Uses of GBIF in scientific research

Peer-reviewed research citing GBIF as a data source, with at least one author from Brazil.
For all researches, please visit our "Peer-reviewed publications" page.

List of publications

  • Acosta A, Giannini T, Imperatriz-Fonseca V, Saraiva A (2016)

    Worldwide Alien Invasion: A Methodological Approach to Forecast the Potential Spread of a Highly Invasive Pollinator.

    PloS one 11(2) e0148295.

    The ecological impacts of alien species invasion are a major threat to global biodiversity. The increasing number of invasion events by alien species and the high cost and difficulty of eradicating invasive species once established require the development of new methods and tools for predicting the most susceptible areas to invasion. Invasive pollinators pose serious threats to biodiversity and human activity due to their close relationship with many plants (including crop species) and high potential competitiveness for resources with native pollinators. Although at an early stage of expansion, the bumblebee species Bombus terrestris is becoming a representative case of pollinator invasion at a global scale, particularly given its high velocity of invasive spread and the increasing number of reports of its impacts on native bees and crops in many countries. We present here a methodological framework of habitat suitability modeling that integrates new approaches for detecting habitats that are susceptible to Bombus terrestris invasion at a global scale. Our approach did not include reported invaded locations in the modeling procedure; instead, those locations were used exclusively to evaluate the accuracy of the models in predicting suitability over regions already invaded. Moreover, a new and more intuitive approach was developed to select the models and evaluate different algorithms based on their performance and predictive convergence. Finally, we present a comprehensive global map of susceptibility to Bombus terrestris invasion that highlights priority areas for monitoring.

  • Aguiar L, Bernard E, Ribeiro V, Machado R, Jones G (2016)

    Should I stay or should I go? Climate change effects on the future of Neotropical savannah bats

    Global Ecology and Conservation 5 22-33.

    Most extant species are survivors of the last climate change event 20,000 years ago. While past events took place over thousands of years, current climate change is occurring much faster, over a few decades. We modelled the potential distribution area of bat species in the Brazilian Cerrado, a Neotropical savannah, and assessed the potential impacts of climate change up to 2050 in two scenarios. First we evaluated what the impact on the distributions of bat species would be if they were unable to move to areas where climate conditions might be similar to current ones. The novelty of our paper is that, based on least-cost-path analyses, we identified potential corridors that could be managed now to mitigate potential impacts of climate change. Our results indicate that on average, in the future bat species would find similar climate conditions 281 km southeast from current regions. If bat species were not able to move to new suitable areas and were unable to adapt, then 36 species (31.6%) could lose >80% of their current distribution area, and five species will lose more than 98% of their distribution area in the Brazilian Cerrado. In contrast, if bat species are able to reach such areas, then the number of highly impacted species will be reduced to nine, with none of them likely to disappear from the Cerrado. We present measures that could be implemented immediately to mitigate future climate change impacts.

    Keywords: Brazil, Brazilian Cerrado, Chiroptera, Conservation, Ecological niche models

  • Ballesteros-Mejia L, Kitching I, Jetz W, Beck J (2016)

    Putting insects on the map: Near-global variation in sphingid moth richness along spatial and environmental gradients


    Despite their vast diversity and vital ecological role, insects are notoriously underrepresented in biogeography and conservation, and key broad-scale ecological hypotheses about them remain untested – largely due to generally incomplete and very coarse spatial distribution knowledge. Integrating records from publications, field work and natural history collections, we used a mixture of species distribution models and expert estimates to provide geographic distributions and emergent richness patterns for all ca. 1,000 sphingid moth species found outside the Americas in high spatial detail. Total sphingid moth richness, the first for a higher insect group to be documented at this scale, shows distinct maxima in the wet tropics of Africa and the Oriental with notable decay toward Australasia. Using multivariate models controlling for spatial autocorrelation, we found that primary productivity is the dominant environmental variable associated with moth richness, while temperature, contrary to our predictions, is an unexpectedly weak predictor. This is in stark contrast to the importance we identify for temperature as a niche variable of individual species. Despite divergent life histories, both main sub-groups of moths exhibit these relationships. Tribal-level deconstruction of richness and climatic niche patterns indicate idiosyncratic effects of biogeographic history for some of the less species-rich tribes, which in some cases exhibit distinct richness peaks away from the tropics. The study confirms, for a diverse insect group, overall richness associations of remarkable similarity to those documented for vertebrates and highlights the significant within-taxon structure that underpins emergent macroecological patterns. Results do not, however, meet predictions from vertebrate-derived hypotheses on how thermoregulation affects the strength of temperature-richness effects. Our study thus broadens the taxonomic focus in this data-deficient discourse. Our procedures of processing incomplete, scattered distribution data are a template for application to other taxa and regions.

    Keywords: Distribution modelling, Lepidoptera, Productivity, Spatial scale, Sphingidae, Tropics

  • Batalha-Filho H, Miyaki C (2016)

    Late Pleistocene divergence and postglacial expansion in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest: multilocus phylogeography of Rhopias gularis (Aves: Passeriformes)

    Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research.

    In the last decade, phylogeographic studies have revealed a complex evolutionary history of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest (AF) biota. Here, we investigated the evolutionary history of Rhopias gularis, an endemic bird of the AF, based on sequences of two mitochondrial genes and three nuclear introns from 64 specimens from 15 localities. We addressed three main questions: (1) Does the genetic diversity of R. gularis exhibit a distribution pattern congruent with the refuge hypothesis postulated for the AF? (2) Is the population genetic structure of R. gularis congruent with those observed in other AF species? (3) What were the possible historical events responsible for the population structure of this species? Our mtDNA data revealed two phylogroups: (1) phylogroup central-south, with samples from the central and southern parts of the range; (2) and phylogroup north, which included individuals from southern Bahia. Nevertheless, nuclear loci did not reveal any evidence of population structure. Bottleneck tests indicated that the central-south lineage experienced demographic expansion, starting around 20 kya, which coincides with the end of the last glacial maximum. However, there was no evidence of population growth in phylogroup north. Isolation with migration analysis indicated that these phylogroups split c.a. 304 kya, with limited gene flow among them. Palaeodistribution models indicated that R. gularis had a reduced distribution in the south and central AF during the last glacial maximum. Our results support a diversification scenario that is in accordance with proposed Pleistocene refugia. The phylogeographic results from our study exhibited spatial and temporal concordances and discordances with previous studies of organisms from the AF. Differences in habitat requirements of these species could be behind this complex scenario. Future studies correlating variables of the niche of these species with the observed phylogeographic patterns may help understand why there are congruent and incongruent results.

    Keywords: Last glacial maximum, Thamnophilidae, coalescence, refuge hypothesis

  • Bubadué J, Cáceres N, Carvalho R, Sponchiado J, Passaro F, Saggese F et al. (2016)

    Character displacement under influence of Bergmann’s rule in Cerdocyon thous (Mammalia: Canidae)

    Hystrix, the Italian Journal of Mammalogy 27(2).

    In South America, the crab-eating fox Cerdocyon thous occurs in sympatry to the ecologically similar, and phylogenetically close Lycalopex vetulus to the North, and Lycalopex gymnocercus to the South of its range. We studied character displacement in Cerdocyon under the effect of Bergmann's rule and the presence (or absence either) of Lycalopex within the crab-eating fox range. We performed skull shape analysis on 191 C. thous specimens and divided them in three distinct groups, depending on whether Cerdocyon occurs in sympatry or in allopatry to Lycalopex species. We tested for differences in size and shape between Cerdocyon groups and regressed both skull size and sexual size dimorphism against latitude and temperature, while controlling for spatial autocorrelation in the phenotypes. Southern Cerdocyon specimens present enlarged temporalis muscle and slender carnassial, both suggestive of a shift towards increased carnivory. Such a niche shift is interpreted as a mean to reduce competition to the larger Lycalopex species, which is still smaller than Cerdocyon . Consistently with the above, the degree of sexual shape and size dimorphism in Cerdocyon increases southward. We found a complex but coherent pattern of size and shape differentiation in Cerdocyon groups, which is consistent with the effects of both competition and Bergmann's rule. Cerdocyon reduces competition to Lycalopex by growing larger in the North. To the South, Cerdocyon is still larger, in keeping with Bergmann's rule, but strongly differs in skull shape from both its Lycalopex competitor and from any other Cerdocyon . Since the Southern Lycalopex species is much more similar in size to Cerdocyon than its Northern congeneric, this suggests that shape differences serve the goal of reducing competition between Cerdocyon and Lycalopex to the South, as size differences do to the North. The absence of the hypercarnivorous canid Speothos venaticus from the southern range of Cerdocyon may have allowed such a pattern to take place.

    Keywords: Bergmann’s rule, Canidae, South America, character displacement, crab-eating fox, geometric morphometrics, sexual size dimorphism, shape disparity

  • Cardoso A, Carvalho H, Benathar T, Serrão S, Nagamachi C, Pieczarka J et al. (2016)

    Integrated Cytogenetic and Mitochondrial DNA Analyses Indicate That Two Different Phenotypes of Hypancistrus (L066 and L333) Belong to the Same Species.


    The diversity of Hypancistrus species in the Xingu River is remarkable and the variation in color morphs represents a real challenge to taxonomists to delimit species boundaries. One of the most recognizable Hypancistrus complexes is the worm-lined species, known in the aquarium trade as King Tiger Plec in English, Hypancistrus "pão" in Portuguese or under the L-numbers L066 and L333 that represent two melanic pigment pattern phenotypes. To assess the identity of these two phenotypes, we described their karyotypes and sequenced part of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene (DNA barcode). These fishes have 52 chromosomes (40 meta-submetacentric and 12 subtelo-acrocentric) and a strong heteromorphism in chromosome pair 21 was observed, which does not correlate with the two phenotypes or sex. DNA barcodes separated the samples analyzed from Hypancistrus zebra and other publicly available sequences of Loricariidae showing no divergence between the two phenotypes. The data set indicates that worm-lined Hypancistrus from the Xingu form a single species with clear chromosomal and melanic pigment pattern polymorphisms.

    Keywords: Bergmann’s rule, Canidae, South America, character displacement, crab-eating fox, geometric morphometrics, sexual size dimorphism, shape disparity

  • Carneiro L, Lima A, Machado R, Magnusson W (2016)

    Limitations to the Use of Species-Distribution Models for Environmental-Impact Assessments in the Amazon.

    PloS one 11(1) e0146543.

    Species-distribution models (SDM) are tools with potential to inform environmental-impact studies (EIA). However, they are not always appropriate and may result in improper and expensive mitigation and compensation if their limitations are not understood by decision makers. Here, we examine the use of SDM for frogs that were used in impact assessment using data obtained from the EIA of a hydroelectric project located in the Amazon Basin in Brazil. The results show that lack of knowledge of species distributions limits the appropriate use of SDM in the Amazon region for most target species. Because most of these targets are newly described and their distributions poorly known, data about their distributions are insufficient to be effectively used in SDM. Surveys that are mandatory for the EIA are often conducted only near the area under assessment, and so models must extrapolate well beyond the sampled area to inform decisions made at much larger spatial scales, such as defining areas to be used to offset the negative effects of the projects. Using distributions of better-known species in simulations, we show that geographical-extrapolations based on limited information of species ranges often lead to spurious results. We conclude that the use of SDM as evidence to support project-licensing decisions in the Amazon requires much greater area sampling for impact studies, or, alternatively, integrated and comparative survey strategies, to improve biodiversity sampling. When more detailed distribution information is unavailable, SDM will produce results that generate uncertain and untestable decisions regarding impact assessment. In many cases, SDM is unlikely to be better than the use of expert opinion.

    Keywords: Bergmann’s rule, Canidae, South America, character displacement, crab-eating fox, geometric morphometrics, sexual size dimorphism, shape disparity

  • Congrains C, Carvalho A, Miranda E, Cumming G, Henry D, Manu S et al. (2016)

    Genetic and paleomodelling evidence of the population expansion of the cattle egret Bubulcus ibis in Africa during the climatic oscillations of the Late Pleistocene

    Journal of Avian Biology.

    Increasing aridity during glacial periods produced the retraction of forests and the expansion of arid and semi-arid environments in Africa, with consequences for birds. Cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) is a dispersive species that prefers semiarid environments and requires proximity to bodies of water. We expected that climatic oscillations led to the expansion of the range of the cattle egret during arid periods, such as the Last Maximum Glacial (LGM) and contraction of distribution during the Last Interglacial (LIG) period, resulting in contact of populations previously isolated. We investigated this hypothesis by evaluating the genetic structure and population history of 15 cattle egret breeding colonies located in West and South Africa using the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region, mtDNA ATPase 8 and 6, and an intron of nuclear gene transforming growth factor beta-2. Occurrence data and bioclimatic information were used to generate ecological niche models of three periods (present, LGM and LIG). We used the genetic and paleomodelling data to assess the responses of the cattle egret from Africa to the climatic oscillations during the late Pleistocene. Genetic data revealed low levels of genetic differentiation, signs of isolation-by-distance, as well as recent increases in effective population size that started during the LGM. The observed low genetic structure may be explained by recent colonization events due to the demographic expansion following the last glacial period and by dispersal capacity of this species. The paleomodels corroborated the expansion during the LGM, and a more restricted potential distribution during the LIG. Our findinds supports the hypothesis that the species range of the cattle egret expanded during arid periods and contracted during wet periods.

    Keywords: Bergmann’s rule, Canidae, South America, character displacement, crab-eating fox, geometric morphometrics, sexual size dimorphism, shape disparity

  • Cáceres N, de Moraes Weber M, Melo G, Meloro C, Sponchiado J, Carvalho R et al. (2016)

    Which Factors Determine Spatial Segregation in the South American Opossums (Didelphis aurita and D. albiventris)? An Ecological Niche Modelling and Geometric Morphometrics Approach

    PLOS ONE 11(6) e0157723.

    Didelphis albiventris and D. aurita are Neotropical marsupials that share a unique evolutionary history and both are largely distributed throughout South America, being primarily allopatric throughout their ranges. In the Araucaria moist forest of Southern Brazil these species are sympatric and they might potentially compete having similar ecology. For this reason, they are ideal biological models to address questions about ecological character displacement and how closely related species might share their geographic space. Little is known about how two morphologically similar species of marsupials may affect each other through competition, if by competitive exclusion and competitive release. We combined ecological niche modeling and geometric morphometrics to explore the possible effects of competition on their distributional ranges and skull morphology. Ecological niche modeling was used to predict their potential distribution and this method enabled us to identify a case of biotic exclusion where the habit generalist D. albiventris is excluded by the presence of the specialist D. aurita. The morphometric analyses show that a degree of shape discrimination occurs between the species, strengthened by allometric differences, which possibly allowed them to occupy marginally different feeding niches supplemented by behavioral shift in contact areas. Overlap in skull morphology is shown between sympatric and allopatric specimens and a significant, but weak, shift in shape occurs only in D. aurita in sympatric areas. This could be a residual evidence of a higher past competition between both species, when contact zones were possibly larger than today. Therefore, the specialist D. aurita acts a biotic barrier to D. albiventris when niche diversity is not available for coexistence. On the other hand, when there is niche diversification (e.g. habitat mosaic), both species are capable to coexist with a minimal competitive effect on the morphology of D. aurita.

    Keywords: Bergmann’s rule, Canidae, South America, character displacement, crab-eating fox, geometric morphometrics, sexual size dimorphism, shape disparity

  • Feng X, Anacleto T, Papeş M (2016)

    Climatic Similarity of Extant and Extinct Dasypus Armadillos

    Journal of Mammalian Evolution 1-14.

    The similar geographic distributions of an extinct (Dasypus bellus) and an extant (D. novemcinctus) armadillo species have long been of interest to scholars because of the unresolved phylogeny. The relationship between the two species has been investigated through morphological and phylogenetic studies, whereas the ecological perspective has been overlooked, the importance of which is more and more acknowledged in speciation events. Here, we used ecological niche models to study the climatic niche similarity of three species of Dasypus (D. bellus, D. novemcinctus, and D. kappleri) and provide new insights on the relationship among them. The climatic niche similarity was compared in two ways: hindcast of ecological niche models based on occurrences and climatic layers, and direct niche boundary comparison along bioclimatic axes. The fossil records of D. bellus were not predicted suitable by the ecological niche models of the two extant armadillos. The direct comparison of niche boundary showed that D. bellus lived in colder and relative dryer climates, with high temperature variation and low precipitation variation. Our results did not support the previously assumed ecological similarity of D. bellus and D. novemcinctus based on their geographic distributions and emphasized the possibility of a cold adapted characteristic of the life history of D. bellus.

    Keywords: Armadillo, Biogeography, Dasypus bellus, Dasypus kappleri, Dasypus novemcinctus, Ecological niche model, Fossil record, Last glacial maximum, Niche conservatism