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Kebaïli, C., S. Sherpa, M. Guéguen, J. Renaud, D. Rioux, and L. Després. 2023. Comparative genetic and demographic responses to climate change in three peatland butterflies in the Jura massif. Biological Conservation 287: 110332. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2023.110332

Climate is a main driver of species distributions, but all species are not equally affected by climate change, and their differential responses to similar climatic constraints might dramatically affect the local species composition. In the context of climate warming, a better knowledge of the ability of dispersal-limited and habitat-specialist species to track climate change at local scale is urgently needed. Comparing the population genetic and demographic impacts of past climate cycles in multiple co-distributed species with similar ecological requirements help predicting the community-scale response to climate warming, but such comparative studies remain rare. Here, we studied the relationship between demographic history and past changes in spatial distribution of three protected peatland butterfly species (Boloria aquilonaris, Coenonympha tullia, Lycaena helle) in the Jura massif (France), using a genomic approach (ddRAD sequencing) and species distribution modeling (SDM). We found a similar and narrow thermal niche among species, and shared demographic histories of post-glacial decline and recent fragmentation of populations. Each species functions as a single metapopulation at the regional scale, with a North-South gradient of decreasing genetic diversity that fits the local dynamics of the ice cover over time. However, we found no correlation between changes in the quantity or the quality of suitable areas and changes in effective population size over time. This suggests that species ranges moved beyond the Jura massif during the less favorable climatic periods, and/or that habitat loss and deterioration are major drivers of the current dramatic decline observed in the three species. Our findings allow better understanding how history events and contemporary dynamics shape local biodiversity, providing valuable knowledge to identify appropriate conservation strategies.

Westerduin, C., M. Suokas, T. Petäjä, U. Saarela, S. Vainio, and M. Mutanen. 2023. Exploring and validating observations of non‐local species in eDNA samples. Ecology and Evolution 13. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.10612

AbstractThe development of DNA‐based methods in recent decades has opened the door to numerous new lines of research in the biological sciences. While the speed and accuracy of DNA methodologies are clearly beneficial, the sensitivity of these methods has the adverse effect of increased susceptibility to false positives resulting from contamination in field or lab. Here, we present findings from a metabarcoding study on the diet of and food availability for five insectivorous birds, in which multiple lepidopteran species not known to occur locally were discovered. After describing the pattern of occurrences of these non‐local species in the samples, we discuss various potential origins of these sequences. First, we assessed that the taxonomic assignments appeared reliable, and local occurrences of many of the species could be plausibly ruled out. Then, we looked into the possibilities of natural environmental contamination, judging it to be unlikely, albeit impossible to fully falsify. Finally, while dissimilar combinations of non‐local species' occurrences across the samples did not initially suggest lab contamination, we found overlap with taxa and sequences handled in the same lab, which was undoubtedly not coincidental. Even so, not all exact sequences were accounted for in these locally conducted studies, nor was it clear if these and other sequences could remain detectable years later. Although the full explanation for the observations of non‐local species remains inconclusive, these findings highlight the importance of critical examination of metabarcoding results, and showcase how species‐level taxonomic assignments utilizing comprehensive reference libraries may be a tool in detecting potential contamination events, and false positives in general.

Sánchez‐Campaña, C., C. Múrria, V. Hermoso, D. Sánchez‐Fernández, J. M. Tierno de Figueroa, M. González, A. Millán, et al. 2023. Anticipating where are unknown aquatic insects in Europe to improve biodiversity conservation. Diversity and Distributions. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.13714

Aim Understanding biodiversity patterns is crucial for prioritizing future conservation efforts and reducing the current rates of biodiversity loss. However, a large proportion of species remain undescribed (i.e. unknown biodiversity), hindering our ability to conduct this task. This phenomenon, known as the ‘Linnean shortfall’, is especially relevant in highly diverse, yet endangered, taxonomic groups, such as insects. Here we explore the distributions of recently described freshwater insect species in Europe to (1) infer the potential location of unknown biodiversity hotspots and (2) determine the variables that can anticipate the distribution of unknown biodiversity. Location The European continent, including western Russia, Cyprus and Turkey. Methods Georeferenced information of all sites where new aquatic insect species were described across Europe from 2000 to 2020 was compiled. In order to understand the observed spatial patterns in richness of recently described species, spatial units were defined (level 6 of HydroBASINS) and associated with a combination of a set of socioeconomic, environmental and sampling effort descriptors. A zero-inflated Poisson regression approach was used to model the richness of newly described species within each spatial unit. Results Nine hundred and sixty-six recently described species were found: 398 Diptera, 362 Trichoptera, 105 Coleoptera, 66 Plecoptera, 28 Ephemeroptera, 3 Neuroptera, 2 Lepidoptera and 2 Odonata. The Mediterranean Basin was the region with the highest number of recently described species (74%). The richness of recently described species per spatial unit across Europe was highest at mid-elevation areas (between 400 and 1000 m), latitudes between 40 and 50° and in areas with yearly average precipitation levels of 500–1000 mm, a medium intensity of sampling effort and low population density. The percentage of protected areas in each study unit was not significantly related to the richness of recently described species. In fact, 70% of the species were found outside protected areas. Main conclusions The results highlight the urgent need to concentrate conservation efforts in freshwater ecosystems located at mid-altitude areas and out of protected areas across the Mediterranean Basin. The highest number of newly described species in those areas indicates that further monitoring efforts are required to ensure the aquatic biodiversity is adequately known and managed within a context of growing human impacts in freshwater ecosystems.

Kolanowska, M., S. Nowak, and A. Rewicz. 2022. Will Greenland be the last refuge for the continental European small-white orchid?Niche modeling of future distribution of Pseudorchis albida. Frontiers in Environmental Science 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fenvs.2022.912428

Climate change affects populations of plants, animals, and fungi not only by direct modifications of their climatic niches but also by altering their ecological interactions. In this study, the future distribution of suitable habitats for the small-white orchid (Pseudorchis albida) was predicted using ecological niche modeling. In addition, the effect of global warming on the spatial distribution and availability of the pollen vectors of this species was evaluated. Due to the inconsistency in the taxonomic concepts of Pseudorchis albida, the differences in the climatic preferences of three proposed subspecies were investigated. Due to the overlap of both morphological and ecological characters of ssp. albida and ssp. tricuspis, they are considered to be synonyms, and the final analyses were carried out using ssp. albida s.l. and ssp. straminea. All of the models predict that with global warming, the number of suitable niches for these orchids will increase. This significant increase in preferred habitats is expected to occur in Greenland, but habitat loss in continental Europe will be severe. Within continental Europe, Pseudorchis albida ssp. albida will lose 44%–98% of its suitable niches and P. albida ssp. straminea will lose 46%–91% of its currently available habitats. An opposite effect of global warming was predicted for pollinators of P. albida s.l., and almost all insects studied will be subject to habitat loss. Still, within the predicted potential geographical ranges of the orchid studied, some pollen vectors are expected to occur, and these can support the long-term survival of the small-white orchid.

Liu, S., S. Xia, D. Wu, J. E. Behm, Y. Meng, H. Yuan, P. Wen, et al. 2022. Understanding global and regional patterns of termite diversity and regional functional traits. iScience: 105538. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2022.105538

Our understanding of broad-scale biodiversity and functional trait patterns is largely based on plants, and relatively little information is available on soil arthropods. Here, we investigated the distribution of termite diversity globally and morphological traits and diversity across China. Our analyses showed increasing termite species richness with decreasing latitude at both the globally, and within-China. Additionally, we detected obvious latitudinal trends in the mean community value of termite morphological traits on average, with body size and leg length decreasing with increasing latitude. Furthermore, temperature, NDVI and water variables were the most important drivers controlling the variation in termite richness, and temperature and soil properties were key drivers of the geographic distribution of termite morphological traits. Our global termite richness map is one of the first high resolution maps for any arthropod group and especially given the functional importance of termites, our work provides a useful baseline for further ecological analysis.

Gil‐Tapetado, D., C. D. Soria, J. F. Gómez, J. M. Sesma, and F. J. Cabrero‐Sañudo. 2022. Aridity could have driven the local extinction of a common and multivoltine butterfly. Ecological Entomology. https://doi.org/10.1111/een.13200

Identifying which species are being negatively impacted by climate change and the mechanisms driving their decline is essential to effectively protect biodiversity.Coenonympha pamphilus is a common and generalist butterfly, widely distributed throughout the Western Palearctic, being multivoltine in southern Europe. Previous studies indicate that it will not be substantially affected by climate change; however, it has seemingly disappeared from the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula in the last decades.Here, we aim to determine if it has effectively disappeared from this area, as well as identify the environmental conditions limiting its distribution and the potential causes behind this a priori local extinction.We downloaded all the occurrence records of C. pamphilus and analysed their spatial and temporal trends. To identify the climatic variables driving the distribution of this butterfly in the Iberian Peninsula, we performed an ensemble species distribution model (SDM), combining 600 individual models produced with 6 algorithms.We confirmed that C. pamphilus has not been observed in the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula since 2008. Aridity was the main factor limiting the distribution of C. pamphilus in our ensemble SDM, with areas with high aridity being unsuitable for this species.We hypothesise that multivoltinism is the mechanism driving this local extirpation, as high aridity is causing host plants (Poaceae) to wither prematurely, precluding the development of the second and/or third generations of the butterfly. Even though generalist species are theoretically more resilient to climate change, other traits such as multivoltinism may increase their vulnerability and need to be further investigated.

Vilardo, G., M. Faccoli, J. C. Corley, and M. V. Lantschner. 2022. Factors driving historic intercontinental invasions of European pine bark beetles. Biological Invasions 24: 2973–2991. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-022-02818-2

Largely assisted by global trade, alien insect species are being introduced into new territories at unprecedented rates. Among forest insects, pine bark beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) are a large and diverse group commonly recognized as successful invaders and important tree mortality agents in pine forests and commercial plantations. In this study, we collected information on the native and invaded distribution of 51 European bark beetles developing in Pinus species. We analyzed their invasion history in the Southern Hemisphere and the Americas and explored several factors that can help explain their invasion success: (1) propagule pressure: interception frequency in the non-native range(2) invasibility: potential establishment area based on climatic matching and host availability and (3) invasiveness: biological traits of the bark beetles ( i.e. , feeding habit, host range, body size, mating system, colonization behavior). We found that most (87%) of the introductions of the species to new regions occurred in the period 1960–2013, and that variables related with the three main factors were relevant in explaining invasion success. Propagule pressure was the factor that best explained bark beetle invasion probability, followed by invasibility of the novel area. In turn, biological attributes like mating system, body size and host range were also relevant, but showed a lower relative importance. Our study contributes to understand the main factors that explain forest insect invasion success. This information is critical for predicting future invasions to new regions and optimizing early-detection and biosecurity policies.

Li, D., Z. Li, Z. Liu, Y. Yang, A. G. Khoso, L. Wang, and D. Liu. 2022. Climate change simulations revealed potentially drastic shifts in insect community structure and crop yields in China’s farmland. Journal of Pest Science. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10340-022-01479-3

Climate change will cause drastic fluctuations in agricultural ecosystems, which in turn may affect global food security. We used ecological niche modeling to predict the potential distribution for four cereal aphids (i.e., Sitobion avenae, Rhopalosiphum padi, Schizaphis graminum, and Diurphis noxia…

Kolanowska, M., A. Rewicz, and S. Nowak. 2021. Data on the present and future distribution of suitable niches of the black vanilla orchid (Nigritella nigra s.l., Orchidaceae) and its pollinators. Data in Brief 37: 107187. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dib.2021.107187

The black vanilla orchid (Nigritella nigra s.l.) is a perennial plant found in the main European mountain ranges. It occurs in large numbers in the Alps, but it has become a rare and endangered species in Scandinavia due to the loss of suitable habitats. Here we present occurrence data on the occurr…

Maresova, J., A. Suchackova Bartonova, M. Konvicka, T. T. Høye, O. Gilg, J. Kresse, N. A. Shapoval, et al. 2020. The story of endurance: Biogeography and the evolutionary history of four Holarctic butterflies with different habitat requirements. Journal of Biogeography 48: 590–602. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14022

Aim: Biogeographical studies on the entire ranges of widely distributed species can change our perception of species’ range dynamics. We studied the effects of Pleistocene glacial cycles on current butterfly species distributions, aiming to uncover complex biogeographic patterns in the Holarctic, a …