for biological conservation requires the identification and ranking of the most important areas for protection or management. One of the most frequently used systems for selecting priority areas is Key Biodiversity Areas (hereafter KBAs), developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, KBAs cannot be used to rank areas, potentially limiting their use when limited funding is available. To tackle this shortcoming and facilitate spatial prioritization, here we...

Fire and grazing determined grasslands of central Madagascar represent ancient assemblages

Cedrique Solofondranohatra, Maria Vorontsova, Gareth Hempson, Jan Hackel, Stuart Cable, Vololoniaina Jeannoda & Caroline Lehmann
The ecology of Madagascar’s grasslands is under-investigated and the dearth of ecological understanding of how disturbance by fire and grazing shapes these grasslands stems from a perception that disturbance shaped Malagasy grasslands only after human arrival. However, worldwide, fire and grazing shape tropical grasslands over ecological and evolutionary timescales, and it is curious Madagascar should be a global anomaly. We examined the functional and community ecology of Madagascar’s grasslands across 71 communities in the Central...

Contrasted histories of organelle and nuclear genomes underlying physiological diversification in a grass species

Matheus Bianconi, Luke Dunning, Emma Curran, Oriane Hidalgo, Robyn Powell, Sahr Mian, Ilia Leitch, Marjorie Lundgren, Sophie Manzi, Maria Vorontsova, Guillaume Besnard, Colin Osborne, Jill Olofsson & Pascal-Antoine Christin
C4 photosynthesis evolved multiple times independently in angiosperms, but most origins are relatively old so that the early events linked to photosynthetic diversification are blurred. The grass Alloteropsis semialata is an exception, as this species encompasses C4 and non-C4 populations. Using phylogenomics and population genomics, we infer the history of dispersal and secondary gene flow before, during, and after photosynthetic divergence in A. semialata. We further analyse the genome composition of individuals with varied ploidy...

The evolutionary history of sedges (Cyperaceae) in Madagascar

Isabel Larridon, Daniel Spalink, Pedro Jiménez-Mejías, José Ignacio Márquez-Corro, Santiago Martín-Bravo & Marcial Escudero
Aim: Madagascar is renowned for its unparalleled biodiversity and endemism. With many ecosystems under threat, research is urgently needed on its unique plant diversity. This applies both to Madagascar’s forests and treeless vegetation types. Sedges (Cyperaceae) are among the top ten species-richest angiosperm families in Madagascar (310 native species, 38% endemic), of which two thirds occur in open habitats. We aimed to infer the evolutionary history of sedges in Madagascar, by estimating the number, age...

Data from : Historical legacies and ecological determinants of grass naturalizations worldwide

Anne-Christine Monnet, Maria S. Vorontsova, Rafaël H. A. Govaerts, Jens-Christian Svenning & Brody Sandel
The global distribution of exotic species is the result of abiotic, biotic and dispersal filtering processes that shape the movement and success of species outside their native range. In this study we aim to understand how these filtering processes drive the fluxes of grass species among regions, the factors that influence which species establish outside of their native range, and where they do so. We used national and subnational checklists of native and introduced grass...

Identifying drivers of forest resilience in long-term records from the Neotropics

Carole Adolf, Carolina Tovar, Nicola Kühn, Hermann Behling, Juan Carlos Berrío, Gabriela Dominguez-Vázquez, Blanca Figueroa-Rangel, Zaire Gonzalez-Carranza, Gerald Alexander Islebe, Henry Hooghiemstra, Hector Neff, Miguel Olvera-Vargas, Bronwen Whitney, Matthew J. Wooller & Kathy J. Willis
Here we use 30 long-term, high-resolution palaeoecological records from Mexico, Central and South America to address two hypotheses regarding possible drivers of resilience in tropical forests as measured in terms of recovery rates from previous disturbances. First, we hypothesise that faster recovery rates are associated with regions of higher biodiversity, as suggested by the insurance hypothesis. And second, that resilience is due to intrinsic abiotic factors that are location specific, thus regions presently displaying resilience...

Data from: Land-use intensification increases richness of native and exotic herbaceous plants, but not endemics, in Malagasy vanilla landscapes

Estelle Raveloaritiana, Annemarie Wurz, Ingo Grass, Kristina Osen, Marie Rolande Soazafy, Dominic A. Martin, Lucien Faliniaina, Nantenaina H. Rakotomalala, Maria S. Vorontsova, Teja Tscharntke & Bakolimalala Rakouth
Aim: North‐eastern Madagascar is a hotspot of plant diversity, but vanilla and rice farming are driving land‐use change, including slash‐and‐burn management. It still remains unknown how land‐use change and land‐use history affect richness and composition of endemic, native and exotic herbaceous plant species. Location: North‐eastern Madagascar. Methods: We assessed herbaceous plants along a land‐use intensification gradient ranging from unburned land‐use types (i.e. old‐growth forest, forest fragment and forest‐derived vanilla agroforest) to burned land‐use types (i.e....

Data from: Random Tanglegram Partitions (Random TaPas): an Alexandrian approach to the Cophylogenetic Gordian Knot

Juan Antonio Balbuena, Oscar Pérez-Escobar, Cristina Llopis-Belenguer & Isabel Blasco-Costa
Symbiosis is a key driver of evolutionary novelty and ecological diversity, but our understanding of how macroevolutionary processes originate extant symbiotic associations is still very incomplete. Cophylogenetic tools are used to assess the congruence between the phylogenies of two groups of organisms related by extant associations. If phylogenetic congruence is higher than expected by chance, we conclude that there is cophylogenetic signal in the system under study. However, how to quantify cophylogenetic signal is still...

Anopheles stephensi occurrence data 1985 - 2019

Marianne Sinka, Samuel Pironon, Nicola Massey, Joshua Longbottom, Janet Hemingway, Catherine Moyes & Katherine Willis
In 2012, an unusual outbreak of malaria occurred in Djibouti City followed by increasingly severe annual outbreaks. Investigations revealed the presence of an Asian mosquito species; Anopheles stephensi, which thrives in urban environments. Anopheles stephensi has since been identified in Ethiopia and Sudan. By combining data for An. stephensi across its full range (Asia, Arabian Peninsula, Horn of Africa) with spatial models that identify the species’ preferred habitat, we provide evidence-based maps predicting the possible...

Introgression across evolutionary scales suggests reticulation contributes to Amazonian tree diversity

Rowan Schley
Hybridisation has the potential to generate or homogenize biodiversity and is a particularly common phenomenon in plants, with an estimated 25% of plant species undergoing inter-specific gene flow. However, hybridisation in Amazonia’s megadiverse tree flora was assumed to be extremely rare despite extensive sympatry between closely related species, and its role in diversification remains enigmatic because it has not yet been examined empirically. Using members of a dominant Amazonian tree family (Brownea, Fabaceae) as a...

Data and analyses from: Herbivory and time since flowering shape floral rewards and pollinator-pathogen interactions

Luis A. Aguirre, Julie K. Davis, Philip C. Stevenson & Lynn S. Adler
Herbivory can induce chemical changes throughout plant tissues including flowers, which could affect pollinator-pathogen interactions. Pollen is highly defended compared to nectar, but no study has examined whether herbivory affects pollen chemistry. We assessed the effects of leaf herbivory on nectar and pollen alkaloids in Nicotiana tabacum, and how herbivory-induced changes in nectar and pollen affect pollinator-pathogen interactions. We damaged leaves of Nicotiana tabacum using the specialist herbivore Manduca sexta and compared nicotine and anabasine...

What drives diversification in a pantropical plant lineage with extraordinary capacity for long-distance dispersal and colonisation?

Isabel Larridon, Javier Galán Díaz, Kenneth Bauters & Marcial Escudero
Aim: Colonisation of new areas may entail shifts in diversification rates linked to biogeographic movement (dispersification), which may involve niche evolution if species were not pre-adapted to the new environments. Scleria (Cyperaceae) includes c. 250 species and has a pantropical distribution suggesting an extraordinary capacity for long-distance dispersal and colonisation. We investigate patterns of diversification in Scleria, and whether they are coupled with colonisation events, climate niche shifts or both. Location: Tropics and subtropics. Taxon:...

Mapping Africa’s biodiversity: more of the same is just not good enough

Harith Farooq, Josué Azevedo, Amadeu Soares, Alexandre Antonelli & Søren Faurby
Species distribution data are fundamental to the understanding of biodiversity patterns and processes. Yet, such data are strongly affected by sampling biases, mostly related to site accessibility. The understanding of these biases is therefore crucial in systematics, biogeography and conservation. Here we present a novel approach for quantifying sampling effort and its impact on biodiversity knowledge, focusing on Africa. In contrast to previous studies assessing sampling completeness (percentage of species recorded in relation to predicted),...

Spatial, climate and ploidy factors drive genomic diversity and resilience in the widespread grass Themeda triandra

Collin Ahrens, Elizabeth A. James, Adam D. Miller, Ferguson Scott, Nicola C. Aitken, Ashley W. Jones, Patricia Lu‐Irving, Justin O. Borevitz, David J. Cantrill & Paul D. Rymer
This data set was used to assess the climate resilience of Themeda triandra, a foundational species and the most widespread plant in Australia, by assessing the relative contributions of spatial, environmental, and ploidy factors to contemporary genomic variation. Reduced-representation genome sequencing on 472 samples from 52 locations was used to test how the distribution of genomic variation, including ploidy polymorphism, supports adaptation to hotter and drier climates.

Assessing chemical mechanisms underlying the effects of sunflower pollen on a gut pathogen in bumble bees

Lynn Adler, Alison Fowler, Rosemary Malfi, Patrick Anderson, Lily Coppinger, Pheobe Deneen, Stephanie Lopez, Rebecca Irwin, Iain Farrell & Philip Stevenson
Many pollinator species are declining due to a variety of interacting stressors including pathogens, sparking interest in understanding factors that could mitigate these outcomes. Diet can affect host-pathogen interactions by changing nutritional reserves or providing bioactive secondary chemicals. Recent work found that sunflower pollen (Helianthus annuus) dramatically reduced cell counts of the gut pathogen Crithidia bombi in bumble bee workers (Bombus impatiens), but the mechanism underlying this effect is unknown. Here we analyzed methanolic extracts...

Registration Year

  • 2020

Resource Types

  • Dataset


  • Royal Botanic Gardens
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • University of Göttingen
  • University of Antananarivo
  • University of Seville
  • Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
  • University of Amsterdam
  • University of Oxford
  • Estación Biológica de Doñana
  • California State University, Long Beach