Uses of GBIF in scientific research

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

List of publications

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • Herkt K, Barnikel G, Skidmore A, Fahr J (2016)

    A high-resolution model of bat diversity and endemism for continental Africa

    Ecological Modelling 320 9-28.

    Bats are the second-most species-rich mammal group numbering more than 1270 species globally. Our knowledge of their geographic distributions and diversity patterns however is very limited – possibly the poorest among mammals – mainly due to their nocturnal and volant life history, and challenging fieldwork conditions in the tropics where most bat species occur. This knowledge gap obscures the geographic extent of ecosystem services provided by bats (i.e. pollination, seed dispersal and insect control), translates into inefficient conservation policies, and restricts macroecological analyses to coarse spatial resolutions. In contrast to the currently prevailing method of estimating species distributions using expert-drawn range maps, correlative species distribution models (SDMs) can provide estimates at very fine spatial grains and largely account for widespread sample bias as well as the prevalent Wallacean shortfall in species occurrence data. Very few such studies have hitherto been published that cover a large and complete taxonomic group with fine resolution at continental extent. Using an unparalleled amount of occurrence data, the MaxEnt algorithm and tailored solutions to specific modelling challenges, we created SDMs for nearly all 250 African bat species to explore emerging diversity patterns at a resolution of 1km2. Predicted species richness generally increases towards the equator conforming to expectations. Within the tropical area of elevated richness, several pronounced richness peaks and lows stand out, hinting at a complex interplay of determining factors. Richness gradients are often steep, decreasing strongly away from streams, and especially so in savanna biomes. Species richness also seems positively associated with rugged terrain, in particular at lower elevations. Centres of endemism are found primarily at low latitudes near major elevational ranges. Overlap with hotspots of species richness is rather low, and confined to five or six topodiverse, relatively low lying areas between western Guinea and the East African coast. Several poorly sampled regions are identified that may represent rewarding future survey targets. Our results demonstrate the value of stacking SDMs to infer plausible continent-wide diversity gradients at a spatial resolution fine enough to directly inform conservation policies and to open up new avenues in macroecological research.

    Keywords: Africa, Chiroptera, Range size rarity, Spatial resolution, Species distribution modelling (SDM), Species richness

  • Krehenwinkel H, Graze M, Rödder D, Tanaka K, Baba Y, Muster C et al. (2016)

    A phylogeographical survey of a highly dispersive spider reveals eastern Asia as a major glacial refugium for Palaearctic fauna

    Journal of Biogeography.

    Aim The phylogeographical history of wide-ranging Palaearctic species is not well understood. Here, we present a range-wide phylogeographical study of the wasp spider, Argiope bruennichi (Scopoli, 1772), a highly dispersive and widely distributed Palaearctic species. We aim to identify glacial refugia and patterns of interglacial gene flow across the Palaearctic. Location Palaearctic region, including the Azores, Madeira, Europe, North Africa and Asia. Methods We conduct a range-wide phylogeographical survey. Our study is based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA markers, as well as morphological characters. We use species distribution models to predict the species’ current range as well as its historical distribution during and shortly after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Results All analysed genetic markers and morphological characters support the divergence of a lineage in eastern Asia from the remainder of the Palaearctic. Within the Western Palaearctic, a less pronounced divergence into an Azorean and a European clade is found. Species distribution models predict a pronounced loss of suitable habitat for Western Palaearctic lineages during the LGM, whereas the range of East Asian populations remained largely unaffected. Main conclusions Our results highlight the existence of non-European glacial refugia for Palaearctic species, particularly in East Asia. The current genetic structure is best explained by the recent recolonization of the Western Palaearctic from eastern Asia, or repeated interglacial contact of populations.

    Keywords: Azores, East Asia, Madeira, Palaearctic, gene flow, mitochondrial–nuclear incongruence, morphometry, palaeoclimate, phylogeography, species distribution model

  • Kübler D, Hildebrandt P, Günter S, Stimm B, Weber M, Mosandl R, Muñoz J, Cabrera O, Aguirre N Z (2016)

    Assessing the importance of topographic variables for the spatial distribution of tree species in a tropical mountain forest — erdkunde

    Erdkunde 70(1) 19-47.

    Availability and improved access to high-resolution digital terrain models (DTM) enables new approaches for the analysis of spatially explicit biological data. In this study, the spatial distribution of 16 tree species in a tropical mountain rain forest in South Ecuador and its relationship with topographic variables was evaluated at a fine-scale ecological level using two presence-only species distribution modelling techniques: The maximum entropy model (Maxent) and the ecological niche factor analysis (ENFA). Spatially explicit tree data stem from long-term forest monitoring plots in three microcatchments with a total area of 11.1 ha. Topographic variables were derived from a high-resolution DTM. Model performance was assessed by the true skill statistic (TSS) and area under curve (AUC) of the receiver operator characteristic (ROC), using both a k-fold approach and null-models. Performance varied among species and techniques, but generally Maxent models showed better performance than ENFA models. Furthermore, the ecological plausibility of the models was confirmed by comparing them with a previously established forest type classification. Among the explanatory topographic variables, elevation and a Topographic Position Index (TPI) appear as the main determinants for the distribution of most of the tree species. This study demonstrates that even on a small scale, the use of presence-only species distribution modelling techniques is a viable option for modelling suitable habitat for tree species in tropical mountain rain forests, indicating suitability for supporting stand-level planning and site-species matching techniques for natural forest management.

    Keywords: ENFA, biogeography, species distribution modelling

  • Lagomarsino L, Condamine F, Antonelli A, Mulch A, Davis C (2016)

    The abiotic and biotic drivers of rapid diversification in Andean bellflowers (Campanulaceae).

    The New phytologist.

    The tropical Andes of South America, the world's richest biodiversity hotspot, are home to many rapid radiations. While geological, climatic, and ecological processes collectively explain such radiations, their relative contributions are seldom examined within a single clade. We explore the contribution of these factors by applying a series of diversification models that incorporate mountain building, climate change, and trait evolution to the first dated phylogeny of Andean bellflowers (Campanulaceae: Lobelioideae). Our framework is novel for its direct incorporation of geological data on Andean uplift into a macroevolutionary model. We show that speciation and extinction are differentially influenced by abiotic factors: speciation rates rose concurrently with Andean elevation, while extinction rates decreased during global cooling. Pollination syndrome and fruit type, both biotic traits known to facilitate mutualisms, played an additional role in driving diversification. These abiotic and biotic factors resulted in one of the fastest radiations reported to date: the centropogonids, whose 550 species arose in the last 5 million yr. Our study represents a significant advance in our understanding of plant evolution in Andean cloud forests. It further highlights the power of combining phylogenetic and Earth science models to explore the interplay of geology, climate, and ecology in generating the world's biodiversity.

    Keywords: Andes, Lobelioideae, Neotropics, biodiversity hotspot, climate change, diversification, pollination syndromes, rapid radiation

  • Marta S, Lacasella F, Gratton P, Cesaroni D, Sbordoni V (2016)

    Deciphering range dynamics: effects of niche stability areas and post-glacial colonization on alpine species distribution

    Journal of Biogeography.

    Aim Niche stability areas (NSAs) are portions of the species range where climate conditions remain suitable through time. They represent the core of species ranges. Their distribution and extent, coupled with dispersal and colonization, shape the realized range of species. In this study, we quantified the roles of survival within NSAs and post-glacial dispersal in determining the current distribution of two groups of alpine butterflies (two taxa in the Erebia tyndarus species complex; three taxa in the Parnassius apollo–P. phoebus species complex). Location Holarctic. Methods NSAs were identified for each taxon by combining current and past potential distributions models, estimated using different modelling techniques and general circulation models. We then (1) assessed the distributional bias towards NSAs by comparing actual occurrence records with randomized occupancies of the current potential range and (2) quantified post-glacial dispersal by examining the distribution of distances from each occurrence record to the nearest NSA. Results In almost all taxa, realized distributions are biased towards NSAs. However, while Erebia's present range is strongly dominated by NSAs, some populations of Parnassius are found very far from NSAs, suggesting more effective colonization of the available geographical space. Main conclusions Our study highlights the relative roles of survival within NSAs and post-glacial dispersal in shaping the ranges of different alpine butterflies during the Holocene. Results suggest that Erebia was unable to disperse far from NSAs, thus experiencing increasing range fragmentation. Parnassius populations, on the other hand, coupled local survival with northward dispersal. As NSAs allowed the long-term survival of the species, acting as sources for recolonization, and tend to preserve most of each species’ genetic diversity, identifying NSAs and understanding their importance in determining the current distribution of species represents a pivotal task for the conservation of biological diversity.

    Keywords: Erebia, Parnassius, alpine species, butterflies, climate change, hindcasting, interglacial refugia, niche stability areas, species distribution modelling, species–climate equilibrium

  • Pokharel K, Ludwig T, Storch I (2016)

    Predicting potential distribution of poorly known species with small database: the case of four-horned antelope Tetracerus quadricornis on the Indian subcontinent

    Ecology and Evolution.

    Information gaps on the distribution of data deficient and rare species such as four-horned antelope (FHA) in Nepal may impair their conservation. We aimed to empirically predict the distribution of FHA in Nepal with the help of data from the Indian subcontinent. Additionally, we wanted to identify core areas and gaps within the reported range limits and to assess the degree of isolation of known Nepalese populations from the main distribution areas in India. The tropical part of the Indian subcontinent (65°–90° eastern longitude, 5°–30° northern latitude), that is, the areas south of the Himalayan Mountains. Using MaxEnt and accounting for sampling bias, we developed predictive distribution models from environmental and topographical variables, and known presence locations of the study species in India and Nepal. We address and discuss the use of target group vs. random background. The prediction map reveals a disjunct distribution of FHA with core areas in the tropical parts of central to southern–western India. At the scale of the Indian subcontinent, suitable FHA habitat area in Nepal was small. The Indo-Gangetic Plain isolates Nepalese from the Indian FHA populations, but the distribution area extends further south than proposed by the current IUCN map. A low to intermediate temperature seasonality as well as low precipitation during the dry and warm season contributed most to the prediction of FHA distribution. The predicted distribution maps confirm other FHA range maps but also indicate that suitable areas exist south of the known range. Results further highlight that small populations in the Nepalese Terai Arc are isolated from the Indian core distribution and therefore might be under high extinction risk.

    Keywords: Distribution range, Indian subcontinent, endemic species, four-horned antelope, isolation