Uses of GBIF in scientific research

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

List of publications

  • Araújo R, Assis J, Aguillar R, Airoldi L, Bárbara I, Bartsch I et al. (2016)

    Status, trends and drivers of kelp forests in Europe: an expert assessment

    Biodiversity and Conservation 25(7) 1319-1348.

    A comprehensive expert consultation was conducted in order to assess the status, trends and the most important drivers of change in the abundance and geographical distribution of kelp forests in European waters. This consultation included an on-line questionnaire, results from a workshop and data provided by a selected group of experts working on kelp forest mapping and eco-evolutionary research. Differences in status and trends according to geographical areas, species identity and small-scale variations within the same habitat where shown by assembling and mapping kelp distribution and trend data. Significant data gaps for some geographical regions, like the Mediterranean and the southern Iberian Peninsula, were also identified. The data used for this study confirmed a general trend with decreasing abundance of some native kelp species at their southern distributional range limits and increasing abundance in other parts of their distribution (Saccharina latissima and Saccorhiza polyschides). The expansion of the introduced species Undaria pinnatifida was also registered. Drivers of observed changes in kelp forests distribution and abundance were assessed using experts’ opinions. Multiple possible drivers were identified, including global warming, sea urchin grazing, harvesting, pollution and fishing pressure, and their impact varied between geographical areas. Overall, the results highlight major threats for these ecosystems but also opportunities for conservation. Major requirements to ensure adequate protection of coastal kelp ecosystems along European coastlines are discussed, based on the local to regional gaps detected in the study.

    Keyword: Kelp forests Expert consultation Status and tempor

  • Becker D, Willmes C, Bareth G, Weniger G (2016)


    ISPRS Annals of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences III-7 251-256.

    This contribution describes the development of a plugin for the geographic information system QGIS to interface the openModeller software package. The aim is to use openModeller to generate species’ potential distribution models for various archaeological applications (site catchment analysis, for example). Since the usage of openModeller’s command-line interface and configuration files can be a bit inconvenient, an extension of the QGIS user interface to handle these tasks, in combination with the management of the geographic data, was required. The implementation was realized in Python using PyQGIS and PyQT. The plugin, in combination with QGIS, handles the tasks of managing geographical data, data conversion, generation of configuration files required by openModeller and compilation of a project folder. The plugin proved to be very helpful with the task of compiling project datasets and configuration files for multiple instances of species occurrence datasets and the overall handling of openModeller. In addition, the plugin is easily extensible to take potential new requirements into account in the future.

    Keywords: ENM, Ecological Niche Modelling, Plugin, Python, QGIS, SPDM, Species Potential Distribution Modelling, openModeller

  • Bellard C, Genovesi P, Jeschke J (2016)

    Global patterns in threats to vertebrates by biological invasions

    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 283(1823) 20152454.

    Biological invasions as drivers of biodiversity loss have recently been challenged. Fundamentally, we must know where species that are threatened by invasive alien species (IAS) live, and the degree to which they are threatened. We report the first study linking 1372 vertebrates threatened by more than 200 IAS from the completely revised Global Invasive Species Database. New maps of the vulnerability of threatened vertebrates to IAS permit assessments of whether IAS have a major influence on biodiversity, and if so, which taxonomic groups are threatened and where they are threatened. We found that centres of IAS-threatened vertebrates are concentrated in the Americas, India, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. The areas in which IAS-threatened species are located do not fully match the current hotspots of invasions, or the current hotspots of threatened species. The relative importance of biological invasions as drivers of biodiversity loss clearly varies across regions and taxa, and changes over time, with mammals from India, Indonesia, Australia and Europe are increasingly being threatened by IAS. The chytrid fungus primarily threatens amphibians, whereas invasive mammals primarily threaten other vertebrates. The differences in IAS threats between regions and taxa can help efficiently target IAS, which is essential for achieving the Strategic Plan 2020 of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

    Keywords: ENM, Ecological Niche Modelling, Plugin, Python, QGIS, SPDM, Species Potential Distribution Modelling, openModeller

  • Bellot S, Cusimano N, Luo S, Sun G, Zarre S, Gröger A et al. (2016)

    Assembled Plastid and Mitochondrial Genomes, as well as Nuclear Genes, Place the Parasite Family Cynomoriaceae in the Saxifragales

    Genome Biology and Evolution 8(7) 2214-2230.

    Cynomoriaceae, one of the last unplaced families of flowering plants, comprises one or two species or subspecies of root parasites that occur from the Mediterranean to the Gobi Desert. Using Illumina sequencing, we assembled the mitochondrial and plastid genomes as well as some nuclear genes of a Cynomorium specimen from Italy. Selected genes were also obtained by Sanger sequencing from individuals collected in China and Iran, resulting in matrices of 33 mitochondrial, 6 nuclear, and 14 plastid genes and rDNAs enlarged to include a representative angiosperm taxon sampling based on data available in GenBank. We also compiled a new geographic map to discern possible discontinuities in the parasites’ occurrence. Cynomorium has large genomes of 13.70-13.61 (Italy) to 13.95-13.76 pg (China). Its mitochondrial genome consists of up to 49 circular subgenomes and has an overall gene content similar to that of photosynthetic angiosperms, while its plastome retains only 27 of the normally 116 genes. Nuclear plastid and mitochondrial phylogenies place Cynomoriaceae in Saxifragales, and we found evidence for several horizontal gene transfers from different hosts, as well as intracellular gene transfers.

    Keywords: Chondriome, Cynomorium, Mediterranean-Irano-Turanian, horizontal gene transfer, parasitic plants, plastome

  • Biber-Freudenberger L, Ziemacki J, Tonnang H, Borgemeister C (2016)

    Future Risks of Pest Species under Changing Climatic Conditions.

    PloS one 11(4) e0153237.

    Most agricultural pests are poikilothermic species expected to respond to climate change. Currently, they are a tremendous burden because of the high losses they inflict on crops and livestock. Smallholder farmers in developing countries of Africa are likely to suffer more under these changes than farmers in the developed world because more severe climatic changes are projected in these areas. African countries further have a lower ability to cope with impacts of climate change through the lack of suitable adapted management strategies and financial constraints. In this study we are predicting current and future habitat suitability under changing climatic conditions for Tuta absoluta, Ceratitis cosyra, and Bactrocera invadens, three important insect pests that are common across some parts of Africa and responsible for immense agricultural losses. We use presence records from different sources and bioclimatic variables to predict their habitat suitability using the maximum entropy modelling approach. We find that habitat suitability for B. invadens, C. cosyra and T. absoluta is partially increasing across the continent, especially in those areas already overlapping with or close to most suitable sites under current climate conditions. Assuming a habitat suitability at three different threshold levels we assessed where each species is likely to be present under future climatic conditions and if this is likely to have an impact on productive agricultural areas. Our results can be used by African policy makers, extensionists and farmers for agricultural adaptation measures to cope with the impacts of climate change.

    Keywords: Chondriome, Cynomorium, Mediterranean-Irano-Turanian, horizontal gene transfer, parasitic plants, plastome

  • 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

  • Brewer M, O'Hara R, Anderson B, Ohlemüller R (2016)

    Plateau: a new method for ecologically plausible climate envelopes for species distribution modelling

    Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

    cologists often wish to describe mathematical relationships between response variables and climate covariates in spatial models of species distribution; these relationships are commonly termed climate envelopes. There are many situations when the functional form of the envelopes should be either unimodal or monotonic, but current practice tends towards the use of either low-degree single-variable spline curves fitted as part of a Generalised Additive Model (GAM) or piecewise linear forms in software such as maxent. We argue that such curves are often inappropriate, as they: (i) can easily produce relationships which are ecologically implausible and (ii) frequently ignore interactions between multiple climate variables in a general regression context. We propose an novel alternative parametric form for climate envelopes that appeals to ecological plausibility and can encompass realistic features of species' presence/climate relationships on several variables simultaneously. The proposed plateau climate envelope function is applied via a spatial Bayesian species distribution model to data on two European tree species to demonstrate the approach. For Fagus sylvatica, a complete climate envelope is estimable, but for Quercus coccifera, only a partial climate envelope can be estimated as the geographical extent of the data set does not cover the full environmental niche for the species. We show that such an approach is practical, produces climate envelopes with an ecologically meaningful form and furthermore allows the inclusion of information external to the data set being analysed. We discuss the use of this new plateau climate envelope function in the context of ecological niche modelling and argue that in some instances ecological realism should be regarded as more important than the use of formal model comparison statistics

    Keywords: Bayesian spatialmodels, nichemodelling, species–climate interactions

  • Drees C, Husemann M, Homburg K, Brandt P, Dieker P, Habel J et al. (2016)

    Molecular analyses and species distribution models indicate cryptic northern mountain refugia for a forest-dwelling ground beetle

    Journal of Biogeography.

    Aim Identification of potential glacial refugia and post-glacial colonization processes of a flightless, cold-adapted ground beetle Location Central and eastern Europe. Methods We analysed the genetic structure of 33 Carabus sylvestris populations sampled across its entire distribution range using nuclear and mitochondrial markers. We further compiled occurrence records to develop species distribution models to predict distribution ranges for the last glacial period and the present based on the species’ current climatic niche. Results Distinct genetic lineages were detected for a number of mountain ranges and were congruent for both molecular marker systems. Most genetic splits were the results of vicariance, whereas dispersal was rare. Our models suggest that the species’ distribution range was larger and more interconnected in the past. Main conclusions Our data support multiple glacial refugia for C. sylvestris, some of which were located north of the Alps. Some lower mountain ranges were likely recolonized post-glacially.

    Keywords: 2014-SGR-1491, DEB-1353301, EF-1065753, EF-1065826, EF-1065864, National Science Foundation grants . Grant Numbers

  • Duan R, Kong X, Huang M, Varela S, Ji X (2016)

    The potential effects of climate change on amphibian distribution, range fragmentation and turnover in China

    Many studies predict that climate change will cause species movement and turnover, but few studies have considered the effect of climate change on range fragmentation for current species and/or populations. We used MaxEnt to predict suitable habitat, fragmentation and turnover for 134 amphibian species in China under 40 future climate change scenarios spanning four pathways (RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6 and RCP8.5) and two time periods (the 2050s and 2070s). Our results show that climate change will cause a major shift in the spatial patterns of amphibian diversity. Suitable habitats for over 90% of species will be located in the north of the current range, for over 95% of species in higher altitudes, and for over 75% of species in the west of the current range. The distributions of species predicted to move westwards, southwards and to higher altitudes will contract, while the ranges of the species not showing these trends will expand. Amphibians will lose 20% of their original ranges on average; the distribution outside current ranges will increase by 15%. Climate change will likely modify the spatial configuration of climatically suitable areas. Changes in area and fragmentation of climatically suitable patches are related, which means that species may be simultaneously affected by different stressors as a consequence of climate change.

    Keywords: Amphibians, Climate impacts, Dispersal, Distribution, Fragmentation, MaxEnt, Range shifts, Turnover

  • Dufresnes C, Litvinchuk S, Leuenberger J, Ghali K, Zinenko O, Stöck M et al. (2016)

    Evolutionary melting pots: a biodiversity hotspot shaped by ring diversifications around the Black Sea in the Eastern tree frog ( Hyla orientalis )

    Molecular Ecology.

    Hotspots of intraspecific genetic diversity, which are of primary importance for the conservation of species, have been associated to glacial refugia, i.e. areas where species survived the Quaternary climatic oscillations. However, the proximate mechanisms generating these hotspots remain an open issue. Hotspots may reflect the long-term persistence of large refugial populations; alternatively, they may result from allopatric differentiation between small and isolated populations, that later admixed. Here we test these two scenarios in a widely distributed species of tree frog, Hyla orientalis, which inhabits Asia Minor and Southeastern Europe. We apply a fine-scale phylogeographic survey, combining fast-evolving mitochondrial and nuclear markers, with a dense sampling throughout the range, as well as ecological niche modeling, to understand what shaped the genetic variation of this species. We documented an important diversity center around the Black Sea, composed of multiple allopatric and/or parapatric diversifications, likely driven by a combination of Pleistocene climatic fluctuations and complex regional topography. Remarkably, this diversification forms a ring around the Black Sea, from the Caucasus through Anatolia and Eastern Europe, with terminal forms coming into contact and partially admixing in Crimea. Our results support the view that glacial refugia generate rather than host genetic diversity, and can also function as evolutionary melting pots of biodiversity. Moreover, we report a new case of ring diversification, triggered by a large, yet cohesive dispersal barrier, a very rare situation in nature. Finally, we emphasize the Black Sea region as an important center of intraspecific diversity in the Palearctic with implications for conservation.

    Keywords: Amphibians, Climate impacts, Dispersal, Distribution, Fragmentation, MaxEnt, Range shifts, Turnover