Uses of GBIF in scientific research

Peer-reviewed research citing GBIF as a data source, with at least one author from Belgium.
Extracted from the Mendeley GBIF Public Library.

List of publications

  • Dellicour, S., Michez, D., Rasplus, J., Mardulyn, P., 2015.

    Impact of past climatic changes and resource availability on the population demography of three food-specialist bees.

    Molecular ecology.

    Past climate change is known to have strongly impacted current patterns of genetic variation of animals and plants in Europe. However, ecological factors also have the potential to influence demographic history, and thus patterns of genetic variation. In this study, we investigated the impact of past climate, and also the potential impact of host plant species abundance, on intraspecific genetic variation in three co-distributed and related specialized solitary bees of the genus Melitta with very similar life history traits and dispersal capacities. We sequenced five independent loci in samples collected from the three species. Our analyses revealed that the species associated with the most abundant host plant species (Melitta leporina) displays unusually high genetic variation, to an extent that is seldom reported in phylogeographic studies of animals and plants. This suggests a potential role of food resource abundance in determining current patterns of genetic variation in specialized herbivorous insects. Patterns of genetic variation in the two other species indicated lower overall levels of diversity, and that M. nigricans could have experienced a recent range expansion. Ecological niche modelling of the three Melitta species and their main host plant species suggested a strong reduction in range size during the last glacial maximum. Comparing observed sequence data with data simulated using spatially explicit models of coalescence suggests that M. leporina recovered a range and population size close to their current levels at the end of the last glaciation, and confirms recent range expansion as the most likely scenario for M. nigricans. Overall, this study illustrates that both demographic history and ecological factors may have contributed to shape current phylogeographic patterns. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

    Keywords: coalescent simulations, demographic history, food specialization, intraspecific diversity, phylogeography, phytophagous insects, population fragmentation


  • Ertz, D., Diederich, P., 2015.

    Dismantling Melaspileaceae: a first phylogenetic study of Buelliella, Hemigrapha, Karschia, Labrocarpon and Melaspilea

    Fungal Diversity.

    Melaspileaceae is a heterogeneous group of Ascomycota including lichenized, lichenicolous and saprobic fungi. A first phylogenetic study of Melaspileaceae is presented and is based on mtSSU and nuLSU sequence data. We obtained 49 new sequences for 28 specimens representing 15 species. The genera Buelliella, Hemigrapha, Karschia, Labrocarpon and Melaspilea s. str. are included in a molecular phylogeny for the first time. Melaspileaceae is recovered as polyphyletic, with members placed in two main lineages of Dothideomycetes. Melaspilea s. str. is included in Eremithallales. Eremithallaceae is placed in synonymy with Melaspileaceae. The genus Encephalographa is placed in Melaspileaceae. The genera Buelliella, Karschia, Labrocarpon and several members of Melaspilea are demonstrated to belong to Asterinales, while Hemigrapha is confirmed in this order. The genera Melaspileella, Melaspileopsis, Stictographa are reinstated for former Melaspilea species now placed in Asterinales. Karschia cezannei is described as new, and the new combinations Melaspilea costaricensis, M. enteroleuca, M. urceolata, Melaspileella proximella and Melaspileopsis diplasiospora are made. Melaspileaceae as newly defined includes lichenized and saprobic species. The lichenicolous and saprobic life styles form different intermixed lineages in Asterinales that do not include lichenized taxa. The phylogenetic data provide a first framework for dismantling further the genus Melaspilea for which most of the species are expected to belong to Asterinales.

    Keywords: Asterinales, Eremithallales, Lichenicolous fungi, Phylogeny, Taxonomy


  • Groom, Q. J., Desmet, P., Vanderhoeven, S., Adriaens, T., 2015.

    The importance of open data for invasive alien species research, policy and management

    Management of Biological Invasions 6.

    Rapidly changing environmental conditions a nd the increasing establishment of invasive alien species present many challenges fo r policy makers, managers and researchers. The traditional policies for data management, or lack thereof, are obstructing an adequate re sponse to invasive alien species, which requires accurate and up-to-date info rmation. This information can only be provided if data regar ding invasive alien species are available and useable by a ll, irrespective of country, status or pur pose. The best way forward is for researc hers to publish their data openly, by making use of repositories in which the da ta are licenced in a permissive manner, while making sure they are credited by the adequate provision of citation. Re ducing the barriers to data sharing will im prove our ability to respond to the growing issue of biological invasions.

    Keywords: Lithob, biological observations, data publication


  • van Kleunen, M., Dawson, W., Essl, F., Pergl, J., Winter, M., Weber, E., Kreft, H., Weigelt, P., Kartesz, J., Nishino, M., Antonova, L., Barcelona, J., Cabezas, F., Cárdenas, D., Cárdenas-Toro, J., Castaño, N., Chacón, E., Chatelain, C., Ebel, A., Figueiredo, E., Fuentes, N., Groom, Q., Henderson, L., Kupriyanov, A., Masciadri, S., Meerman, J., Morozova, O., Moser, D., Nickrent, D., Patzelt, A., Pelser, P., Baptiste, M., Poopath, M., Schulze, M., Seebens, H., Shu, W., Thomas, J., Velayos, M., Wieringa, J., Pyšek, P., 2015.

    Global exchange and accumulation of non-native plants

    Nature advance on.

    Keywords: Lithob, biological observations, data publication


  • Cadima, X., van Zonneveld, M., Scheldeman, X., Castañeda, N., Patiño, F., Beltran, M., Van Damme, P., 2014.

    Endemic wild potato (Solanum spp.) biodiversity status in Bolivia: Reasons for conservation concerns

    Journal for Nature Conservation 22(2) 113-131.

    Crop wild relatives possess important traits, therefore ex situ and in situ conservation efforts are essential to maintain sufficient options for crop improvement. Bolivia is a centre of wild relative diversity for several crops, among them potato, which is an important staple worldwide and the principal food crop in this country. Despite their relevance for plant breeding, limited knowledge exists about their in situ conservation status. We used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and distribution modelling with the software Maxent to better understand geographic patterns of endemic wild potato diversity in Bolivia. In combination with threat layers, we assessed the conservation status of all endemic species, 21 in total. We prioritised areas for in situ conservation by using complementary reserve selection and excluded 25% of the most-threatened collection sites because costs to implement conservation measures at those locations may be too high compared to other areas. Some 70% (15 of 21 species) has a preliminary vulnerable status or worse according to IUCN red list distribution criteria. Our results show that four of these species would require special conservation attention because they were only observed in <15 locations and are highly threatened by human accessibility, fires and livestock pressure. Although highest species richness occurs in south-central Bolivia, in the departments Santa Cruz and Chuquisaca, the first priority area for in situ conservation according to our reserve selection exercise is central Bolivia, Cochabamba; this area is less threatened than the potato wild relatives’ hotspot in south-central Bolivia. Only seven of the 21 species were observed in protected areas. To improve coverage of potato wild relatives’ distribution by protected areas, we recommend starting inventories in parks and reserves with high modelled diversity. Finally, to improve ex situ conservation, we targeted areas for germplasm collection of species with <5 accessions conserved in genebanks.

    Keywords: Crop wild relatives, Ex situ conservation, IUCN red listing, In situ conservation, Potato breeding material, Reserve selection, Species distribution modelling, Threat assessment


  • Creemers, R., Denoël, M., Campos, J., Vences, M., Crochet, P., Gonçalves, J., de Pous, P., Kuzmin, S., Speybroeck, J., Toxopeus, B., Corti, C., Vieites, D., Ficetola, G., Bonardi, A., Crnobrnja Isailović, J., Rodríguez, A., Lymberakis, P., Sindaco, R., Sillero, N., 2014.

    Updated distribution and biogeography of amphibians and reptiles of Europe

    Amphibia-Reptilia 35(1) 1-31.

    A precise knowledge of the spatial distribution of taxa is essential for decision-making processes in land management and biodiversity conservation, both for present and under future global change scenarios. This is a key base for several scientific disciplines (e.g. macro-ecology, biogeography, evolutionary biology, spatial planning, or environmental impact assessment) that rely on species distribution maps. An atlas summarizing the distribution of European amphibians and reptiles with 50&#160;× 50&#160;km resolution maps based on ca. 85 000 grid records was published by the Societas Europaea Herpetologica (SEH) in 1997. Since then, more detailed species distribution maps covering large parts of Europe became available, while taxonomic progress has led to a plethora of taxonomic changes including new species descriptions. To account for these progresses, we compiled information from different data sources: published in books and websites, ongoing national atlases, personal data kindly provided to the SEH, the 1997 European Atlas, and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Databases were homogenised, deleting all information except species names and coordinates, projected to the same coordinate system (WGS84) and transformed into a 50&#160;× 50&#160;km grid. The newly compiled database comprises more than 384 000 grid and locality records distributed across 40 countries. We calculated species richness maps as well as maps of Corrected Weighted Endemism and defined species distribution types (i.e. groups of species with similar distribution patterns) by hierarchical cluster analysis using Jaccard’s index as association measure. Our analysis serves as a preliminary step towards an interactive, dynamic and online distributed database system (NA2RE system) of the current spatial distribution of European amphibians and reptiles. The NA2RE system will serve as well to monitor potential temporal changes in their distributions. Grid maps of all species are made available along with this paper as a tool for decision-making and conservation-related studies and actions. We also identify taxonomic and geographic gaps of knowledge that need to be filled, and we highlight the need to add temporal and altitudinal data for all records, to allow tracking potential species distribution changes as well as detailed modelling of the impacts of land use and climate change on European amphibians and reptiles.

    Keywords: European herpetofauna, IUCN red list, biogeography, conservation, distribution atlas, distribution types, endemism, species richness


  • De Cauwer, V., Muys, B., Revermann, R., Trabucco, A., 2014.

    Potential, realised, future distribution and environmental suitability for Pterocarpus angolensis DC in southern Africa

    Forest Ecology and Management 315 211-226.

    The deciduous tree species Pterocarpus angolensis occurs in the dry woodlands of southern Africa and grows under a broad range of environmental conditions. It is threatened by overharvesting due to its valuable timber (Blood wood, Kiaat) and by land use changes. Information on the most suitable environmental conditions for the species is often old and anecdotal, while available data on its occurrence refer to range extent and not to distribution. Species distribution models (SDM) could provide more accurate information on distribution and environmental requirements and thereby assist sustainable management of this tree species. Maxent models were developed to estimate the potential, realised and future distribution of P. angolensis and to identify detailed environmental requirements. Occurrences data of the species were sourced from herbaria and other published sources; environmental data from global GIS databases. Relevant environmental predictors were selected through a jack-knife test of the first model runs. The addition of information on competing species, fires and deforestation was tested to determine realised distribution. Model quality was evaluated with an independent presence-absence dataset. The model was projected with two different climate change scenarios to study their effect on the distribution by 2080. Results show that a potential distribution map can be obtained with good discrimination of the presence of the species (AUC 0.83) and fairly good calibration (correlation coefficient 0.61). Range extent and environmental requirements are more detailed than those described in literature. The distribution of the species is mainly influenced by the amount of summer rainfall, by the minimum temperature in winter and by temperature seasonality. Potential and realised distributions are very similar, with Madagascar as major exception where the species can grow but does not occur. Adding the fire history of the last 13 years or the distribution maps of potentially competing species as predictor variables did not improve the distribution model. It did illustrate that P. angolensis is mainly found in areas with annual fire frequency below 45% and that only a few of the tested species show signs of competition. Using a forest cover map improved the realised distribution slightly (Kappa coefficient 0.64). Climate change can decrease the species range considerably, especially in the west, threatening species existence in Namibia and Botswana. On the other hand, the species’ occurrence is predicted to increase in Zambia.

    Keywords: European herpetofauna, IUCN red list, biogeography, conservation, distribution atlas, distribution types, endemism, species richness


  • Habel, J., Mulwa, R., Gassert, F., Rödder, D., Ulrich, W., Borghesio, L., Husemann, M., Lens, L., 2014.

    Population signatures of large-scale, long-term disjunction and small-scale, short-term habitat fragmentation in an Afromontane forest bird

    Heredity 113(3) 205-14.

    The Eastern Afromontane cloud forests occur as geographically distinct mountain exclaves. The conditions of these forests range from large to small and from fairly intact to strongly degraded. For this study, we sampled individuals of the forest bird species, the Montane White-eye Zosterops poliogaster from 16 sites and four mountain archipelagos. We analysed 12 polymorphic microsatellites and three phenotypic traits, and calculated Species Distribution Models (SDMs) to project past distributions and predict potential future range shifts under a scenario of climate warming. We found well-supported genetic and morphologic clusters corresponding to the mountain ranges where populations were sampled, with 43% of all alleles being restricted to single mountains. Our data suggest that large-scale and long-term geographic isolation on mountain islands caused genetically and morphologically distinct population clusters in Z. poliogaster. However, major genetic and biometric splits were not correlated to the geographic distances among populations. This heterogeneous pattern can be explained by past climatic shifts, as highlighted by our SDM projections. Anthropogenically fragmented populations showed lower genetic diversity and a lower mean body mass, possibly in response to suboptimal habitat conditions. On the basis of these findings and the results from our SDM analysis we predict further loss of genotypic and phenotypic uniqueness in the wake of climate change, due to the contraction of the species' climatic niche and subsequent decline in population size.

    Keywords: European herpetofauna, IUCN red list, biogeography, conservation, distribution atlas, distribution types, endemism, species richness


  • Lembrechts, J., Milbau, A., Nijs, I., 2014.

    Alien Roadside Species More Easily Invade Alpine than Lowland Plant Communities in a Subarctic Mountain Ecosystem

    PLoS ONE 9(2) e89664.

    Effects of roads on plant communities are not well known in cold-climate mountain ecosystems, where road building and development are expected to increase in future decades. Knowledge of the sensitivity of mountain plant communities to disturbance by roads is however important for future conservation purposes. We investigate the effects of roads on species richness and composition, including the plant strategies that are most affected, along three elevational gradients in a subarctic mountain ecosystem. We also examine whether mountain roads promote the introduction and invasion of alien plant species from the lowlands to the alpine zone. Observations of plant community composition were made together with abiotic, biotic and anthropogenic factors in 60 T-shaped transects. Alpine plant communities reacted differently to road disturbances than their lowland counterparts. On high elevations, the roadside species composition was more similar to that of the local natural communities. Less competitive and ruderal species were present at high compared with lower elevation roadsides. While the effects of roads thus seem to be mitigated in the alpine environment for plant species in general, mountain plant communities are more invasible than lowland communities. More precisely, relatively more alien species present in the roadside were found to invade into the surrounding natural community at high compared to low elevations. We conclude that effects of roads and introduction of alien species in lowlands cannot simply be extrapolated to the alpine and subarctic environment.

    Keywords: European herpetofauna, IUCN red list, biogeography, conservation, distribution atlas, distribution types, endemism, species richness


  • Strubbe, D., Beauchard, O., Matthysen, E., 2014.

    Niche conservatism among non-native vertebrates in Europe and North America

    Ecography Forthcoming.

    Niche conservatism, the hypothesis that niches remain constant through time and space, is crucial for the study of biologi- cal invasions as it underlies native-range based predictions of invasion risk. Niche changes between native and non-native populations are increasingly reported. However, it has been argued that these changes arise mainly because in their novel range, species occupy only a subset of the environments they inhabit in their native range, and not because they expand into environments entirely novel to them. Here, using occurrences of 29 vertebrate species native to either Europe or North America and introduced into the other continent, we assess the prevalence of niche changes between native and non-native populations and assess whether the changes detected are caused primarily by native niche unfi lling in the non-native range rather than by expansion into novel environments. We show that niche overlap between native and non-native populations is generally low because of a large degree of niche unfi lling in the non-native range. Th is most probably refl ects an ongoing colonization of the novel range, as niche changes were smaller for species that were introduced longer ago and into a larger number of locations. Niche expansion was rare, and for the few species exhibiting larger amounts of niche overlap, an unfi lling of the niche in the native range (e.g. through competition or dispersal limitations) is the most probable explana- tion. Th e fact that for most species, the realized non-native niche is a subset of the realized native niche allows native-range based niche models to generate accurate predictions of invasion risk. Th ese results suggest that niche changes arising during biological invasions are strongly infl uenced by propagule pressure and colonization processes, and we argue that introduc- tion history should be taken into account when evaluating niche conservatism in the context of biological invasions.

    Keywords: European herpetofauna, IUCN red list, biogeography, conservation, distribution atlas, distribution types, endemism, species richness