Uses of GBIF in scientific research

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

List of publications

  • Bocksberger G, Schnitzler J, Chatelain C, Daget P, Janssen T, Schmidt M et al. (2016)

    Climate and the distribution of grasses in West Africa

    Journal of Vegetation Science.

    Questions Which environmental variables influence grass diversity in West Africa? What are the effects of climate and grass functional traits on the spatial patterns (richness and abundance) of the grass clades Andropogoneae, Paniceae and Chloridoideae? Location West Africa, demarcated by the Atlantic Ocean in the west and south (20° W and 4° N), the Sahara desert in the north (25° N) and the border between Niger and Chad in the east (20° E). Methods Based on 38 912 georeferenced occurrence records, we modelled the distribution of 302 grass species (51% of West African grass diversity). We integrated species richness, abundance and functional traits (life cycle, photosynthetic type and height) to determine the contribution of the most speciose grass clades (Andropogoneae, Paniceae and Chloridoideae) to overall grass diversity in West Africa. Results Precipitation is the variable most often influencing the species distribution models of grasses in West Africa. Richness and relative abundance of the tribe Andropogoneae show a centre of diversity in Sudanian savanna regions. The height of Andropogoneae species, generally >150 cm, is driving this ecological dominance. Species richness of the tribe Paniceae is more dispersed and shows two main centres of abundance: The southern regions with higher mean annual precipitation and tree density are dominated by C3 Paniceae species. The Sahelian regions in the north are dominated by short Paniceae species with the C4 NAD-ME photosynthetic subtype, as well as Chloridoideae possessing the same functional attributes. Conclusions Our study provides insight into the environmental correlates of grass species richness in West Africa and contributes to the much-needed research on tropical rangelands. Moreover, the integration of evolutionary history significantly improves our understanding of large-scale biodiversity patterns.

    Keywords: Andropogoneae, Chloridoideae, Maxent, Paniceae, Poaceae, Savanna, Species distribution modelling, West Africa, species richness

  • Onstein R, Peter Linder H (2016)

    Beyond climate: convergence in fast evolving sclerophylls in Cape and Australian Rhamnaceae predates the mediterranean climate

    Journal of Ecology.

    Morphological convergence in mediterranean-type ecosystems (MTEs) has long been interpreted as adaptation to climatic similarities among the five MTEs of the world. Here, we challenge this model using the globally distributed Rhamnaceae. We collected functional trait data (specific leaf area, leaf area, spinescence, leaf phenology, growth form and leaf margin type) and biome data to test for trait convergence in MTEs, for models of trait evolution and ancestral state reconstruction and for the effect of traits on speciation and extinction rates, using a phylogenetic framework. We show that leaf functional traits evolve to three optima, which correspond to (a) the edaphically specialized Australian and Cape MTEs (AC), (b) the mediterranean-type climates, but edaphically normal Chile, California and Mediterranean Basin (CCM), and (c) the non-mediterranean habitats. We find that Rhamnaceae in CCM are predominantly characterized by non-sclerophylly, the ancestral state in Rhamnaceae, and Rhamnaceae in AC by sclerophylly. These leaf character syndromes have evolved prior to mediterranean climates in MTEs, thereby failing to be adaptive to this selective regime. However, sclerophylly evolved contemporaneously with the transitions to AC, and may therefore be an adaptation to nutrient-poor soils. The evolution of sclerophylly has contributed to increased diversification rates of Pomaderreae in Australia and Phyliceae in the Cape, by reducing extinction rates and thereby facilitating evolutionary persistence. The historical relatively stable conditions in AC are consistent with this persistence hypothesis. Synthesis. In this study we integrate the fields of macroevolution and ecology and show that low extinction rates may not only account for the ecological, but also for the floristic dominance of sclerophylly in the hyperdiverse Australian and Cape mediterranean-type ecosystems.

    Keywords: Cape flora, character syndrome, diversification rate, extinction rate, fynbos, kwongan, plant-climate interactions, sclerophylly, specific leaf area

  • Antonelli A, Zizka A, Silvestro D, Scharn R, Cascales-Miñana B, Bacon C (2015)

    An engine for global plant diversity: highest evolutionary turnover and emigration in the American tropics.

    Frontiers in genetics 6 130.

    Understanding the processes that have generated the latitudinal biodiversity gradient and the continental differences in tropical biodiversity remains a major goal of evolutionary biology. Here we estimate the timing and direction of range shifts of extant flowering plants (angiosperms) between tropical and non-tropical zones, and into and out of the major tropical regions of the world. We then calculate rates of speciation and extinction taking into account incomplete taxonomic sampling. We use a recently published fossil calibrated phylogeny and apply novel bioinformatic tools to code species into user-defined polygons. We reconstruct biogeographic history using stochastic character mapping to compute relative numbers of range shifts in proportion to the number of available lineages through time. Our results, based on the analysis of c. 22,600 species and c. 20 million geo-referenced occurrence records, show no significant differences between the speciation and extinction of tropical and non-tropical angiosperms. This suggests that at least in plants, the latitudinal biodiversity gradient primarily derives from other factors than differential rates of diversification. In contrast, the outstanding species richness found today in the American tropics (the Neotropics), as compared to tropical Africa and tropical Asia, is associated with significantly higher speciation and extinction rates. This suggests an exceedingly rapid evolutionary turnover, i.e., Neotropical species being formed and replaced by one another at unparalleled rates. In addition, tropical America stands out from other continents by having "pumped out" more species than it received through most of the last 66 million years. These results imply that the Neotropics have acted as an engine for global plant diversity.

    Keywords: Angiosperms, Latitudinal diversity gradient, biogeography, diversification rates, evolution, phylogenetics, tropical biodiversity

  • Bone R, Smith J, Arrigo N, Buerki S (2015)

    A macro-ecological perspective on crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) photosynthesis evolution in Afro-Madagascan drylands: Eulophiinae orchids as a case study.

    The New phytologist.

    Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) photosynthesis is an adaptation to water and atmospheric CO2 deficits that has been linked to diversification in dry-adapted plants. We investigated whether CAM evolution can be associated with the availability of new or alternative niches, using Eulophiinae orchids as a case study. Carbon isotope ratios, geographical and climate data, fossil records and DNA sequences were used to: assess the prevalence of CAM in Eulophiinae orchids; characterize the ecological niche of extant taxa; infer divergence times; and estimate whether CAM is associated with niche shifts. CAM evolved in four terrestrial lineages during the late Miocene/Pliocene, which have uneven diversification patterns. These lineages originated in humid habitats and colonized dry/seasonally dry environments in Africa and Madagascar. Additional key features (variegation, heterophylly) evolved in the most species-rich CAM lineages. Dry habitats were also colonized by a lineage that includes putative mycoheterotrophic taxa. These findings indicate that the switch to CAM is associated with environmental change. With its suite of adaptive traits, this group of orchids represents a unique opportunity to study the adaptations to dry environments, especially in the face of projected global aridification.

    Keywords: Africa, Eulophiinae, Madagascar, Orchidaceae, climate change, crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) photosynthesis, shift of niche

  • Dikow T, Agosti D (2015)

    Utilizing online resources for taxonomy: a cybercatalog of Afrotropical apiocerid flies (Insecta: Diptera: Apioceridae).

    Biodiversity data journal 3(3) e5707.

    A cybercatalog to the Apioceridae (apiocerid flies) of the Afrotropical Region is provided. Each taxon entry includes links to open-access, online repositories such as ZooBank, BHL/BioStor/BLR, Plazi, GBIF, Morphbank, EoL, and a research web-site to access taxonomic information, digitized literature, morphological descriptions, specimen occurrence data, and images. Cybercatalogs as the one presented here will need to become the future of taxonomic catalogs taking advantage of the growing number of online repositories, linked data, and be easily updatable. Comments on the deposition of the holotype of Apiocera braunsi Melander, 1907 are made.

    Keywords: cybertaxonomy, online repositories, open-access

  • Fernández M, Navarro L, Apaza-Quevedo A, Gallegos S, Marques A, Zambrana-Torrelio C et al. (2015)

    Challenges and opportunities for the Bolivian Biodiversity Observation Network

    Biodiversity 1-13.

    Pragmatic methods to assess the status of biodiversity at multiple scales are required to support conservation decision-making. At the intersection of several major biogeographic zones, Bolivia has extraordinary potential to develop a monitoring strategy aligned with the objectives of the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON). Bolivia, a GEO Observer since 2005, is already working on the adequacy of national earth observations towards the objectives of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). However, biodiversity is still an underrepresented component in this initiative. The integration of biodiversity into Bolivia’s GEO framework would confirm the need for a country level biodiversity monitoring strategy, fundamental to assess the progress towards the 2020 Aichi targets. Here we analyse and discuss two aspects of the process of developing such a strategy: (1) identification of taxonomic, temporal and spatial coverage of biodiversity data to detect both ava...

    Keywords: Bolivia, GEO BON, baseline, big data integration, biodiversity, monitoring

  • Gallien L, Saladin B, Boucher F, Richardson D, Zimmermann N (2015)

    Does the legacy of historical biogeography shape current invasiveness in pines?

    The New phytologist.

    Why are some introduced species more successful at establishing and spreading than others? Until now, characteristics of extant species have been intensively investigated to answer this question. We propose to gain new insights on species invasiveness by exploring the long-term biogeographic and evolutionary history of lineages. We exemplify our approach using one of the best-studied invasive plant genera, Pinus. We notably estimated the historical biogeography of pines and the rates of trait evolution in pines. These estimates were analysed with regard to species invasiveness status. The results revealed that currently invasive species belong to lineages that were particularly successful at colonizing new regions in the past. We also showed that highly mobile lineages had faster rates of niche evolution, but that these rates are poor proxies for species adaptive potential in invaded regions (estimated by niche shift among native and invaded regions). In summary, working at the interface of ecology, historical biogeography and evolutionary history offers stimulating perspectives to improve our understanding of the drivers of invasion success.

    Keywords: Pinus, biological invasions, evolutionary history, invasiveness, migration, model averaging, niche shift, tree invasions

  • Kleckova I, Cesanek M, Fric Z, Pellissier L (2015)

    Diversification of the cold-adapted butterfly genus Oeneis related to Holarctic biogeography and climatic niche shifts.

    Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 92 255-265.

    Both geographical and ecological speciation interact during the evolution of a clade, but the relative contribution of these processes is rarely assessed for cold-dwelling biota. Here, we investigate the role of biogeography and the evolution of ecological traits on the diversification of the Holarctic arcto-alpine butterfly genus Oeneis (Lepidoptera: Satyrinae). We reconstructed the molecular phylogeny of the genus based on one mitochondrial (COI) and three nuclear (GAPDH, RpS5, wingless) genes. We inferred the biogeographical scenario and the ancestral state reconstructions of climatic and habitat requirements. Within the genus, we detected five main species groups corresponding to the taxonomic division and further paraphyletic position of Neominois (syn. n.). Next, we transferred O. aktashi from the hora to the polixenes species group on the bases of molecular relationships. We found that the genus originated in the dry grasslands of the mountains of Central Asia and dispersed over the Beringian Land Bridges to North America several times independently. Holarctic mountains, in particular the Asian Altai Mts. and Sayan Mts., host the oldest lineages and most of the species diversity. Arctic species are more recent, with Pliocene or Pleistocene origin. We detected a strong phylogenetic signal for the climatic niche, where one lineage diversified towards colder conditions. Altogether, our results indicate that both dispersal across geographical areas and occupation of distinct climatic niches promoted the diversification of the Oeneis genus.

    Keywords: Lepidoptera, Molecular systematics, Niche evolution, Quaternary, Satyrinae, Temperate

  • Mcconnachie A (2015)

    The invasive weed ox-eye daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare Lam. (Asteraceae): Prospects for its management in New South Wales

    Plant Protection Quarterly 30(3) 103-109.

    Ox-eye daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare Lam. (Asteraceae) is a rhizomatous perennial herb, native to Europe that has become an invader in over 40 countries (including Australia and New Zealand). Seed longevity is high and up to 80% of propagules are viable for six years. The weed is not palatable to cattle and affects pastoral lands by reducing carrying capacity. Dense infestations exclude other plant species, leading to soil erosion and depletion of soil organic matter. Ox-eye daisy is found in Victoria (where it is a declared noxious weed) and New South Wales (where one of the more alarming infestations is in Kosciuszko national Park). The species appears to thrive in disturbed areas, however, of greatest concern is its ability to aggressively invade areas of conservation importance. While mechanical and chemical control can be successfully implemented to manage localised infestations of ox-eye daisy, there is an urgent need for the sustainable management of this invasive plant at the landscape level, especially in conservation areas. In 2008, a programme was initiated to investigate the prospects for the biological control of ox-eye daisy in North America. Over the last seven years CABI Switzerland have identified and studied several promising biological control agents including a root-feeding moth, Dichrorampha aeratana Pierce & Metcalfe (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), a root-feeding weevil Cyphocleonus trisulcatus Herbst (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) and a flower head-mining fly, Tephritis neesii Meigen (Tephritidae). Of these, D. aeratana seems to hold the most promise in terms of specificity and is being developed further as the first biological control agent for North America. In early 2015, a programme to investigate prospects for the classical biological control of ox-eye daisy was initiated for New South Wales. The programme will include: 1) selecting and determining the biology, host range and impact of the most suitable agent for the state; and 2) assessing through modelling, the ecoclimatic tolerances of the agent and the weed (CLIMEX and Degree-day) as well as the environmental impact of this and other management approaches (Life Cycle Assessment) The invasive weed ox-eye daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare Lam. (Asteraceae): Prospects for its management in New South Wales - ResearchGate. Available from: [accessed Nov 9, 2015].

    Keywords: Cyphocleonus trisulcatus, Dichrorampha aeratana, Tephritis neesii, biological weed control

  • Moreno-Amat E, Mateo R, Nieto-Lugilde D, Morueta-Holme N, Svenning J, García-Amorena I (2015)

    Impact of model complexity on cross-temporal transferability in Maxent species distribution models: An assessment using paleobotanical data

    Ecological Modelling 312 308-317.

    Maximum entropy modeling (Maxent) is a widely used algorithm for predicting species distributions across space and time. Properly assessing the uncertainty in such predictions is non-trivial and requires validation with independent datasets. Notably, model complexity (number of model parameters) remains a major concern in relation to overfitting and, hence, transferability of Maxent models. An emerging approach is to validate the cross-temporal transferability of model predictions using paleoecological data. In this study, we assess the effect of model complexity on the performance of Maxent projections across time using two European plant species (Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn. and Corylus avellana L.) with an extensive late Quaternary fossil record in Spain as a study case. We fit 110 models with different levels of complexity under present time and tested model performance using AUC (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve) and AICc (corrected Akaike Information Criterion) through the standard procedure of randomly partitioning current occurrence data. We then compared these results to an independent validation by projecting the models to mid-Holocene (6000 years before present) climatic conditions in Spain to assess their ability to predict fossil pollen presence–absence and abundance. We find that calibrating Maxent models with default settings result in the generation of overly complex models. While model performance increased with model complexity when predicting current distributions, it was higher with intermediate complexity when predicting mid-Holocene distributions. Hence, models of intermediate complexity resulted in the best trade-off to predict species distributions across time. Reliable temporal model transferability is especially relevant for forecasting species distributions under future climate change. Consequently, species-specific model tuning should be used to find the best modeling settings to control for complexity, notably with paleoecological data to independently validate model projections. For cross-temporal projections of species distributions for which paleoecological data is not available, models of intermediate complexity should be selected.

    Keywords: Alnus glutinosa, Corylus avellana, Model validation, Pollen fossil, Species distribution model, β-Multiplier