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SULTON, M. N., D. M. AURINA, F. MUHAMMAD, F. P. A. FADZILAH, Z. HANUN, M. INDRAWAN, S. BUDIHARTA, et al. 2024. Predicting the current and future distributions of Pinus merkusii in Southeast Asia under climate change. Biodiversitas Journal of Biological Diversity 25. https://doi.org/10.13057/biodiv/d250328

Pinus merkusii Jungh. Et de Vriese is a native pine species of Southeast Asia with primary distribution in Indonesia, especially in the mountainous areas of northern Sumatra. The P. merkusii has an important role in the forest ecosystem including maintaining ecosystem stability, reducing soil erosion, and providing habitat for various types of flora and fauna. Climate change is expected to affect the growth, development and distribution of plants, so this study aims to predicting the current dan future distribution of P. merkusii in Southeast Asia under climate change. We used Maxent and Geographic Information System (GIS), which incorporated bioclimatic, edaphic, and UVB radiation variables, to predict the suitable areas of P. merkusii under current and future climate scenarios (RCP 2.6, RCP 4.5, RCP 6.0, and RCP 8.5) and three time periods (2030, 2050, and 2080). Our findings indicate that compared to current, there will be an increase of suitable areas for P. merkusii in 2030 across all climate scenarios with RCPs 2.6, 4.5, 6.0, and 8.5 represent 9.53%, 9.66%, 9.73%, and 9.91% of Southeast Asia terrestrial area, respectively. In 2050, such increase will continue under all climate scenarios with RCP 4.5 has the largest proportion of suitable area (10.39%). However, in 2080, the suitable areas are likely to reduce compared with 2050 with RCPs 2.6, 4.5, 6.0, and 8.5 have a percentage of 9.21%, 9.69%, 10.29%, and 9.81%, respectively. Our predictions showed that there will be a geographical shift of suitable area of P. merkusii into higher elevation and latitude, migrating east and northeast. Our findings about the potential future distribution of P. merkusii might be used as a reference for cultivation according to predicted suitable areas in the future.

Serra‐Diaz, J. M., J. Borderieux, B. Maitner, C. C. F. Boonman, D. Park, W. Guo, A. Callebaut, et al. 2024. occTest: An integrated approach for quality control of species occurrence data. Global Ecology and Biogeography. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.13847

Aim Species occurrence data are valuable information that enables one to estimate geographical distributions, characterize niches and their evolution, and guide spatial conservation planning. Rapid increases in species occurrence data stem from increasing digitization and aggregation efforts, and citizen science initiatives. However, persistent quality issues in occurrence data can impact the accuracy of scientific findings, underscoring the importance of filtering erroneous occurrence records in biodiversity analyses.InnovationWe introduce an R package, occTest, that synthesizes a growing open‐source ecosystem of biodiversity cleaning workflows to prepare occurrence data for different modelling applications. It offers a structured set of algorithms to identify potential problems with species occurrence records by employing a hierarchical organization of multiple tests. The workflow has a hierarchical structure organized in testPhases (i.e. cleaning vs. testing) that encompass different testBlocks grouping different testTypes (e.g. environmental outlier detection), which may use different testMethods (e.g. Rosner test, jacknife,etc.). Four different testBlocks characterize potential problems in geographic, environmental, human influence and temporal dimensions. Filtering and plotting functions are incorporated to facilitate the interpretation of tests. We provide examples with different data sources, with default and user‐defined parameters. Compared to other available tools and workflows, occTest offers a comprehensive suite of integrated tests, and allows multiple methods associated with each test to explore consensus among data cleaning methods. It uniquely incorporates both coordinate accuracy analysis and environmental analysis of occurrence records. Furthermore, it provides a hierarchical structure to incorporate future tests yet to be developed.Main conclusionsoccTest will help users understand the quality and quantity of data available before the start of data analysis, while also enabling users to filter data using either predefined rules or custom‐built rules. As a result, occTest can better assess each record's appropriateness for its intended application.

Zhang, R., L.-L. Huang, S.-F. Li, T. Su, and A. A. Oskolski. 2024. Fossil woods of Cryptocarya (Lauraceae) from the middle Miocene of Southwest China. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 324: 105096. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.revpalbo.2024.105096

The structure of lauraceous fossil woods from the middle Miocene deposits of the Dajie Formation of Ninger County, Yunnan Province, China has been studied. The occurrence of wide (> 7 seriate) rays in combination with the presence of scalariform perforation plates, the oil/mucilage cells in rays, axial parenchyma and among fibers as well as some other traits allow us to attribute the fossil woods to the extant genus Cryptocarya. We describe the woods as a new species C. latiradiata R. Zhang, T. Su & A. A. Oskolski sp. nov. (Lauraceae). This is an important improvement in the fossil record of Cryptocarya showing that this genus was widely ranged across southern China in the middle Miocene. The occurrence of the fossil woods of such termophyllous genus as Cryptocarya in the Dajie Formation suggests that this middle Miocene climate in southern Yunnan was frostless. This result is consistent with other evidence for the warm environment caused by complex topographic structures in this region since the middle Miocene linked to the successive uplift of the Tibetan Plateau and the Ailao Mountains. Particularly, it suggests that the Ailao Mountains in the middle Miocene were high enough to weaken the influence of the Asian Winter Monsoon on the territory of Yunnan.

Ramírez-Barahona, S. 2024. Incorporating fossils into the joint inference of phylogeny and biogeography of the tree fern order Cyatheales R. Warnock, and M. Zelditch [eds.],. Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1093/evolut/qpae034

Present-day geographic and phylogenetic patterns often reflect the geological and climatic history of the planet. Neontological distribution data are often sufficient to unravel a lineage’s biogeographic history, yet ancestral range inferences can be at odds with fossil evidence. Here, I use the fossilized birth–death process and the dispersal–extinction cladogenesis model to jointly infer the dated phylogeny and range evolution of the tree fern order Cyatheales. I use data for 101 fossil and 442 extant tree ferns to reconstruct the biogeographic history of the group over the last 220 million years. Fossil-aware reconstructions evince a prolonged occupancy of Laurasia over the Triassic–Cretaceous by Cyathealean tree ferns, which is evident in the fossil record but hidden from analyses relying on neontological data alone. Nonetheless, fossil-aware reconstructions are affected by uncertainty in fossils’ phylogenetic placement, taphonomic biases, and specimen sampling and are sensitive to interpretation of paleodistributions and how these are scored. The present results highlight the need and challenges of incorporating fossils into joint inferences of phylogeny and biogeography to improve the reliability of ancestral geographic range estimation.

Li, D., X. Wang, K. Jiang, R. An, Y. Li, and D. Liu. 2024. The impact of climate change and the conservation of the keystone Asian honeybee using niche models and systematic prioritization C. Bahlai [ed.],. Journal of Economic Entomology. https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/toae018

Global warming has seriously disturbed the Earth’s ecosystems, and in this context, Asian honeybee (Apis cerana) has experienced a dramatic decline in recent decades. Here, we examined both direct and indirect effects of climate change on A. cerana through ecological niche modeling of A. cerana, and its disease pathogens (i.e., Chinese sacbrood virus and Melissococcus plutonius) and enemies (i.e., Galleria mellonella and Vespa mandarinia). Ecological niche modeling predicts that climate change will increase the potential suitability of A. cerana, but it will also cause some of the original habitat areas to become unsuitable. Outbreak risks of Chinese sacbrood disease and European Foulbrood will increase dramatically, while those of G. mellonella and V. mandarinia will decrease only slightly. Thus, climate change will produce an unfavorable situation for even maintaining some A. cerana populations in China in the future. Genetic structure analyses showed that the A. cerana population from Hainan Island had significant genetic differentiation from that of the mainland, and there was almost no gene flow between the 2, suggesting that urgent measures are needed to protect the unique genetic resources there. Through taking an integrated planning technique with the Marxan approach, we optimized conservation planning, and identified potential nature reserves (mainly in western Sichuan and southern Tibet) for conservation of A. cerana populations. Our results can provide insights into the potential impact of climate change on A. cerana, and will help to promote the conservation of the keystone honeybee in China and the long-term sustainability of its ecosystem services.

Anest, A., Y. Bouchenak-Khelladi, T. Charles-Dominique, F. Forest, Y. Caraglio, G. P. Hempson, O. Maurin, and K. W. Tomlinson. 2024. Blocking then stinging as a case of two-step evolution of defensive cage architectures in herbivore-driven ecosystems. Nature Plants. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-024-01649-4

Dense branching and spines are common features of plant species in ecosystems with high mammalian herbivory pressure. While dense branching and spines can inhibit herbivory independently, when combined, they form a powerful defensive cage architecture. However, how cage architecture evolved under mammalian pressure has remained unexplored. Here we show how dense branching and spines emerged during the age of mammalian radiation in the Combretaceae family and diversified in herbivore-driven ecosystems in the tropics. Phylogenetic comparative methods revealed that modern plant architectural strategies defending against large mammals evolved via a stepwise process. First, dense branching emerged under intermediate herbivory pressure, followed by the acquisition of spines that supported higher speciation rates under high herbivory pressure. Our study highlights the adaptive value of dense branching as part of a herbivore defence strategy and identifies large mammal herbivory as a major selective force shaping the whole plant architecture of woody plants. This study explores the evolution of two traits, branching density and spine presence, in the globally distributed plant family Combretaceae. These traits were found to have appeared in a two-step process in response to mammalian herbivory pressure, revealing the importance of large mammals in the evolution of plant architecture diversity.

Short, A. W., J. S. V. Sebastian, J. Huang, G. Wang, M. Dassanayake, P. M. Finnegan, J. D. Parker, et al. 2024. Comparative transcriptomics of the chilling stress response in two Asian mangrove species Bruguiera gymnorhiza and Rhizophora apiculata. Tree Physiology. https://doi.org/10.1093/treephys/tpae019

Abstract Low temperatures largely determine the geographic limits of plant species by reducing survival and growth. Interspecific differences in the geographic distribution of mangrove species have been associated with cold tolerance, with exclusively tropical species being highly cold-sensitive and subtropical species being relatively cold-tolerant. To identify species-specific adaptations to low temperatures, we compared the chilling stress response of two widespread Indo-West Pacific mangrove species from Rhizophoraceae with differing latitudinal range limits—Bruguiera gymnorhiza (subtropical range limit) and Rhizophora apiculata (tropical range limit). For both species, we measured the maximum photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) as a proxy for the physiological condition of the plants and examined gene expression profiles during chilling at 15 °C and 5 °C. At 15 °C, B. gymnorhiza maintained a significantly higher Fv/Fm than R. apiculata. However, at 5 °C, both species displayed equivalent Fv/Fm values. Thus, species-specific differences in chilling tolerance were only found at 15 °C, and both species were sensitive to chilling at 5 °C. At 15 °C, B. gymnorhiza down-regulated genes related to the light reactions of photosynthesis and up-regulated a gene involved in cyclic electron flow regulation, while R. apiculata down-regulated more RuBisCo related genes. At 5 °C, both species repressed genes related to CO2 assimilation. The down-regulation of genes related to light absorption and up-regulation of genes related to cyclic electron flow regulation are photoprotective mechanisms that likely contributed to the greater PSII photochecmical efficiency of B. gymnorhiza at 15 °C. The results of this study provide evidence that the distributional range limits and potentially the expansion rates of plant species are associated with differences in the regulation of photosynthesis and photoprotective mechanisms under low temperatures.

Minghetti, E., P. M. Dellapé, M. Maestro, and S. I. Montemayor. 2024. Evaluating the climatic suitability of Engytatus passionarius Minghetti et al. (Heteroptera, Miridae) as a biological control agent of the invasive stinking passion flower Passiflora foetida L. in Australia through ecological niche models. Biological Control 191: 105461. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2024.105461

Passiflora foetida is a climbing vine, native to the Neotropical Region that is causing major economic and ecological damage in Australia, where it is rapidly spreading. Traditional control options, such as cutting, manual uprooting, and herbicide applications are only effective for local management. Currently, the plant bug Engytatus passionarius is the most promising biological control agent. Specificity tests performed in its native range in Argentina suggest it is highly specific to the plant, and it has not been observed in the field associated with other plants. As climate determines the establishment of insects, knowing if the environmental conditions suit their requirements is key to introducing a species in a region. Also, an overlap between the climatic niches of species is an indicator of similar requirements. To explore the possibilities of a successful establishment of E. passionarius in Australia, ecological niche models (ENM) were built for the plant bug and for the vine and their overlap was measured. The ENM projected to Australia recognized suitable environmental conditions for the establishment of E. passionarius in several regions where P. foetida is present, both for current and future scenarios. Moreover, the niche of the plant bug is almost completely overlapped with that of the vine. All the aforementioned evidence seems to indicate that E. passionarius has a good chance to become an effective biological control agent of P. foetida.

Zhang, H., W. Guo, and W. Wang. 2023. The dimensionality reductions of environmental variables have a significant effect on the performance of species distribution models. Ecology and Evolution 13. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.10747

How to effectively obtain species‐related low‐dimensional data from massive environmental variables has become an urgent problem for species distribution models (SDMs). In this study, we will explore whether dimensionality reduction on environmental variables can improve the predictive performance of SDMs. We first used two linear (i.e., principal component analysis (PCA) and independent components analysis) and two nonlinear (i.e., kernel principal component analysis (KPCA) and uniform manifold approximation and projection) dimensionality reduction techniques (DRTs) to reduce the dimensionality of high‐dimensional environmental data. Then, we established five SDMs based on the environmental variables of dimensionality reduction for 23 real plant species and nine virtual species, and compared the predictive performance of those with the SDMs based on the selected environmental variables through Pearson's correlation coefficient (PCC). In addition, we studied the effects of DRTs, model complexity, and sample size on the predictive performance of SDMs. The predictive performance of SDMs under DRTs other than KPCA is better than using PCC. And the predictive performance of SDMs using linear DRTs is better than using nonlinear DRTs. In addition, using DRTs to deal with environmental variables has no less impact on the predictive performance of SDMs than model complexity and sample size. When the model complexity is at the complex level, PCA can improve the predictive performance of SDMs the most by 2.55% compared with PCC. At the middle level of sample size, the PCA improved the predictive performance of SDMs by 2.68% compared with the PCC. Our study demonstrates that DRTs have a significant effect on the predictive performance of SDMs. Specifically, linear DRTs, especially PCA, are more effective at improving model predictive performance under relatively complex model complexity or large sample sizes.

Jin, D., Q. Yuan, X. Dai, G. Kozlowski, and Y. Song. 2023. Enhanced precipitation has driven the evolution of subtropical evergreen broad‐leaved forests in eastern China since the early Miocene: Evidence from ring‐cupped oaks. Journal of Systematics and Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1111/jse.13022

Subtropical evergreen broad‐leaved forest (EBLF) is the predominant vegetation type in eastern China. However, the majority of the region it covers in eastern China was an arid area during the Paleogene. The temporal history and essential factors involved in the evolution of subtropical EBLFs in eastern China remain enigmatic. Here we report on the niche evolution of Quercus section Cyclobalanopsis, which appeared in south China and Japan during the Eocene and became a dominant component of subtropical EBLFs since the Miocene in eastern Asia, using integrative analysis of occurrences, climate data and a dated phylogeny of 35 species in Cyclobalanopsis. Species within clades Cyclobalanoides, Lamellosa, and Helferiana mainly exist in the Himalaya–Hengduan region, adapting to a plateau climate, while species within the other clades mainly live in eastern China under the control of the East Asian monsoon. Reconstructed history showed that significant divergence of climatic tolerance in Cyclobalanopsis began around 19 million years ago (Ma) in the early Miocene. Simultaneously, disparities in precipitation of wettest/warmest quarter and annual precipitation were markedly enhanced in Cyclobalanopsis, especially in the recent eastern clades. During the Miocene, the marked radiation of Cyclobalanopsis and many other dominant taxa of subtropical EBLFs strongly suggest the rapid formation and expansion of subtropical EBLFs in eastern China. Our research highlights that the intensification of the East Asian monsoon and subsequent occupation of new niches by the ancient clades already present in the south may have jointly promoted the formation of subtropical EBLFs in eastern China since the early Miocene.