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

  • Abrahamczyk S, Poretschkin C, Renner S (2017)

    Evolutionary flexibility in five hummingbird/plant mutualistic systems: testing temporal and geographic matching

    Journal of Biogeography.

    Aim Partners in co-evolutionary interactions must be ecologically interdependent and at least at some stage have matching traits and more or less overlapping ranges. As co-evolution is a process, neither the mutual dependence nor the trait and range matching are expected to be static or perfect. Here we investigate the extent of evolutionary flexibility in tight pollination mutualisms between hummingbirds and plants, ranging from straight-billed species to sicklebills. Location The Americas. Methods The five considered pollination mutualisms are between the following hummingbird and plant species: Calypte anna and Ribes speciosum (Grossulariaceae); Basilinna xantusii and Arbutus peninsularis (Ericaceae); two species of Sephanoides and Tristerix aphyllus/corymbosus (Loranthaceae); two species of Eutoxeres and 34 species of curved-corolla Centropogon (Campanulaceae); and six species of Oreotrochilus and seven species of Chuquiraga (Asteraceae). While ecological interdependence and trait matching in these mutualisms are well established, geographic occurrence data and molecular clock-based ages for the 10 clades were newly compiled. Results We found matching bird and plant stem ages in two of the five systems and (much) older bird than plant ages in the other three. The implied adaptation of plant populations to already existing hummingbird species fits with the modelled distributions. In three of the systems, the ranges of the plants overlap those of their pollinators by > 90%; conversely, the range overlap between the bird species and the plant species they pollinate is much less than that. Surprisingly, the age mismatch was greatest in the Eutoxeres/Centropogon system, in spite of the perfect morphological fit among bills and corollas, illustrating the evolutionary flexibility of these mutualisms and the apparently rapid ‘addition’ of further plant species. Main conclusions These findings illuminate the macroevolutionary assembly of hummingbird/plant mutualisms, which has been highly dynamic, even in specialized systems with perfect morphological trait fitting.


  • Beilschmidt C, Drönner J, Mattig M, Schmidt M, Authmann C, Niamir A et al. (2017)

    Interactive Data Exploration for Geoscience

    Lecture Notes in Informatics.

    Data-driven research requires interactive systems supporting fast and intuitive data ex-ploration. An important component is the user interface that facilitates this process. In biodiversity research, data is commonly of spatio-temporal nature. This poses unique opportunities for visual analytics approaches. In this paper we present the core concepts of the web-based front end of our VAT (Visualization, Analysis and Transformation) system, a distributed geo-processing application. We present the results of a user study and highlight unique features for the management of time and the generalization of data.

    Keywords: Biodiversity, Scientific Workflows, Visualization


  • German D (2017)

    What is Cochlearia venusta (Cruciferae)?

    Phytotaxa 297(3) 295.

    Available material on the improperly known Cruciferae (Brassicaceae) species, Cochlearia venusta (Pseudosempervivum venustum), is revised and identified. The taxon is found to be conspecific with the eastern Anatolian endemic Noccaea bornmuelleri, previously long known as Thlaspi bornmuelleri (based on Syrenopsis bornmuelleri). The 10-years younger S. bornmuelleri is reduced to synonymy of C. venusta and a combination Noccaea venusta is validated. Original material of both names is briefly discussed; a lectotype (instead of holotype) is recognized for S. bornmuelleri and that is designated for C. venusta.

    Keywords: Brassicaceae, Eudicots, nomenclature, taxonomy


  • Gutiérrez-Valencia J, Chomicki G, Renner S (2017)

    Recurrent breakdowns of mutualisms with ants in the neotropical ant-plant genus Cecropia (Urticaceae)

    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 111 196-205.

    Mutualisms could be evolutionarily unstable, with changes in partner abundances or in the spatial context of interactions potentially promoting their dissolution. We test this prediction using the defense mutualisms between species of the Neotropical genus Cecropia and Azteca ants. A new, multigene phylogeny with representatives of all five genera of Cecropieae (most of them from the Neotropics) and half of the 61 species of Cecropia shows the West African endemic Musanga (2spp.) as sister to Cecropia, implying dispersal from the Neotropics to Africa, with a molecular clock suggesting that this occurred about 23Mya. Cecropia, a genus of neotropical pioneer trees, started diversifying ca. 8Mya. We infer a single origin of specialized symbiosis with Azteca within Cecropia, eight complete losses of this symbiosis, and a potential partner shift involving the replacement of Azteca by Neoponera luteola ants. Niche space modeling based on geo-referenced occurrences of over 9000 collections representing 58 of the 61 species of Cecropia, together with several comparative analyses, implies that mutualism loss is concentrated at high altitudes and on Caribbean islands, with the surprisingly frequent breakdowns potentially facilitated by low species-specificity of interacting Cecropia and Azteca mutualists.

    Keywords: Ant/plant interactions, Ants, Cecropia, Molecular clock dating, Mutualism evolution, Plants, Trans-Atlantic dispersal


  • Huber B, Huber B, Neumann J, Grabolle A, Hula V (2017)

    Aliens in Europe: updates on the distributions of Modisimus culicinus and Micropholcus fauroti (Araneae, Pholcidae)

    Arachnologische Mitteilungen 53 12-18.

    The pholcid spiders Modisimus culicinus (Simon, 1893) and Micropholcus fauroti (Simon, 1887) are pantropical species that have spread around the world at least several decades ago. Here we present numerous new records for both species, most of which fall into the expected latitudes, i.e. between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn (93% and 87% of records respectively). However, we also report the first records for M. culicinus from Central Europe (Germany and Czech Republic, >50°N) and the first European record for M. fauroti from outside of Belgium (Germany). The fact that in both species several specimens have been found at more than one locality suggests that they may already be in the stage of establishment and spreading in Europe. Finally, we present an updated identification key to the genera of Pholcidae in Europe.

    Keywords: alien, harmless, invasive, pantropical, synanthropic


  • Iloh A, Schmidt M, Muellner-Riehl A, Ogundipe O, Paule J, Hammen T (2017)

    Pleistocene refugia and genetic diversity patterns in West Africa: Insights from the liana Chasmanthera dependens (Menispermaceae)

    PLOS ONE 12(3) e0170511.

    Processes shaping the African Guineo-Congolian rain forest, especially in the West African part, are not well understood. Recent molecular studies, based mainly on forest tree species, confirmed the previously proposed division of the western African Guineo-Congolian rain forest into Upper Guinea (UG) and Lower Guinea (LG) separated by the Dahomey Gap (DG). Here we studied nine populations in the area of the DG and the borders of LG and UG of the widespread liana species, Chasmanthera dependens (Menispermaceae) by amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP), a chloroplast DNA sequence marker, and modelled the distribution based on current as well as paleoclimatic data (Holocene Climate Optimum, ca. 6 kyr BP and Last Glacial Maximum, ca. 22 kyr BP). Current population genetic structure and geographical pattern of cpDNA was related to present as well as historical modelled distributions. Results from this study show that past historical factors played an important role in shaping the distribution of C. dependens across West Africa. The Cameroon Volcanic Line seems to represent a barrier for gene flow in the present as well as in the past. Distribution modelling proposed refugia in the Dahomey Gap, supported also by higher genetic diversity. This is in contrast with the phylogeographic patterns observed in several rainforest tree species and could be explained by either diverging or more relaxed ecological requirements of this liana species.

    Keywords: Amplified fragment length polymorphism, Forests, Haplotypes, Paleoclimatology, Paleogenetics, Phylogenetic analysis, Phylogeography, Population genetics


  • Lommen S, Jolidon E, Sun Y, Bustamante eduardo J, Muller-scharer H (2017)

    An early suitability assessment of two exotic Ophraella species (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) for biological control of invasive ragweed in Europe

    European Journal of Entomology 114(1) 160-169.

    Classical biological control is an important means of managing the increasing threat of invasive plants. It constitutes the introduction of natural enemies from the native range of the target plant into the invaded area. This method may be the only cost-effective solution to control the rapidly expanding common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, in non-crop habitats in Europe. Therefore, candidate biocontrol agents urgently need to be assessed for their suitability for ragweed control in Europe. A previous literature review prioritized the host-specific leaf beetle Ophraella slobodkini as a candidate agent for ragweed control in Europe, whereas it rejected its oligophagous congener O. communa. Meanwhile, O. communa was accidentally introduced and became established south of the European Alps, and we show here that it is expanding its European range. We then present a short version of the traditional pre-release risk-benefit assessment for these two candidate agents to facilitate fast decision-making about further research efforts. We selected two complementary tests that can be conducted relatively rapidly and inform about essential risks and benefits. We conducted a comparative no-choice juvenile performance assay using leaves of ragweed and sunflower, the most important non-target plant, in Petri dishes in climatic conditions similar to that in the current European range of O. communa. This informs on the fundamental host range and potential for increasing abundance on these host plants. The results confirm that O. slobodkini does not survive on, and is hence unlikely to cause severe damage to sunflower, while O. communa can survive but develops more slowly on sunflower than on ragweed. In parallel, our species distribution models predict no suitable area for the establishment of O. slobodkini in Europe, while O. communa is likely to expand its current range to include a maximum of 18% of the European ragweed distribution. Based on this early assessment, the prioritization and further assessment of O. slobodkini seem unwarranted whereas the results urgently advocate further risk-benefit analysis of O. communa. Having revealed that most of the European area colonized by ragweed is unlikely to be suitable for these species of Ophraella we suggest the use of such relatively short and cheap preliminary assessment to prioritise other candidate agents or strains for these areas.

    Keywords: Ambrosia artemisiifolia, Chrysomelidae, Coleoptera, Ophraella, biological control, invasive plant


  • Leipold M, Tausch S, Poschlod P, Reisch C (2017)

    Species distribution modeling and molecular markers suggest longitudinal range shifts and cryptic northern refugia of the typical calcareous grassland species Hippocrepis comosa (horseshoe vetch)

    Ecology and Evolution.

    Calcareous grasslands belong to the most diverse, endangered habitats in Europe, but there is still insufficient information about the origin of the plant species related to these grasslands. In order to illuminate this question, we chose for our study the representative grassland species Hippocrepis comosa (Horseshoe vetch). Based on species distribution modeling and molecular markers, we identified the glacial refugia and the postglacial migration routes of the species to Central Europe. We clearly demonstrate that H. comosa followed a latitudinal and due to its oceanity also a longitudinal gradient during the last glacial maximum (LGM), restricting the species to southern refugia situated on the Peninsulas of Iberia, the Balkans, and Italy during the last glaciation. However, we also found evidence for cryptic northern refugia in the UK, the Alps, and Central Germany. Both species distribution modeling and molecular markers underline that refugia of temperate, oceanic species such as H. comosa must not be exclusively located in southern but also in western of parts of Europe. The analysis showed a distinct separation of the southern refugia into a western cluster embracing Iberia and an eastern group including the Balkans and Italy, which determined the postglacial recolonization of Central Europe. At the end of the LGM, H. comosa seems to have expanded from the Iberian refugium, to Central and Northern Europe, including the UK, Belgium, and Germany.

    Keywords: Ambrosia artemisiifolia, Chrysomelidae, Coleoptera, Ophraella, biological control, invasive plant


  • Liedtke H, Müller H, Hafner J, Penner J, Gower D, Mazuch T et al. (2017)

    Terrestrial reproduction as an adaptation to steep terrain in African toads

    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 284(1851) 20162598.

    How evolutionary novelties evolve is a major question in evolutionary biology. It is widely accepted that changes in environmental conditions shift the position of selective optima, and advancements in phylogenetic comparative approaches allow the rigorous testing of such correlated transitions. A longstanding question in vertebrate biology has been the evolution of terrestrial life histories in amphibians and here, by investigating African bufonids, we test whether terrestrial modes of reproduction have evolved as adaptations to particular abiotic habitat parameters. We reconstruct and date the most complete species-level molecular phylogeny and estimate ancestral states for reproductive modes. By correlating continuous habitat measurements from remote sensing data and locality records with life-history transitions, we discover that terrestrial modes of reproduction, including viviparity evolved multiple times in this group, most often directly from fully aquatic modes. Terrestrial modes of reproduction are strongly correlated with steep terrain and low availability of accumulated water sources. Evolutionary transitions to terrestrial modes of reproduction occurred synchronously with or after transitions in habitat, and we, therefore, interpret terrestrial breeding as an adaptation to these abiotic conditions, rather than an exaptation that facilitated the colonization of montane habitats.

    Keywords: Bufonidae, amphibian, evolution, reproductive mode, terrestrial life history, viviparity


  • Liston A, Goergen G, Koch F (2017)

    Revisions of the Afrotropical genera of Argidae and species of Pampsilota Konow, 1899 (Hymenoptera, Tenthredinoidea)

    Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift 64(1) 1-25.

    The Afrotropical fauna contains five genera of Argidae. These are keyed. New subjective synonyms, followed by the valid name in brackets, are Calarge Enslin, 1911 [Arge Schrank, 1802], Calarge africana Enslin, 1911 [Arge congrua Konow, 1907], Clyparge Pasteels, 1963 [Scobina Lepeletier & Serville, 1828], Clyparge terminalis Pasteels, 1963 [Scobina poecila (Klug, 1834)], and Sterictophora [sic] afra Pasteels, 1963 [Sphacophilus afer comb. n., species inquirenda near S. monjarasi Smith & Morales-Reyes, 2015]. The type material of both C. terminalis and S. afra was probably collected in the New World, but labelled with the wrong locality “Kamerun”. An introduction of both species to Africa, not followed by long-term establishment, seems less likely. The removal of these taxa from the faunal list of the region is recommended. The nine known Afrotropical species of Pampsilota are revised, and an illustrated dichotomous identification key presented, with distribution maps for all species. Four species are here described as new to science: P. dahomeyanus Goergen, Koch & Liston, sp. n., P. nigeriae Liston & Koch, sp. n., P. tsavoensis Liston & Koch, sp. n., and P. zebra Liston & Koch, sp. n. Lectotypes are designated for Pampsilota afer Konow, 1899, and Cipdele africana Mocsáry, 1909. The immature stages and host plant of only one species are known: P. dahomeyanus on Lannea nigritana (Anacardiaceae). Its larval morphology strongly resembles that of European and North American species of Arge. We provisionally retain Pampsilota as a valid genus, although it could justifiably be treated as comprising merely a species group, or groups, within Arge.

    Keywords: Anacardiaceae, Lannea, Taxonomic revision, distributions, host, key, new species, new synonymy