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Goodwin, Z. A., Muñoz-Rodríguez, P., Harris, D. J., Wells, T., Wood, J. R. I., Filer, D., & Scotland, R. W. (2020). How long does it take to discover a species? Systematics and Biodiversity, 1–10. doi:10.1080/14772000.2020.1751339 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 …

Klages, J. P., Salzmann, U., Bickert, T., Hillenbrand, C.-D., Gohl, K., … Dziadek, R. (2020). Temperate rainforests near the South Pole during peak Cretaceous warmth. Nature, 580(7801), 81–86. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2148-5 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2148-5

The mid-Cretaceous period was one of the warmest intervals of the past 140 million years1,2,3,4,5, driven by atmospheric carbon dioxide levels of around 1,000 parts per million by volume6. In the near absence of proximal geological records from south of the Antarctic Circle, it is disputed whether p…

Stropp, J., Umbelino, B., Correia, R. A., Campos-Silva, J. V., Ladle, R. J., & Malhado, A. C. M. (2020). The ghosts of forests past and future: deforestation and botanical sampling in the Brazilian Amazon. Ecography. doi:10.1111/ecog.05026 https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.05026

The remarkable biodiversity of the Brazilian Amazon is poorly documented and threatened by deforestation. When undocumented areas become deforested, in addition to losing the fauna and flora, we lose the opportunity to know which unique species had occupied a habitat. Here we quantify such knowledge…

Vaz, E., & Penfound, E. (2020). Mars Terraforming: A Geographic Information Systems Framework. Life Sciences in Space Research, 24, 50–63. doi:10.1016/j.lssr.2019.12.001 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lssr.2019.12.001

This study has developed a GIS framework that uses spatial environmental and climate data to better understand areas on Earth that share the most environmental similarities to Mars. The purpose of developing this framework is to determine which vegetation is most likely to survive in closed bioregen…

Fletcher, T. L., Warden, L., Sinninghe Damsté, J. S., Brown, K. J., Rybczynski, N., Gosse, J. C., & Ballantyne, A. P. (2019). Evidence for fire in the Pliocene Arctic in response to amplified temperature. Climate of the Past, 15(3), 1063–1081. doi:10.5194/cp-15-1063-2019 https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-1063-2019

The mid-Pliocene is a valuable time interval for investigating equilibrium climate at current atmospheric CO2 concentrations because atmospheric CO2 concentrations are thought to have been comparable to the current day and yet the climate and distribution of ecosystems were quite different. One intr…

Folk, R. A., Stubbs, R. L., Mort, M. E., Cellinese, N., Allen, J. M., Soltis, P. S., … Guralnick, R. P. (2019). Rates of niche and phenotype evolution lag behind diversification in a temperate radiation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(22), 10874–10882. doi:10.1073/pnas.1817999116 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1817999116

Environmental change can create opportunities for increased rates of lineage diversification, but continued species accumulation has been hypothesized to lead to slowdowns via competitive exclusion and niche partitioning. Such density-dependent models imply tight linkages between diversification and…

Panchen, Z. A., Doubt, J., Kharouba, H. M., & Johnston, M. O. (2019). Patterns and biases in an Arctic herbarium specimen collection: Implications for phenological research. Applications in Plant Sciences, 7(3), e01229. doi:10.1002/aps3.1229 https://doi.org/10.1002/aps3.1229

Premise of the Study: Herbarium specimens are increasingly used in phenological studies. However, natural history collections can have biases that influence the analysis of phenological events. Arctic environments, where remoteness and cold climate govern collection logistics, may give rise to uniqu…

Karger, D. N., Kessler, M., Conrad, O., Weigelt, P., Kreft, H., König, C., & Zimmermann, N. E. (2019). Why tree lines are lower on islands-Climatic and biogeographic effects hold the answer. Global Ecology and Biogeography. doi:10.1111/geb.12897 https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12897

Aim: To determine the global position of tree line isotherms, compare it with observed local tree limits on islands and mainlands, and disentangle the potential drivers of a difference between tree line and local tree limit. Location: Global. Time period: 1979–2013. Major taxa studied: Trees. Method…

Sheppard, C. S., & Schurr, F. M. (2018). Biotic resistance or introduction bias? Immigrant plant performance decreases with residence times over millennia. Global Ecology and Biogeography. doi:10.1111/geb.12844 https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12844

Aim: Invasions are dynamic processes. Invasive spread causes the geographical range size of alien species to increase with residence time. However, with time native competitors and antagonists can adapt to invaders. This build‐up of biotic resistance may eventually limit the invader’s performance an…

Wan, J.-Z., Wang, C.-J., & Yu, F.-H. (2019). Large-scale environmental niche variation between clonal and non-clonal plant species: Roles of clonal growth organs and ecoregions. Science of The Total Environment, 652, 1071–1076. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.10.280 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.10.280

Clonal plant species can produce genetically identical and potentially independent offspring, and dominate a variety of habitats. The divergent evolutionary mechanisms between clonal and non-clonal plants are interesting areas of ecological research. A number of studies have shown that the environme…