Uses of GBIF in scientific research

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

List of publications

  • Amano, T., Sutherland, W.

    Four barriers to the global understanding of biodiversity conservation: wealth, language, geographical location and security

    Proceedings. Biological sciences/ The Royal Society 280(1756) 20122649.

    Global biodiversity conservation is seriously challenged by gaps and heterogeneity in the geographical coverage of existing information. Nevertheless, the key barriers to the collection and compilation of biodiversity information at a global scale have yet to be identified. We show that wealth, language, geographical location and security each play an important role in explaining spatial variations in data availability in four different types of biodiversity databases. The number of records per square kilometre is high in countries with high per capita gross domestic product (GDP), high proportion of English speakers and high security levels, and those located close to the country hosting the database; but these are not necessarily countries with high biodiversity. These factors are considered to affect data availability by impeding either the activities of scientific research or active international communications. Our results demonstrate that efforts to solve environmental problems at a global scale will gain significantly by focusing scientific education, communication, research and collaboration in low-GDP countries with fewer English speakers and located far from Western countries that host the global databases; countries that have experienced conflict may also benefit. Findings of this study may be broadly applicable to other fields that require the compilation of scientific knowledge at a global level.

    Keywords: ecology, environmental science


  • Ballesteros-Mejia, L., Kitching, I., Jetz, W., Nagel, P., Beck, J.

    Mapping the biodiversity of tropical insects: species richness and inventory completeness of African sphingid moths

    (Journal name unavailable from Mendeley API. To be updated soon...)

    Keywords: co-kriging interpolation, hawkmoths, Lepidoptera, pattern, sampling effort, spatial, Sphingidae, Sub-Saharan Africa


  • Beck, J., Ballesteros-Mejia, L., Nagel, P., Kitching, I.

    Online solutions and the ‘Wallacean shortfall’: what does GBIF contribute to our knowledge of species' ranges?

    (Journal name unavailable from Mendeley API. To be updated soon...)

    Aim: To investigate the contribution to range filling, range extent and climatic niche space of species of information contained in the largest databank of digitized biodiversity data: the global biodiversity information facility (GBIF). We compared such information with a compilation of independent distributional data from natural history collections and other sources. Location: Europe. Methods: We used data for the hawkmoths (Lepidoptera, family Sphingidae) to assess three aspects of range information: (1) observed range filling in 100 km × 100 km grid cell squares, (2) observed European range extent and (3) observed climatic niche. Range extents were calculated as products of latitudinal and longitudinal extents. Areas derived from minimum convex polygons drawn onto a 2-dimensional niche space representing the two main axes of a principal component analysis (PCA) were used to calculate climatic niche space. Additionally, record-based permutation tests for niche differences were carried out. Results We found that GBIF provided many more distribution records than independent compilation efforts, but contributed less information on range filling, range extent and climatic niches of species. Main conclusions Although GBIF contributed relevant additional information, it is not yet an effective alternative to manual compilation and databasing of distributional records from collections and literature sources, at least in lesser-known taxa such as invertebrates. We discuss possible reasons for our findings, which may help shape GBIF strategies for providing more informative data.

    Keywords: climatic niche space, gbif, global biodiversity information facility, lepidoptera, natural history collections, range extent, range filling, sphingidae


  • Brito, J., Godinho, R., Martínez-Freiría, F., Pleguezuelos, J., Rebelo, H., Santos, X., Vale, C., Velo-Antón, G., Boratyński, Z., Carvalho, S., Ferreira, S., Gonçalves, D., Silva, T., Tarroso, P., Campos, J., Leite, J., Nogueira, J., Alvares, F., Sillero, N., Sow, A., Fahd, S., Crochet, P., Carranza, S.

    Unravelling biodiversity, evolution and threats to conservation in the Sahara-Sahel.

    Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 1.

    Deserts and arid regions are generally perceived as bare and rather homogeneous areas of low diversity. The Sahara is the largest warm desert in the world and together with the arid Sahel displays high topographical and climatic heterogeneity, and has experienced recent and strong climatic oscillations that have greatly shifted biodiversity distribution and community composition. The large size, remoteness and long-term political instability of the Sahara-Sahel, have limited knowledge on its biodiversity. However, over the last decade, there have been an increasing number of published scientific studies based on modern geomatic and molecular tools, and broad sampling of taxa of these regions. This review tracks trends in knowledge about biodiversity patterns, processes and threats across the Sahara-Sahel, and anticipates needs for biodiversity research and conservation. Recent studies are changing completely the perception of regional biodiversity patterns. Instead of relatively low species diversity with distribution covering most of the region, studies now suggest a high rate of endemism and larger number of species, with much narrower and fragmented ranges, frequently limited to micro-hotspots of biodiversity. Molecular-based studies are also unravelling cryptic diversity associated with mountains, which together with recent distribution atlases, allows identifying integrative biogeographic patterns in biodiversity distribution. Mapping of multivariate environmental variation (at 1 km × 1 km resolution) of the region illustrates main biogeographical features of the Sahara-Sahel and supports recently hypothesised dispersal corridors and refugia. Micro-scale water-features present mostly in mountains have been associated with local biodiversity hotspots. However, the distribution of available data on vertebrates highlights current knowledge gaps that still apply to a large proportion of the Sahara-Sahel. Current research is providing insights into key evolutionary and ecological processes, including causes and timing of radiation and divergence for multiple taxa, and associating the onset of the Sahara with diversification processes for low-mobility vertebrates. Examples of phylogeographic patterns are showing the importance of allopatric speciation in the Sahara-Sahel, and this review presents a synthetic overview of the most commonly hypothesised diversification mechanisms. Studies are also stressing that biodiversity is threatened by increasing human activities in the region, including overhunting and natural resources prospection, and in the future by predicted global warming. A representation of areas of conflict, landmines, and natural resources extraction illustrates how human activities and regional insecurity are hampering biodiversity research and conservation. Although there are still numerous knowledge gaps for the optimised conservation of biodiversity in the region, a set of research priorities is provided to identify the framework data needed to support regional conservation planning.

    Keywords: Africa, biodiversity, climate change, conservation, deserts, distribution, diversification, phylogeography, Sahara, Sahel


  • Cocquyt, C., Jüttner, I., Kusber, W.

    Reinvestigation of West African Surirellaceae (Bacillariophyta) described by Woodhead and Tweed from Sierra Leone

    Nova Hedwigia 28(2) 121-129.

    Microscope slides containing material from Sierra Leone used by Woodhead and Tweed to describe eight new Surirellaceae taxa in the mid-twentieth century were reinvestigated. Only two taxa were found on the original slides, Surirella approximataWoodhead & Tweed and S. engleri [var. constricta]f. minor Woodhead & Tweed. The valve variability of S. engleri O. Müller includes valves of S. engleri [var. constricta]f. minor which is now regarded as a synonym. As no holotypes were indicated by the authors, types are given here. Comments on S. rudis var. sierra-leonensis Woodhead & Tweed, S. rudis [var. sierra-leonensis]f. constricta Woodhead & Tweed and S. esamangensis Foged are also given. Valves resembling Stenopterobia recta Woodhead & Tweed, Surirella asperrima f. rokuprensis Woodhead&Tweed, S. engleri f. sierra-leonensisWoodhead&Tweed and S. rokuprensisWoodhead&Tweed could not be found on the Woodhead and Tweed original slides.

    Keywords: diatoms, sierra leone, stenopterobia, surirella, taxonomy, west africa


  • Di Febbraro, M., Lurz, P., Genovesi, P., Maiorano, L., Girardello, M., Bertolino, S.

    The Use of Climatic Niches in Screening Procedures for Introduced Species to Evaluate Risk of Spread: A Case with the American Eastern Grey Squirrel

    PloS one 8(7) e66559.

    Species introduction represents one of the most serious threats for biodiversity. The realized climatic niche of an invasive species can be used to predict its potential distribution in new areas, providing a basis for screening procedures in the compilation of black and white lists to prevent new introductions. We tested this assertion by modeling the realized climatic niche of the Eastern grey squirrel Sciurus carolinensis. Maxent was used to develop three models: one considering only records from the native range (NRM), a second including records from native and invasive range (NIRM), a third calibrated with invasive occurrences and projected in the native range (RCM). Niche conservatism was tested considering both a niche equivalency and a niche similarity test. NRM failed to predict suitable parts of the currently invaded range in Europe, while RCM underestimated the suitability in the native range. NIRM accurately predicted both the native and invasive range. The niche equivalency hypothesis was rejected due to a significant difference between the grey squirrel’s niche in native and invasive ranges. The niche similarity test yielded no significant results. Our analyses support the hypothesis of a shift in the species’ climatic niche in the area of introductions. Species Distribution Models (SDMs) appear to be a useful tool in the compilation of black lists, allowing identifying areas vulnerable to invasions. We advise caution in the use of SDMs based only on the native range of a species for the compilation of white lists for other geographic areas, due to the significant risk of underestimating its potential invasive range.

    Keywords: diatoms, sierra leone, stenopterobia, surirella, taxonomy, west africa


  • Foote, A., Kaschner, K., Schultze, S., Garilao, C., Ho, S., Post, K., Higham, T., Stokowska, C., van der Es, H., Embling, C., Gregersen, K., Johansson, F., Willerslev, E., Gilbert, M.

    Ancient DNA reveals that bowhead whale lineages survived Late Pleistocene climate change and habitat shifts

    Nature communications 4 1677.

    The climatic changes of the glacial cycles are thought to have been a major driver of population declines and species extinctions. However, studies to date have focused on terrestrial fauna and there is little understanding of how marine species responded to past climate change. Here we show that a true Arctic species, the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus), shifted its range and tracked its core suitable habitat northwards during the rapid climate change of the Pleistocene–Holocene transition. Late Pleistocene lineages survived into the Holocene and effective female population size increased rapidly, concurrent with a threefold increase in core suitable habitat. This study highlights that responses to climate change are likely to be species specific and difficult to predict. We estimate that the core suitable habitat of bowhead whales will be almost halved by the end of this century, potentially influencing future population dynamics.

    Keywords: diatoms, sierra leone, stenopterobia, surirella, taxonomy, west africa


  • Gallardo, B., Aldridge, D.

    The ‘dirty dozen’: socio-economic factors amplify the invasion potential of 12 high-risk aquatic invasive species in Great Britain and Ireland

    Journal of Applied Ecology.

    1. Aquatic invasive species are a growing concern to environmental managers because of their diverse impacts on aquatic biodiversity and high eradication costs, necessitating effective management policies. In this study, we evaluate the ability of environmental and socio- economic factors to predict the risk of invasion in Great Britain and Ireland of 12 potential aquatic invaders covering all major aquatic groups. Despite their potential to inform risk assessments, this is the first time socio-economic factors related to propagule pressure have been specifically integrated in distribution modelling. 2. Species distribution models (SDM, MaxEnt algorithm) were calibrated with a set of envi- ronmental factors (e.g. bioclimatic, geographical and geological) and integrated with socio- economic (e.g. human influence index, population density, closeness to ports) predictors. 3. The inclusion of socio-economic factors in SDM did not affect accuracy scores (AUC already >090), but their effects were more pronounced in spatial predictions, resulting in up to a sixfold amplification of the area predicted suitable for each species. Despite the inclusion of potential surrogates of water chemistry (e.g. geology) and propagule pressure (e.g. popula- tion density), temperature-related variables were most important predictors of aquatic species’ distributions. 4. According to SDM, the environmental suitability for a suite of invaders belonging to dif- ferent taxonomic groups and regions of origin is greatest in east and south-east England and decreases towards the north and west. Multiple invasions in this region are of special concern, as species are known to modify their habitat facilitating subsequent invasions, thereby poten- tially exacerbating their impacts. 5. Major management regions to be prioritized in monitoring programmes include the Humber, Thames and Anglian River Basin Districts. Species of special concern include a mysid (Hemimysis anomala), a gammarid (Dikerogammarus villosus), a plant (Ludwigia grandiflora) and two crayfishes (Procambarus clarkii and P. fallax). 6. Synthesis and Applications. The inclusion of socio-economic factors in species distribution models has the potential to improve predictions of areas under a highest risk of multiple inva- sions and to help disentangle the complex interplay between biological invasions and global environmental and socio-economic processes. Such understanding is pivotal to prioritize limited resources for the optimum prevention and control of biological invasions.

    Keywords: Ameiurus melas, Corbicula fluminalis, Dikerogammarus villosus, Dreissena r. bugensis, Hemimysis anomala, Ludwigia grandiflora, MaxEnt, Neogobius melanostomus, Pro- cambarus sp., species distribution models


  • Gallardo, B., Aldridge, D.

    Evaluating the combined threat of climate change and biological invasions on endangered species

    Biological Conservation 160 225-233.

    Climate change and invasive species are two major biodiversity threats expected to provoke extinctions of many species in the future. This study evaluates the joint threat posed by climate change and two invasive species: the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) and the signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus), on the distribution of two endangered freshwater species: the depressed river mussel (Pseudanodonta complanata) and the white-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes), at the scale of Europe. We expected the native species to experience a gradual contraction over time in their geographic range size, while the invasive species would maintain or increase their spread; therefore, their overlap would increase, further threatening the conservation of the native species. To test these three hypotheses, ensemble species distribution models (SDMs) were calibrated with current distributions and projected onto present and 2050 future climatic scenarios. In agreement with our expectations, the 2050 scenarios suggested D. polymorpha may strongly benefit from climate changes (increase of 15–20% in range size), while the depressed river mussel would experience a considerable loss (14–36%), the overlap between both mussels increasing up to 24%. Although both crayfishes were predicted to be negatively affected by climate changes, the contraction was more severe for the invasive P. leniusculus (up to 32% decrease in range size). Moreover, the overlap between both crayfishes decreased by 13–16%, which may reduce the pressure upon the native A. pallipes. This study illustrates how SDMs can assist in management of endangered species over large spatial and temporal scales by identifying current and future areas of shared bioclimatic suitability and potential refugia.

    Keywords: Ameiurus melas, Corbicula fluminalis, Dikerogammarus villosus, Dreissena r. bugensis, Hemimysis anomala, Ludwigia grandiflora, MaxEnt, Neogobius melanostomus, Pro- cambarus sp., species distribution models


  • Gallardo, B., zu Ermgassen, P., Aldridge, D.

    Invasion ratcheting in the zebra mussel ( Dreissena polymorpha ) and the ability of native and invaded ranges to predict its global distribution

    (Journal name unavailable from Mendeley API. To be updated soon...)

    Aim: In this study, we investigate changes in the environmental niche of an important pest species, the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha), across its world-wide distribution. The ability of models based on the native (Ponto-Caspian) and invaded (Western European and North American) ranges to accurately model the potential distribution of zebra mussel elsewhere was also investigated. Location: Europe and North America. Methods: A comprehensive cross-continental occurrence database of the zebra mussel was used to explore the species' native and invaded ranges using univariate and multivariate analyses. In addition, ecological niche models (ENMs, employing MaxEnt) were used to investigate the ability of the native and invaded ranges to describe the species' distribution elsewhere. Results: We found the zebra mussel to occupy different, but partly overlapping, environmental niches in the native Ponto-Caspian region and invaded European and North American regions. Accordingly, the ENMs calibrated with the native range accurately predicted regions of early colonization in Europe and North America, but not the subsequent expansion. ENMs calibrated with data from the European range failed to describe the invaded range in North America, and vice versa. Climate suitability curves further confirmed a progressive spatio-temporal stretching of the climatic tolerance of the zebra mussel. Main conclusions: This study provides novel evidence of multiple episodes of niche expansion in a notorious invasive species, and supports the use of partial ranges to better understand the species' spatio-temporal history of invasion. Separately, the native and invaded ranges provided important information regarding the species' environmental tolerance and the regions that are most suitable for first colonization, as well as identifying regions at risk in the case of a possible reintroduction. Collectively, the differences between the three ecological niche projections of the zebra mussel demonstrate that niche expansion of an invasive species within a new geographical region promotes the organism's further invasion in space and time, a process known as invasion ratcheting.

    Keywords: bioclimatic factors, dreissena polymorpha, europe, geology, invasive species, maxent, niche expansion, niche models, north america, species distribution