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Aguiar L, Bernard E, Ribeiro V, Machado R, Jones G (2016)
Global Ecology and Conservation 5 22-33.
Most extant species are survivors of the last climate change event 20,000 years ago. While past events took place over thousands of years, current climate change is occurring much faster, over a few decades. We modelled the potential distribution area of bat species in the Brazilian Cerrado, a Neotropical savannah, and assessed the potential impacts of climate change up to 2050 in two scenarios. First we evaluated what the impact on the distributions of bat species would be if they were unable to move to areas where climate conditions might be similar to current ones. The novelty of our paper is that, based on least-cost-path analyses, we identified potential corridors that could be managed now to mitigate potential impacts of climate change. Our results indicate that on average, in the future bat species would find similar climate conditions 281 km southeast from current regions. If bat species were not able to move to new suitable areas and were unable to adapt, then 36 species (31.6%) could lose >80% of their current distribution area, and five species will lose more than 98% of their distribution area in the Brazilian Cerrado. In contrast, if bat species are able to reach such areas, then the number of highly impacted species will be reduced to nine, with none of them likely to disappear from the Cerrado. We present measures that could be implemented immediately to mitigate future climate change impacts.
Keywords: Brazil, Brazilian Cerrado, Chiroptera, Conservation, Ecological niche models
Alexander N, Massei G, Wint W (2016)
The European Distribution of Sus Scrofa. Model Outputs from the Project Described within the Poster – Where are All the Boars? An Attempt to Gain a Continental Perspective
Open Health Data 4(1).
Wild boar is a host of a number of arthropod-vectored diseases and its numbers are on the rise in mainland Europe. The species potentially impacts ecosystems, humans and farming practices and so its distribution is of interest to policy makers in a number of fields beyond that of the primarily epidemiological goal of this study. Three statistical model outputs describing the distribution and abundance of the species Sus scrofa (Wild boar) are included in this data package. The extent of this dataset covers continental Europe. These data were presented as a poster  at the conference Genes, Ecosystems and Risk of Infection (GERI 2015). The first of the three models provide a European map presenting the probability of presence of Sus scrofa, which can be used to describe the likely geographical distribution of the species. The second and third models provide indices to help describe the likely abundance across the continent. The two indices include “the proportion of suitable habitat where presence is estimated” and a simple classification of boar abundance across Europe using quantiles of existing abundance data and proxies.
Keywords: Abundance, Distribution, Europe, Random Forest, Statistical modelling, Sus scrofa
Ballesteros-Mejia L, Kitching I, Jetz W, Beck J (2016)
Putting insects on the map: Near-global variation in sphingid moth richness along spatial and environmental gradients
Despite their vast diversity and vital ecological role, insects are notoriously underrepresented in biogeography and conservation, and key broad-scale ecological hypotheses about them remain untested – largely due to generally incomplete and very coarse spatial distribution knowledge. Integrating records from publications, field work and natural history collections, we used a mixture of species distribution models and expert estimates to provide geographic distributions and emergent richness patterns for all ca. 1,000 sphingid moth species found outside the Americas in high spatial detail. Total sphingid moth richness, the first for a higher insect group to be documented at this scale, shows distinct maxima in the wet tropics of Africa and the Oriental with notable decay toward Australasia. Using multivariate models controlling for spatial autocorrelation, we found that primary productivity is the dominant environmental variable associated with moth richness, while temperature, contrary to our predictions, is an unexpectedly weak predictor. This is in stark contrast to the importance we identify for temperature as a niche variable of individual species. Despite divergent life histories, both main sub-groups of moths exhibit these relationships. Tribal-level deconstruction of richness and climatic niche patterns indicate idiosyncratic effects of biogeographic history for some of the less species-rich tribes, which in some cases exhibit distinct richness peaks away from the tropics. The study confirms, for a diverse insect group, overall richness associations of remarkable similarity to those documented for vertebrates and highlights the significant within-taxon structure that underpins emergent macroecological patterns. Results do not, however, meet predictions from vertebrate-derived hypotheses on how thermoregulation affects the strength of temperature-richness effects. Our study thus broadens the taxonomic focus in this data-deficient discourse. Our procedures of processing incomplete, scattered distribution data are a template for application to other taxa and regions.
Keywords: Distribution modelling, Lepidoptera, Productivity, Spatial scale, Sphingidae, Tropics
Bellard C, Leroy B, Thuiller W, Rysman J, Courchamp F (2016)
In this paper, we investigate how climate, land use, habitat characteristics, and socioeconomic activities contribute to predict the current potential distributions of the “100 among the world's worst invasive alien species”. We calculated the predictive power of each of the 41 variables for the 95 species including a large number of plants, vertebrates and invertebrates. We then calibrated the species distribution models with a set of appropriate variables for each invasive alien species to predict the potential distribution of these species and identify the major regions of origin of the invasive alien species. We found that climate variables were primarily predictors of the distribution of the global invaders studied. In addition, the habitat characteristics were also important predictors following by the socioeconomic variables such as the nearest distance to airports, seaports and human population density. We show that the potential areas at the highest risk of invasions from these species are located in Western Europe, Eastern United States, Central America, the eastern coast of Australia, and some Indonesian islands. We argue that these potential hotspots of invasions should be monitored in priority to prevent new invasions from these species. This study provides evidence of the importance of considering both habitat characteristics, socioeconomic and climate change factors for the current and future predictions of biological invasions.
Keywords: invasive species, socioeconomic, spatial risk
Fletcher D, Gillingham P, Britton J, Blanchet S, Gozlan R, Stohlgren T et al. (2016)
Scientific Reports 6 26316.
Predicting regions at risk from introductions of non-native species and the subsequent invasions is a fundamental aspect of horizon scanning activities that enable the development of more effective preventative actions and planning of management measures. The Asian cyprinid fish topmouth gudgeon Pseudorasbora parva has proved highly invasive across Europe since its introduction in the 1960s. In addition to direct negative impacts on native fish populations, P. parva has potential for further damage through transmission of an emergent infectious disease, known to cause mortality in other species. To quantify its invasion risk, in regions where it has yet to be introduced, we trained 900 ecological niche models and constructed an Ensemble Model predicting suitability, then integrated a proxy for introduction likelihood. This revealed high potential for P. parva to invade regions well beyond its current invasive range. These included areas in all modelled continents, with several hotspots of climatic suitability and risk of introduction. We believe that these methods are easily adapted for a variety of other invasive species and that such risk maps could be used by policy-makers and managers in hotspots to formulate increased surveillance and early-warning systems that aim to prevent introductions and subsequent invasions.
Keywords: invasive species, socioeconomic, spatial risk
Giovannini P, Howes M, Edwards S (2016)
Medicinal plants used in the traditional management of diabetes and its sequelae in Central America: a review.
Journal of ethnopharmacology 184 58-71.
ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Globally 387 million people currently have diabetes and it is projected that this condition will be the 7th leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. As of 2012, its total prevalence in Central America (8.5%) was greater than the prevalence in most Latin American countries and the population of this region widely use herbal medicine. The aim of this study is to review the medicinal plants used to treat diabetes and its sequelae in seven Central American countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a literature review and extracted from primary sources the plant use reports in traditional remedies that matched one of the following disease categories: diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, urinary problems, skin diseases and infections, cardiovascular disease, sexual dysfunctions, visual loss, and nerve damage. Use reports were entered in a database and data were analysed in terms of the highest number of use reports for diabetes management and for the different sequelae. We also examined the scientific evidence that might support the local uses of the most reported species. RESULTS: Out of 535 identified species used to manage diabetes and its sequelae, 104 species are used to manage diabetes and we found in vitro and in vivo preclinical experimental evidence of hypoglycaemic effect for 16 of the 20 species reported by at least two sources. However, only seven of these species are reported in more than 3 studies: Momordica charantia L., Neurolaena lobata (L.) R. Br. ex Cass., Tecoma stans (L.) Juss. ex Kunth, Persea americana Mill., Psidium guajava L., Anacardium occidentale L. and Hamelia patens Jacq. Several of the species that are used to manage diabetes in Central America are also used to treat conditions that may arise as its consequence such as kidney disease, urinary problems and skin conditions. CONCLUSION: This review provides an overview of the medicinal plants used to manage diabetes and its sequelae in Central America and of the current scientific knowledge that might explain their traditional use. In Central America a large number of medicinal plants are used to treat this condition and its sequelae, although relatively few species are widely used across the region. For the species used to manage diabetes, there is variation in the availability and quality of pharmacological, chemical and clinical studies to explain traditional use.
Keywords: AMP-activated protein kinase, AMPK, Bixin (PubChem CID: 5281226), Central America, Chlorogenic acid (PubChem CID: 1794427), Diabetes, Ecosystem services, Guaijaverin (PubChem CID: 44259215), Hypoglycaemic, IRS-1, Kaempferol 3-O-gentiobioside (PubChem CID: 9960512, Medicinal plants, More information is available at: http://www.elsev, NADPH, PKB/Akt, PPARγ, PTP-1B, Peltatoside (PubChem CID: 5484066), Quassin (PubChem CID: 65571), Quercetin (PubChem CID: 5280343), RCT, Rhoifolin (PubChem CID: 5282150), Tecomine (PubChem CID: 442553), Traditional medicine, Vindoline (PubChem CID: 260535), insulin receptor substrate-1, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ, protein kinase B, protein-tyrosine phosphatase 1B, randomised controlled trial
Griffiths H, Waller C (2016)
The first comprehensive description of the biodiversity and biogeography of Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic intertidal communities
Journal of Biogeography.
Aim To describe the distribution of biodiversity and biogeographical patterns of intertidal organisms in southern temperate and polar waters. We hypothesized that there would be differences in community structure between the Antarctic, which is most affected by ice, and the sub-Antarctic and other neighbouring regions. We also hypothesized that rafting and West Wind Drift will be the significant drivers of biogeographical patterns. Additionally, the size, age, isolation, volcanic or glacial history of a region and the presence of large, beach dwelling, mammals and birds would all play a role in determining the level of biodiversity observed. Location South Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans and the Southern Ocean. Methods We examined all available intertidal records from the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic with additional data from neighbouring regions for comparison and context. We compiled 3902 occurrences of 1416 species of high southern latitude intertidal organisms from 229 locations and used PRIMER 6 to perform multivariate statistical analyses. Results The Antarctic and sub-Antarctic are shown to be distinct biogeographical regions, with patterns driven by a small number of widely distributed species. These wide-ranging molluscs and macroalgae dominate the biogeographical structure of the Southern Ocean intertidal, most likely as a result of rafting in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. East Antarctic intertidal habitats are potentially isolated by the Ross and Weddell Sea ice shelves but represent a great unknown in this biogeographical scheme. Main Conclusions The view that the Antarctic intertidal is a lifeless desert does not hold true, with Antarctic Peninsula intertidal communities being richer and more diverse than those in southern South America and the sub-Antarctic islands. Changing conditions in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic intertidal mean that a representative baseline is needed (acquired through standardized and quantitative sampling) to assess future changes and to detect any invasive species.
Keywords: Southern Ocean, climate change, island biogeography, macroalgae, mollusc, rafting, richness
Hof A, Bright P (2016)
Quantifying the long-term decline of the West European hedgehog in England by subsampling citizen-science datasets
European Journal of Wildlife Research.
It is increasingly important to be aware of trends in species abundances in order to be able to act ahead of possible irrecoverable declines and extinctions. Long-term monitoring of species is generally used to determine how a species is faring, which is essential knowledge for conservation planning and design. However, monitoring programmes that encompass large areas and long timespans are rare or non-existent for the vast majority of species. Citizen-science-based datasets provide a wealth of data on past and present species’ occurrences but are often biased to a large extent. We evaluate the potential use of such datasets by subsampling datasets collected over different time periods to detect trends in the long-term temporal abundance of West European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus), a species which is thought to be in decline in parts of its geographic range. We used subsampling as a means to account for quantitative differences between two non-systematic datasets of West European hedgehog occurrences in England; one dataset was collected by the public between 1960 and 1975 and one was collected between 2000 and 2015. Here, we confirm and quantify previous anecdotal evidence of a long-term decline of the species throughout England. We find that although the West European hedgehog is still widespread in England, a 5.0 to 7.4 % decline in occupied grid cells was observed when comparing the 2000–2015 dataset to the previous survey in 1960–1975 after adjusting for differences in effort. This suggests that the decline of the relative abundance of West European hedgehogs is moderate in England, 25 % being an amber alert for birds of conservation concern in the UK. Importantly, we show that subsampling disparate citizen-science datasets is a useful tool for monitoring species population trends.
Keyword: Citizen science Datasets Population trends Subsamp
Ivory S, Early R, Sax D, Russell J (2016)
Global Ecology and Biogeography.
Aim Climate and land-use change will have a dramatic impact on future ecosystems through alterations to species ranges and community composition. When forming conservation strategies, correlative species distribution models are often created to assess risks for individual species. These models are based on the assumption of climatic equilibrium, such that the modern range is representative of the full range of conditions under which species could thrive. However, the palaeo-ecological record illustrates examples of disequilibrium in species today, and recent studies suggest that many species could occur in much broader climatic settings than previously thought. Montane ecosystems are thought to be at disproportionate risk due to temperature sensitivity and restricted geographical ranges. However, in the Afrotropics the palaeo-ecological record shows that montane forest taxa expanded into the lowlands numerous times, suggesting a possible tolerance to warm temperatures. Location Africa. Methods We integrate palaeo-ecological and palaeo-climatic data in order to compare climate conditions in which species are currently found with those in the past. We use species distribution models to construct potential modern ranges for Afromontane species based on modern distributions and distributions in the palaeo-ecological record in order to evaluate the equilibrium of species ranges. Results We show that many Afromontane trees have occupied warmer climates in the past, which suggests that the current low-elevation boundaries are not set by climate. Interestingly, the species with the largest disequilibrium between palaeo- and modern distributions are those whose modern distributions show the least temperature sensitivity. Mapping of species potential ranges based on modern and palaeo- distributions clearly shows that suitable climate conditions exist today in the lowlands for less temperature-sensitive species. Main conclusions These results imply that the current range of these forest trees does not necessarily inform risk from climatic change, and that human land use may be the major pressure for many species in the future.
Keywords: Africa, Afromontane, climatic niche, global environmental change, montane ecosystems, palaeo-climate, palaeo-ecology, tropical biogeography, tropical ecology
Lancaster L (2016)
Nature Climate Change advance on.
Current anthropogenic impacts, including habitat modification and climate change, may contribute to a sixth mass extinction1. To mitigate these impacts and slow further losses of biodiversity, we need to understand which species are most at risk and identify the factors contributing to current and future declines. Such information is often obtained through large-scale, comparative and biogeographic analysis of lineages or traits that are potentially sensitive to ongoing anthropogenic change—for instance to predict which regions are most susceptible to climate change-induced biodiversity loss2, 3, 4. However, for this approach to be generally successful, the underlying causes of identified geographical trends need to be carefully considered5. Here, I augment and reanalyse a global data set of insect thermal tolerances, evaluating the contribution of recent and contemporary range expansions to latitudinal variation in thermal niche breadth. Previous indications that high-latitude ectotherms exhibit broad thermal niches and high warming tolerances held only for species undergoing range expansions or invasions. In contrast, species with stable or declining geographic ranges exhibit latitudinally decreasing absolute thermal tolerances and no latitudinal variation in tolerance breadths. Thus, non-range-expanding species, particularly insular or endemic species, which are often of highest conservation priority, are unlikely to tolerate future climatic warming at high latitudes.
Keywords: Biogeography, Climate-change ecology, Macroecology