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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.

Sharma, M. K., B. Ram, and A. Chawla. 2023. Ensemble modelling under multiple climate change scenarios predicts reduction in highly suitable range of habitats of Dactylorhiza hatagirea (D.Don) Soo in Himachal Pradesh, western Himalaya. South African Journal of Botany 154: 203–218. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sajb.2022.12.026

Species distributions models (SDMs) are an indispensable and important tool for predicting suitable habitats and projecting the impacts of future climate change on habitat distribution of species, particularly the threatened species. Amongst such species, Dactylorhiza hatagirea (D.Don) Soo is a threatened, medicinal orchid endemic to Himalaya. In the present study, we utilized ensemble modelling to identify the current potential suitable habitats and predict the impacts of future climate change on the distributional range of D. hatagirea in Himachal Pradesh, an Indian State in Western Himalaya. An ensemble of eight different model was run on non-collinear bioclimatic and topographic variables to predict its current potential distribution. A further ensemble of five global circulation models, focusing on four representative concentration pathways, was utilised to select the suitable habitats in future, for the years 2050 and 2070. The main bioclimatic variables influencing the predictions of potential distribution of D. hatagirea were Mean Temperature of Warmest Quarter (Bio10), Isothermality (Bio3), Mean Temperature of Wettest Quarter (Bio8), Slope, Precipitation Seasonality (Bio15) and Mean Diurnal Range (Bio2). The results of ensemble model revealed that, under present climatic conditions, the potential current suitable habitats of D. hatagirea comprises of only 0.09% of the study region. The model predicted that compared to the current distribution, the highly suitable habitats, under various future climate scenarios, would be significantly reduced by 25.34% to 56.34% and from 22.54% to 38.03% by the years 2050 and 2070 respectively. Our study also showed that the centroid of suitable habitats of D. hatagirea will shift towards eastern side of Himachal Pradesh. As per IUCN range loss criterion A3(c), D. hatagirea would lose more than 30% of its currently occupied suitable habitat, and this can be categorized as ‘Vulnerable’. Therefore, an assisted colonization (AC) would be required in 0.21 to 5.98 and 0.56 to 7.39 new cells (each of grid size 2×2 km2) for the years 2050 and 2070 respectively, to halt the range loss below the threshold of 30% and shift it to the ‘Least Concern’ category. Further, it was found that the availability of suitable cells within existing network of protected areas (PAs) in the region are adequate and could be a better alternative to achieve conservation goals through AC. In the present study, we found that the habitats of D. hatagirea in western Himalaya are extremely vulnerable to future shifts and alterations in the climate patterns. The findings from the present study, thus, could be utilized to alleviate the threats to the survival of populations of this species by carrying out activities such as protecting the habitats, studying the unexplored populations, re-wilding and AC programmes within the PAs, for planning of conservation and management strategies.

Wu, M., J. Huang, S. R. Manchester, H. Tang, Y. Gao, T. Wang, Z. Zhou, and T. Su. 2023. A new fossil record of Palaeosinomenium (Menispermaceae) from the Upper Eocene in the southeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau and its biogeographic and paleoenvironmental implications. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 310: 104827. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.revpalbo.2022.104827

Palaeosinomenium Chandler (Menispermaceae) was established to accommodate the fossil endocarps that share similar morphological characteristics with the tribe Menispermeae in Menispermaceae. Previous fossil records suggested that Palaeosinomenium was distributed in North America, Europe, and East Asia before the Middle Eocene. A new fossil species, Palaeosinomenium hengduanensis Meng-Xiao Wu et Zhe-Kun Zhou sp. nov., was established based on an endocarp impression fossil from the Upper Eocene (35 ± 1 Ma) Shuanghe Formation, Jianchuan Basin, southwestern China. The new species is characterized by a horseshoe-shaped endocarp, an excavated central area, surrounded by a slightly asymmetrical C-shaped lateral ridge, and an elliptic aperture located near the longer endocarp limb. The fossil site is located in the modern distribution area of the living species Sinomenium acutum (Thunb.) Rehd. et Wils, a potential nearest living relative of the new species. The finding of P. hengduanensis supports that the divergence within the tribe Menispermeae might have occurred by the Late Eocene and the species similar to modern S. acutum appeared in the southeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau as early as in the Late Eocene.

Marcussen, T., H. E. Ballard, J. Danihelka, A. R. Flores, M. V. Nicola, and J. M. Watson. 2022. A Revised Phylogenetic Classification for Viola (Violaceae). Plants 11: 2224. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11172224

The genus Viola (Violaceae) is among the 40–50 largest genera among angiosperms, yet its taxonomy has not been revised for nearly a century. In the most recent revision, by Wilhelm Becker in 1925, the then-known 400 species were distributed among 14 sections and numerous unranked groups. Here, we provide an updated, comprehensive classification of the genus, based on data from phylogeny, morphology, chromosome counts, and ploidy, and based on modern principles of monophyly. The revision is presented as an annotated global checklist of accepted species of Viola, an updated multigene phylogenetic network and an ITS phylogeny with denser taxon sampling, a brief summary of the taxonomic changes from Becker’s classification and their justification, a morphological binary key to the accepted subgenera, sections and subsections, and an account of each infrageneric subdivision with justifications for delimitation and rank including a description, a list of apomorphies, molecular phylogenies where possible or relevant, a distribution map, and a list of included species. We distribute the 664 species accepted by us into 2 subgenera, 31 sections, and 20 subsections. We erect one new subgenus of Viola (subg. Neoandinium, a replacement name for the illegitimate subg. Andinium), six new sections (sect. Abyssinium, sect. Himalayum, sect. Melvio, sect. Nematocaulon, sect. Spathulidium, sect. Xanthidium), and seven new subsections (subsect. Australasiaticae, subsect. Bulbosae, subsect. Clausenianae, subsect. Cleistogamae, subsect. Dispares, subsect. Formosanae, subsect. Pseudorupestres). Evolution within the genus is discussed in light of biogeography, the fossil record, morphology, and particular traits. Viola is among very few temperate and widespread genera that originated in South America. The biggest identified knowledge gaps for Viola concern the South American taxa, for which basic knowledge from phylogeny, chromosome counts, and fossil data is virtually absent. Viola has also never been subject to comprehensive anatomical study. Studies into seed anatomy and morphology are required to understand the fossil record of the genus.

Lu, L.-L., B.-H. Jiao, F. Qin, G. Xie, K.-Q. Lu, J.-F. Li, B. Sun, et al. 2022. Artemisia pollen dataset for exploring the potential ecological indicators in deep time. Earth System Science Data 14: 3961–3995. https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-14-3961-2022

Abstract. Artemisia, along with Chenopodiaceae, is the dominant component growing in the desert and dry grassland of the Northern Hemisphere. Artemisia pollen with its high productivity, wide distribution, and easy identification is usually regarded as an eco-indicator for assessing aridity and distinguishing grassland from desert vegetation in terms of the pollen relative abundance ratio of Chenopodiaceae/Artemisia (C/A). Nevertheless, divergent opinions on the degree of aridity evaluated by Artemisia pollen have been circulating in the palynological community for a long time. To solve the confusion, we first selected 36 species from nine clades and three outgroups of Artemisia based on the phylogenetic framework, which attempts to cover the maximum range of pollen morphological variation. Then, sampling, experiments, photography, and measurements were taken using standard methods. Here, we present pollen datasets containing 4018 original pollen photographs, 9360 pollen morphological trait measurements, information on 30 858 source plant occurrences, and corresponding environmental factors. Hierarchical cluster analysis on pollen morphological traits was carried out to subdivide Artemisia pollen into three types. When plotting the three pollen types of Artemisia onto the global terrestrial biomes, different pollen types of Artemisia were found to have different habitat ranges. These findings change the traditional concept of Artemisia being restricted to arid and semi-arid environments. The data framework that we designed is open and expandable for new pollen data of Artemisia worldwide. In the future, linking pollen morphology with habitat via these pollen datasets will create additional knowledge that will increase the resolution of the ecological environment in the geological past. The Artemisia pollen datasets are freely available at Zenodo (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6900308; Lu et al., 2022).

Wani, I. A., S. Khan, S. Verma, F. A. Al-Misned, H. M. Shafik, and H. A. El-Serehy. 2022. Predicting habitat suitability and niche dynamics of Dactylorhiza hatagirea and Rheum webbianum in the Himalaya under projected climate change. Scientific Reports 12. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-16837-5

In the era of anthropocene, global warming tends to alter the distribution range of the plant species. Highly fragile to such changes are the species that are endemic, inhabit higher elevations and show narrow distribution ranges. Predicting and plotting the appropriate suitable habitats and keeping knowledge of how climate change will affect future distribution become imperative for designing effective conservation strategies. In the current study we have used BIOMOD ensemble forecasting to study the current and predict the future potential distribution of Dactylorhiza hatagirea and Rheum webbianum and describe their niche dynamics in Himalayan biodiversity hotspots under climate change scenarios using ecospat R package. Results reveal sufficient internal evaluation metrics with area under curve (AUC) and true skill statistic (TSS) values greater than 0.8 i.e. 0.93 and 0.98 and 0.82 and 0.90 for D. hatageria and R. webbianum respectively, which signifies robustness of the model. Among different bioclimatic variables, bio_1, bio_3, bio_8, bio_14 and bio_15 were the most influential, showing greater impact on the potential distribution of these plant species. Range change analysis showed that both the studied species will show significant contraction of their suitable habitats under future climatic scenarios. Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 for the year 2070, indicate that the suitable habitats could be reduced by about 51.41% and 70.57% for D. hatagirea and R. webbianum respectively. The results of the niche comparisons between the current and future climatic scenarios showed moderate level of niche overlap for all the pairs with D. hatageria showing 61% overlap for current vs. RCP4.5 2050 and R. webbianum reflects 68% overlap for current vs. RCP4.5 2050. Furthermore, the PCA analysis revealed that climatic conditions for both the species vary significantly between current and future scenarios. The similarity and equivalence test showed that the niche between present and future climate change scenarios is comparable but not identical. From the current study we concluded that the influence of climate change on the habitat distribution of these plant species in the Himalayan biodiversity hotspots can be considered very severe. Drastic reduction in overall habitat suitability poses a high risk of species extinction and thereby threatens to alter the functions and services of these fragile ecosystems. Present results can be used by conservationists for mitigating the biodiversity decline and exploring undocumented populations on one hand and by policymakers in implementing the policy of conservation of species by launching species recovery programmes in future on the other. The outcomes of this study can contribute substantially to understand the consequences of climate change in the Himalayan biodiversity hotspots.

Führding‐Potschkat, P., H. Kreft, and S. M. Ickert‐Bond. 2022. Influence of different data cleaning solutions of point‐occurrence records on downstream macroecological diversity models. Ecology and Evolution 12. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.9168

Digital point‐occurrence records from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and other data providers enable a wide range of research in macroecology and biogeography. However, data errors may hamper immediate use. Manual data cleaning is time‐consuming and often unfeasible, given that the databases may contain thousands or millions of records. Automated data cleaning pipelines are therefore of high importance. Taking North American Ephedra as a model, we examined how different data cleaning pipelines (using, e.g., the GBIF web application, and four different R packages) affect downstream species distribution models (SDMs). We also assessed how data differed from expert data. From 13,889 North American Ephedra observations in GBIF, the pipelines removed 31.7% to 62.7% false positives, invalid coordinates, and duplicates, leading to datasets between 9484 (GBIF application) and 5196 records (manual‐guided filtering). The expert data consisted of 704 records, comparable to data from field studies. Although differences in the absolute numbers of records were relatively large, species richness models based on stacked SDMs (S‐SDM) from pipeline and expert data were strongly correlated (mean Pearson's r across the pipelines: .9986, vs. the expert data: .9173). Our results suggest that all R package‐based pipelines reliably identified invalid coordinates. In contrast, the GBIF‐filtered data still contained both spatial and taxonomic errors. Major drawbacks emerge from the fact that no pipeline fully discovered misidentified specimens without the assistance of taxonomic expert knowledge. We conclude that application‐filtered GBIF data will still need additional review to achieve higher spatial data quality. Achieving high‐quality taxonomic data will require extra effort, probably by thoroughly analyzing the data for misidentified taxa, supported by experts.

Bywater‐Reyes, S., R. M. Diehl, A. C. Wilcox, J. C. Stella, and L. Kui. 2022. A Green New Balance: Interactions among riparian vegetation plant traits and morphodynamics in alluvial rivers. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 47: 2410–2436. https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.5385

The strength of interactions between plants and river processes is mediated by plant traits and fluvial conditions, including above‐ground biomass, stem density and flexibility, channel and bed material properties, and flow and sediment regimes. In many rivers, concurrent changes in 1) the composition of riparian vegetation communities as a result of exotic species invasion and 2) shifts in hydrology have altered physical and ecological conditions in a manner that has been mediated by feedbacks between vegetation and morphodynamic processes. We review how Tamarix, which has invaded many U.S. Southwest waterways, and Populus species, woody pioneer trees that are native to the region, differentially affect hydraulics, sediment transport, and river morphology. We draw on flume, field, and modeling approaches spanning the individual seedling to river‐corridor scales. In a flume study, we found differences in the crown morphology, stem density, and flexibility of Tamarix compared to Populus influenced near‐bed flow velocities in a manner that favored aggradation associated with Tamarix. Similarly, at the patch and corridor scales, observations confirmed increased aggradation with increased vegetation density. Furthermore, long‐term channel adjustments were different for Tamarix‐ versus Populus‐dominated reaches, with faster and greater geomorphic adjustments for Tamarix. Collectively, our studies show how plant‐trait differences between Tamarix and Populus, from individual seedlings to larger spatial and temporal scales, influence the co‐adjustment of rivers and riparian plant communities. These findings provide a basis for predicting changes in alluvial riverine systems which we conceptualize as a Green New Balance model that considers how channels may adjust to changes in plant traits and community structure in additional to alterations in flow and sediment supply. We offer suggestions regarding how the Green New Balance can be used in management and invasive species management.

Chevalier, M. 2022. <i>crestr</i>: an R package to perform probabilistic climate reconstructions from palaeoecological datasets. Climate of the Past 18: 821–844. https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-18-821-2022

Abstract. Statistical climate reconstruction techniques are fundamental tools to study past climate variability from fossil proxy data. In particular, the methods based on probability density functions (or PDFs) can be used in various environments and with different climate proxies because they rely on elementary calibration data (i.e. modern geolocalised presence data). However, the difficulty of accessing and curating these calibration data and the complexity of interpreting probabilistic results have often limited their use in palaeoclimatological studies. Here, I introduce a new R package (crestr) to apply the PDF-based method CREST (Climate REconstruction SofTware) on diverse palaeoecological datasets and address these problems. crestr includes a globally curated calibration dataset for six common climate proxies (i.e. plants, beetles, chironomids, rodents, foraminifera, and dinoflagellate cysts) associated with an extensive range of climate variables (20 terrestrial and 19 marine variables) that enables its use in most terrestrial and marine environments. Private data collections can also be used instead of, or in combination with, the provided calibration dataset. The package includes a suite of graphical diagnostic tools to represent the data at each step of the reconstruction process and provide insights into the effect of the different modelling assumptions and external factors that underlie a reconstruction. With this R package, the CREST method can now be used in a scriptable environment and thus be more easily integrated with existing workflows. It is hoped that crestr will be used to produce the much-needed quantified climate reconstructions from the many regions where they are currently lacking, despite the availability of suitable fossil records. To support this development, the use of the package is illustrated with a step-by-step replication of a 790 000-year-long mean annual temperature reconstruction based on a pollen record from southeastern Africa.

Okamura, Y., A. Sato, L. Kawaguchi, A. J. Nagano, M. Murakami, H. Vogel, and J. Kroymann. 2022. Microevolution of Pieris butterfly genes involved in host plant adaptation along a host plant community cline. Molecular Ecology 31: 3083–3097. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.16447

Herbivorous insects have evolved counteradaptations to overcome the chemical defenses of their host plants. Several of these counteradaptations have been elucidated at the molecular level, in particular for insects specialized on cruciferous host plants. While the importance of these counteradaptations for host plant colonization is well established, little is known about their microevolutionary dynamics in the field. In particular, it is not known whether and how host plant diversity shapes diversity in insect counteradaptations. In this study, we examine patterns of host plant use and insect counteradaptation in three Pieris butterfly species across Japan. The larvae of these butterflies express nitrile‐specifier protein (NSP) and its paralog major allergen (MA) in their gut to overcome the highly diversified glucosinolate‐myrosinase defense system of their cruciferous host plants. Pieris napi and Pieris melete colonize wild Brassicaceae whereas Pieris rapae typically uses cultivated Brassica as a host, regardless of the local composition of wild crucifers. As expected, NSP and MA diversity was independent of the local composition of wild Brassicaceae in P. rapae. In contrast, NSP diversity correlated with local host plant diversity in both species that preferred wild Brassicaceae. P. melete and P. napi both revealed two distinct major NSP alleles, which shaped diversity among local populations, albeit with different evolutionary trajectories. In comparison, MA showed no indication for local adaptation. Altogether, MA appeared to be evolutionary more conserved than NSP, suggesting that both genes play different roles in diverting host plant chemical defense.