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Cousins-Westerberg, R., N. Dakin, L. Schat, G. Kadereit, and A. M. Humphreys. 2023. Evolution of cold tolerance in the highly stress-tolerant samphires and relatives (Salicornieae: Amaranthaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. https://doi.org/10.1093/botlinnean/boad009

Low temperature constitutes one of the main barriers to plant distributions, confining many clades to their ancestrally tropical biome. However, recent evidence suggests that transitions from tropical to temperate biomes may be more frequent than previously thought. Here, we study the evolution of cold and frost tolerance in the globally distributed and highly stress-tolerant Salicornieae (Salicornioideae, Amaranthaceae s.l.). We first generate a phylogenetic tree comprising almost all known species (85-90%), using newly generated (n = 106) and published nuclear-ribosomal and plastid sequences. Next, we use geographical occurrence data to document in which clades and geographical regions cold-tolerant species occur and reconstruct how cold tolerance evolved. Finally, we test for correlated evolution between frost tolerance and the annual life form. We find that frost tolerance has evolved independently in up to four Northern Hemisphere lineages but that annuals are no more likely to evolve frost tolerance than perennials, indicating the presence of different strategies for adapting to cold environments. Our findings add to mounting evidence for multiple independent out-of-the-tropics transitions among close relatives of flowering plants and raise new questions about the ecological and physiological mechanism(s) of adaptation to low temperatures in Salicornieae.

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.

Smallwood, P. A., and D. W. Trapnell. 2022. Species Distribution Modeling Reveals Recent Shifts in Suitable Habitat for Six North American Cypripedium spp. (Orchidaceae). Diversity 14: 694. https://doi.org/10.3390/d14090694

Accelerating climate change is expected to cause range shifts of numerous taxa worldwide. While climatic projections and predicted consequences typically focus on the future (2050 or later), a measurable change in climatic conditions has occurred over recent decades. We investigate whether recent climate change has caused measurable shifts in suitable habitat for six North American species in the highly threatened genus Cypripedium (Orchidaceae). We constructed species distribution models using a maximum entropy approach from species occurrence records, 19 bioclimatic variables, land cover data, and soil data for two decadal time intervals (1980–1989 and 2010–2019). Models were compared between time intervals to assess shifts in locality, size, fragmentation, and mean elevation of suitable habitat. For all six congeners, the centroids of suitable habitat shifted between time intervals, although the directionality varied. There was, however, consistency among species within geographic regions. Consistent with our expectations, the optimal habitat for most species shifted to a higher elevation and for western species it shifted northwards. However, the habitat for one northwestern species shifted southwards and the habitat for eastern species converged on the Great Lakes region from different directions. This work illustrates the somewhat idiosyncratic responses of congeneric species to changing climatic conditions and how the geographic region occupied by a species may be more important for predicting shifts in habitat than is the response of a closely related taxon.

Xue, T., S. R. Gadagkar, T. P. Albright, X. Yang, J. Li, C. Xia, J. Wu, and S. Yu. 2021. Prioritizing conservation of biodiversity in an alpine region: Distribution pattern and conservation status of seed plants in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Global Ecology and Conservation 32: e01885. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2021.e01885

The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) harbors abundant and diverse plant life owing to its high habitat heterogeneity. However, the distribution pattern of biodiversity hotspots and their conservation status remain unclear. Based on 148,283 high-resolution occurrence coordinates of 13,450 seed plants, w…

Peyre, G., J. Lenoir, D. N. Karger, M. Gomez, A. Gonzalez, O. Broennimann, and A. Guisan. 2020. The fate of páramo plant assemblages in the sky islands of the northern Andes B. Jiménez‐Alfaro [ed.],. Journal of Vegetation Science 31: 967–980. https://doi.org/10.1111/jvs.12898

Aims: Assessing climate change impacts on biodiversity is a main scientific challenge, especially in the tropics, therefore, we predicted the future of plant species and communities on the unique páramo sky islands. We implemented the Spatially Explicit Species Assemblage Modelling framework, by i) …

Margaroni, S., K. B. Petersen, R. Gleadow, and M. Burd. 2019. The role of spore size in the global pattern of co‐occurrence among Selaginella species. Journal of Biogeography 46: 807–815. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13532

Aim: Separation of regeneration niches may promote coexistence among closely related plant species, but there is little evidence that regeneration traits affect species ranges at broad geographical scales. We address patterns of co‐occurrence within the genus Selaginella, an ancient lineage of free‐…

Petersen, K. B., and M. Burd. 2018. The adaptive value of heterospory: Evidence from Selaginella. Evolution 72: 1080–1091. https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.13484

Heterospory was a pivotal evolutionary innovation for land plants, but it has never been clear why it evolved. We used the geographic distributions of 114 species of the heterosporous lycophyte Selaginella to explore the functional ecology of microspore and megaspore size, traits that would be corre…

Sheffield, C., and J. Heron. 2018. A new western Canadian record of Epeoloides pilosulus (Cresson), with discussion of ecological associations, distribution and conservation status in Canada. Biodiversity Data Journal 6: e22837. https://doi.org/10.3897/bdj.6.e22837

Background: Epeoloides pilosulus, one of the rarest bees in North America, is a cleptoparasite of Macropis bees which themselves are uncommon oligoleges of oil-producing Lysimachia flowers. Only two specimens of the cleptoparasite have been reported from Canada since the 1960s, both from Nova Scotia…