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.


  • 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


  • Adriaens, T., Sutton-Croft, M., Owen, K., Brosens, D., van Valkenburg, J., Kilbey, D., Groom, Q., Ehmig, C., Thürkow, F. V, , P., Schneider K (2015)

    Trying to engage the crowd in recording invasive alien species in Europe: experiences from two smartphone applications in northwest Europe

    Management of Biological Invasions 6(2) 215-225.

    New technologies such as smartphone appli cation software (apps) are increasingly used to reach a wider audience on the subject of invasive alien species (IAS) and to involve the public in recording them. In this paper we pr esent two of the more recent smartphone app lications for IAS recording in northwest Europe, the RINSE That’s Invasive! app and the KORINA app. We present an overview of available smartphone apps for IAS recording in Europe and addr ess issues of data integra tion, data openness, data quality, data harmonisation and da tabase interoperability. Finally, we make some recommendations for future app design

    Keywords: biological recording, citizen science, early war


  • Alter S, Meyer M, Post K, Czechowski P, Gravlund P, Gaines C et al. (2015)

    Climate impacts on transocean dispersal and habitat in gray whales from the Pleistocene to 2100.

    Molecular ecology 24(7) 1510-22.

    Arctic animals face dramatic habitat alteration due to ongoing climate change. Understanding how such species have responded to past glacial cycles can help us forecast their response to today's changing climate. Gray whales are among those marine species likely to be strongly affected by Arctic climate change, but a thorough analysis of past climate impacts on this species has been complicated by lack of information about an extinct population in the Atlantic. While little is known about the history of Atlantic gray whales or their relationship to the extant Pacific population, the extirpation of the Atlantic population during historical times has been attributed to whaling. We used a combination of ancient and modern DNA, radiocarbon dating and predictive habitat modelling to better understand the distribution of gray whales during the Pleistocene and Holocene. Our results reveal that dispersal between the Pacific and Atlantic was climate dependent and occurred both during the Pleistocene prior to the last glacial period and the early Holocene immediately following the opening of the Bering Strait. Genetic diversity in the Atlantic declined over an extended interval that predates the period of intensive commercial whaling, indicating this decline may have been precipitated by Holocene climate or other ecological causes. These first genetic data for Atlantic gray whales, particularly when combined with predictive habitat models for the year 2100, suggest that two recent sightings of gray whales in the Atlantic may represent the beginning of the expansion of this species' habitat beyond its currently realized range.

    Keywords: Animals, Arctic Regions, Atlantic Ocean, Biological, Climate Change, DNA, Ecosystem, Fossils, Genetic Variation, Haplotypes, Mitochondrial, Mitochondrial: genetics, Models, Molecular Sequence Data, Phylogeography, Population Dynamics, Sequence Analysis, Whales, Whales: genetics


  • Authmann C, Beilschmidt C, Drönner J, Mattig M, Seeger B (2015)

    VAT: A System for Visualizing, Analyzing and Transforming Spatial Data in Science

    Datenbank-Spektrum.

    The amount of available data changes the style of research in geo-scientific domains, and thus influences the requirements for spatial processing systems. To support data-driven research and exploratory workflows, we propose the Visualization, Analysis & Transformation system (VAT). We first identify ten fundamental requirements, which span from supporting spatial data types over low latency computations to visualization techniques. Based on these we evaluate state-of-the-art systems from the domains of spatial frameworks, GIS, workflow systems, scientific databases and Big Data solutions. The goal of the VAT system is to overcome the identified limitations by a holistic approach to raster and vector data, demand-driven and tiled processing, and the efficient usage of heterogeneous hardware architectures. A first comparison with other systems shows the validity of our approach.

    Keywords: Animals, Arctic Regions, Atlantic Ocean, Biological, Climate Change, DNA, Ecosystem, Fossils, Genetic Variation, Haplotypes, Mitochondrial, Mitochondrial: genetics, Models, Molecular Sequence Data, Phylogeography, Population Dynamics, Sequence Analysis, Whales, Whales: genetics


  • Bowler D, Haase P, Kröncke I, Tackenberg O, Bauer H, Brendel C et al. (2015)

    A cross-taxon analysis of the impact of climate change on abundance trends in central Europe

    Biological Conservation 187 41-50.

    Advances in phenology and pole- and up-ward shifts in geographic ranges are well-documented signs that species are responding to climate change. A deeper understanding of such responses across ecologically different species groups will help to assess future consequences for entire ecosystems. A less well-studied pattern linked with climate change is increases in abundances of warm-adapted species compared with cold-adapted species. To compare how recent climate change has affected the abundances of species across different taxonomic groups, we analyzed long-term local population trends and related them to the species temperature niche, as inferred from geographic distributions. We used population data sets collected in different regions of Central Europe, primarily Germany, for bats, birds, butterflies, ground beetles, springtails and dry grassland plants. We found that temperature niche was positively associated with long-term population trends in some of the taxonomic groups (birds, butterflies, ground beetles) but was less important in others (bats, springtails, and grassland plants). This variation in the importance of temperature niche suggested that some populations have been affected more than others by climate change, which may be explained by differences in species attributes, such as generation time and microhabitat preference. Our findings indicate that relating temperature niches of species to population trends is a useful method to quantify the impact of climate change on local population abundances. We show that this widely applicable approach is particularly suited for comparative cross-system analyses to identify which types of organisms, in which habitats, are responding the most to climate change.

    Keywords: Comparative analysis, Environmental drivers, Population trends, Species traits, Thermal niche


  • Breusing C, Johnson S, Tunnicliffe V, Vrijenhoek R (2015)

    Population structure and connectivity in Indo-Pacific deep-sea mussels of the Bathymodiolus septemdierum complex

    Conservation Genetics 750.

    Current pressures to mine polymetallic sulfide deposits pose threats to the animal communities found at deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Management plans aimed at preserving these unusual communities require knowledge of historical and contemporary forces that shaped the distri- butions and connectivity of associated species. As most vent research has focused on the eastern Pacific and mid-Atlantic ridge systems less is known about Indo-Pacific vents, where mineral extraction activities are imminent. Deep-sea mus- sels (Bivalvia: Mytilidae) of the genus Bathymodiolus include the morphotypic species B. septemdierum , B. brev- ior , B. marisindicus , and B. elongatus which are among the dominant vent taxa in western Pacific back-arc basins and the Central Indian Ridge. To assess their interpopulational relationships, we examined multilocus genotypes based on DNA sequences from four nuclear and four mitochondrial genes, and allozyme variation encoded by eleven genes. Bayesian assignment methods grouped mussels from seven widespread western Pacific localities into a single cluster, whereas the Indian Ocean mussels were clearly divergent. Thus, we designate two regional metapopulations. Notably, contemporary migration rates among all sites appeared to be low despite limited population differentiation, which high- lights the necessity of obtaining realistic data on recovery times and fine-scale population structure to develop and manage conservation units effectively. Future studies using population genomic methods to address these issues in a range of species will help to inform management plans aimed at mitigating potential impacts of deep-sea mining in the Indo-Pacific region

    Keywords: Allozymes, Bathymodiolus, Gene flow, Nuclear markers, mtDNA


  • Báez S, Malizia A, Carilla J, Blundo C, Aguilar M, Aguirre N et al. (2015)

    Large-scale patterns of turnover and Basal area change in Andean forests.

    PloS one 10(5) e0126594.

    General patterns of forest dynamics and productivity in the Andes Mountains are poorly characterized. Here we present the first large-scale study of Andean forest dynamics using a set of 63 permanent forest plots assembled over the past two decades. In the North-Central Andes tree turnover (mortality and recruitment) and tree growth declined with increasing elevation and decreasing temperature. In addition, basal area increased in Lower Montane Moist Forests but did not change in Higher Montane Humid Forests. However, at higher elevations the lack of net basal area change and excess of mortality over recruitment suggests negative environmental impacts. In North-Western Argentina, forest dynamics appear to be influenced by land use history in addition to environmental variation. Taken together, our results indicate that combinations of abiotic and biotic factors that vary across elevation gradients are important determinants of tree turnover and productivity in the Andes. More extensive and longer-term monitoring and analyses of forest dynamics in permanent plots will be necessary to understand how demographic processes and woody biomass are responding to changing environmental conditions along elevation gradients through this century.

    Keywords: Allozymes, Bathymodiolus, Gene flow, Nuclear markers, mtDNA