For all researches, please visit our "Peer-reviewed publications" page.
Guénard B, Weiser M, Gómez K, Narula N, Economo E (2017)
The Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics (GABI) database: synthesizing data on the geographic distribution of ant species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)
Myrmecological News 24 83-89.
The global distribution patterns of most vertebrate groups and several plant groups have been described and analyzed over the past few years, a development facilitated by the compilation of important databases. Similar efforts are needed for large insect groups that constitute he majority of global biodiversity. As a result of this lack of information, invertebrate taxa are often left out of both large-scale analyses of biodiversity patterns and large-scale efforts in conservation planning and prioritization. Here, we introduce the first comprehensive global database of ant species distributions, the Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics (GABI) database, based on the compilation of 1.72 million records extracted from over 8811 publications and 25 existing databases. We first present the main goals of the database, the methodology used to build the database, is well as its limitations and challenges. Then, we discuss how different fields of ant biology may benefit from utilizing this tool. Finally, we emphasize the importance of future participation of myrmecologists to improve the database and use it to identify and fill holes in our knowledge of ant biodiversity.
Keywords: Formicidae, ants, biogeography, database, ecoinformatics, global distribution, species distribution
Tang C, Dong Y, Herrando-Moraira S, Matsui T, Ohashi H, He L et al. (2017)
Potential effects of climate change on geographic distribution of the Tertiary relict tree species Davidia involucrata in China
Scientific Reports 7 43822.
This study, using species distribution modeling (involving a new approach that allows for uncertainty), predicts the distribution of climatically suitable areas prevailing during the mid-Holocene, the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), and at present, and estimates the potential formation of new habitats in 2070 of the endangered and rare Tertiary relict tree Davidia involucrata Baill. The results regarding the mid-Holocene and the LGM demonstrate that south-central and southwestern China have been long-term stable refugia, and that the current distribution is limited to the prehistoric refugia. Given future distribution under six possible climate scenarios, only some parts of the current range of D. involucrata in the mid-high mountains of south-central and southwestern China would be maintained, while some shift west into higher mountains would occur. Our results show that the predicted suitable area offering high probability (0.5‒1) accounts for an average of only 29.2% among the models predicted for the future (2070), making D. involucrata highly vulnerable. We assess and propose priority protected areas in light of climate change. The information provided will also be relevant in planning conservation of other paleoendemic species having ecological traits and distribution ranges comparable to those of D. involucrata.
Keywords: Formicidae, ants, biogeography, database, ecoinformatics, global distribution, species distribution
Yamakita T, Sudo K, Jintsu-Uchifune Y, Yamamoto H, Shirayama Y (2017)
Identification of important marine areas using ecologically or biologically significant areas (EBSAs) criteria in the East to Southeast Asia region and comparison with existing registered areas for the purpose of conservation
Marine Policy 81 273-284.
The biodiversity of East to Southeast (E–SE) Asian waters is rapidly declining because of anthropogenic effects ranging from local environmental pressures to global warming. To improve marine biodiversity, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets were adopted in 2010. The recommendation of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), encourages application of the ecologically or biologically significant area (EBSA) process to identify areas for conservation. However, there are few examples of the use of EBSA criteria to evaluate entire oceans. In this article, seven criteria are numerically evaluated to identify important marine areas (EBSA candidates) in the E–SE Asia region. The discussion includes 1) the possibility of EBSA criteria quantification throughout the E–SE Asia oceans and the suitability of the indices selected; 2) optimal integration methods for criteria, and the relationships between the criteria and data robustness and completeness; and; 3) a comparison of the EBSA candidates identified and existing registered areas for the purpose of conservation, such as marine protected areas (MPAs). Most of the EBSA criteria could be quantitatively evaluated throughout the Asia-Pacific region. However, three criteria in particular showed a substantial lack of data. Our methodological comparison showed that complementarity analysis performed better than summation because it considered criteria that were evaluated only in limited areas. Most of the difference between present-day registered areas and our results for EBSAs resulted from a lack of data and differences in philosophy for the selection of indices.
Keywords: Complementarity, East Asia, Ecologically or biologically significant area (EBS, Gap analysis, Southeast Asia, West Pacific ocean
Cruz R, Baseia I, Hosaka K (2016)
Bulletin of the National Museum of Nature and Science. Series B, Botany 42(2) 49-55.
Nidula niveotomentosa and Crucibulum laeve are distributed widely in temperate countries, but the true distribution in Japan has not been investigated. We hereby update the distribution record of these two species in Japan based on observation of morphological characters from recently collected samples from some areas in Japan, e.g., Chichibu, Nikko, Mt. Fuji and Mt. Daisen, as well as the distribution data from GBIF and other herbarium records. Detailed description of macro-and microscopic characters with photographs and distribution records in each prefecture in Japan are provided.
Keywords: GBIF, herbarium, mushrooms, specimens, taxonomy
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
Moyes C, Shearer F, Huang Z, Wiebe A, Gibson H, Nijman V et al. (2016)
Predicting the geographical distributions of the macaque hosts and mosquito vectors of Plasmodium knowlesi malaria in forested and non-forested areas.
Parasites & vectors 9(1) 242.
BACKGROUND: Plasmodium knowlesi is a zoonotic pathogen, transmitted among macaques and to humans by anopheline mosquitoes. Information on P. knowlesi malaria is lacking in most regions so the first step to understand the geographical distribution of disease risk is to define the distributions of the reservoir and vector species. METHODS: We used macaque and mosquito species presence data, background data that captured sampling bias in the presence data, a boosted regression tree model and environmental datasets, including annual data for land classes, to predict the distributions of each vector and host species. We then compared the predicted distribution of each species with cover of each land class. RESULTS: Fine-scale distribution maps were generated for three macaque host species (Macaca fascicularis, M. nemestrina and M. leonina) and two mosquito vector complexes (the Dirus Complex and the Leucosphyrus Complex). The Leucosphyrus Complex was predicted to occur in areas with disturbed, but not intact, forest cover (> 60 % tree cover) whereas the Dirus Complex was predicted to occur in areas with 10-100 % tree cover as well as vegetation mosaics and cropland. Of the macaque species, M. nemestrina was mainly predicted to occur in forested areas whereas M. fascicularis was predicted to occur in vegetation mosaics, cropland, wetland and urban areas in addition to forested areas. CONCLUSIONS: The predicted M. fascicularis distribution encompassed a wide range of habitats where humans are found. This is of most significance in the northern part of its range where members of the Dirus Complex are the main P. knowlesi vectors because these mosquitoes were also predicted to occur in a wider range of habitats. Our results support the hypothesis that conversion of intact forest into disturbed forest (for example plantations or timber concessions), or the creation of vegetation mosaics, will increase the probability that members of the Leucosphyrus Complex occur at these locations, as well as bringing humans into these areas. An explicit analysis of disease risk itself using infection data is required to explore this further. The species distributions generated here can now be included in future analyses of P. knowlesi infection risk.
Keywords: Entomology, Infectious Diseases, Parasitology, Tropical Medicine
Osawa T, Kohyama K, Mitsuhashi H (2016)
Trade-off relationship between modern agriculture and biodiversity: Heavy consolidation work has a long-term negative impact on plant species diversity
Land Use Policy 54 78-84.
Human-driven land-use changes often cause a decline in biodiversity. Although traditional agricultural practices maintained biodiversity at high levels, recent land-use changes may have negative consequences on species composition. In this study, we examined the hypothesis that land consolidation, which is a major recent land-use change in agricultural areas, decreases plant species diversity over the long term (the so-called negative legacy). To test this hypothesis, we examined the relationships between consolidated areas and the occurrence of threatened plant species across Japan and at the prefecture scale. Twenty-three threatened plant species were selected, all of which were formerly common. Our results show that areas containing records of threatened plant species rarely experienced consolidation at whole-country and prefectural scales. Breakdown analysis showed that unconsolidated agricultural areas contained significantly more threatened species than consolidated agricultural areas. These results suggest that threatened plant species require unconsolidated agricultural areas (i.e., these species could not grow in consolidated areas). Thus, we propose that consolidation history could be used as an indicator of the potential for biodiversity recovery. We also suggest that consolidated agricultural areas should be used for food production rather than for the restoration of biodiversity, for reasons of cost efficiency.
Keywords: Agricultural ecosystem, Biodiversity, Land-use change, Overuse, Red data book, Red list
Wepfer P, Guénard B, Economo E (2016)
Journal of Biogeography.
Aim Biodiversity patterns reflect both ecological and evolutionary processes interacting with geographical variation in climate and the current and historical connectivity between land areas. We sought to disentangle these effects in explaining the organization of ant diversity across geographical areas and islands in East Asia. Location The Japanese Archipelago including the Ryukyu and Ogasawara Islands, Taiwan and coastal continental regions of Korea, China and Russia. Methods We aggregated species occurrence records from published literature, specimen databases and museum records, and compiled climatic variables for islands and politically defined continental areas. Current and historical land connections in the Last Glacial Maximum were determined using bathymetric databases. We analysed factors driving patterns of Simpson composition dissimilarity using multiple regression of distance matrices. Results Temperature was the largest driver of dissimilarity among areas, with geographical distance and historical land contiguity also being important. Current land contiguity had no detectable effect. Main conclusions We found climate to be a primary driver of ant diversity patterns on large scales, consistent with previous work on ants and other organisms. Interestingly, land connectivity during historical periods of low sea level was more important than current land connectivity in explaining faunal similarities. This implies that despite the potential overwater dispersal of ants, overland dispersal via transient land connections is a more important driver of regional-scale biogeographical pattern in East Asia.
Keywords: East Asia, Japan, LGM, MRM, ants, beta diversity, dispersal, dissimilarity, island biogeography, land connectivity
Ytow N (2016)
Taxonaut: an application software for comparative display of multiple taxonomies with a use case of GBIF Species API
Biodiversity Data Journal 4 e9787.
Background The Species API of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) provides public access to taxonomic data aggregated from multiple data sources. Each data source follows its own classification which can be inconsistent with classifications from other sources. Even with a reference classification e.g. the GBIF Backbone taxonomy, a comprehensive method to compare classifications in the data aggregation is essential, especially for non-expert users. New information A Java application was developed to compare multiple taxonomies graphically using classification data acquired from GBIF’s ChecklistBank via the GBIF Species API. It uses a table to display taxonomies where each column represents a taxonomy under comparison, with an aligner column to organise taxa by name. Each cell contains the name of a taxon if the classification in that column contains the name. Each column also has a cell showing the hierarchy of the taxonomy by a folder metaphor where taxa are aligned and synchronised in the aligner column. A set of those comparative tables shows taxa categorised by relationship between taxonomies. The result set is also available as tables in an Excel format file.
Keywords: Data visualization, GBIF API, Multiple hierarchies, Tree comparison
Zhang D, Ye Z, Yamada K, Zhen Y, Zheng C, Bu W et al. (2016)
Pleistocene sea level fluctuation and host plant habitat requirement influenced the historical phylogeography of the invasive species Amphiareus obscuriceps (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) in its native range
BMC Evolutionary Biology 16(1) 174.
On account of repeated exposure and submergence of the East China Sea (ECS) land bridge, sea level fluctuation played an important role in shaping the population structure of many temperate species across the ECS during the glacial period. The flower bug Amphiareus obscuriceps (Poppius, 1909) (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) is an invasive species native to the Sino-Japanese Region (SJR) of East Asia. We tested the hypothesis of the ECS land bridge acting as a dispersal corridor or filter for A. obscuriceps during the glacial period. Specifically, we tested whether and the extent to which dispersal ability and host plant habitat requirement influenced the genetic structure of A. obscuriceps during the exposure of the ECS land bridge. Phylogenetic and network analyses indicated that A. obscuriceps is composed of two major lineages, i.e., China and Japan. Divergence time on both sides of the ECS was estimated to be approximately 1.07 (0.79–1.32) Ma, which was about the same period that the sea level increased. No significant Isolation by Distance (IBD) relationship was found between Фst and Euclidean distances in the Mantel tests, which is consistent with the hypothesis that this species has a good dispersal ability. Our Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) niche modeling of plants that constitute preferred habitats for A. obscuriceps exhibited a similar habitat gap on the exposed ECS continental shelf between China and Japan, but showed a continuous distribution across the Taiwan Strait. Our results suggest that ecological properties (habitat requirement and dispersal ability), together with sea level fluctuation during the Pleistocene across the ECS, have shaped the genetic structure and demographic history of A. obscuriceps in its native area. The host plant habitat requirement could also be a key to the colonization of the A. obscuriceps species during the exposure of the ECS land bridge. Our findings will shed light on the potential role of habitat requirement in the process of biological invasion in future studies.
Keywords: Cological niche modeling, Dispersal ability, East China Sea, Genetic structure, Habitat requirement, Land bridge, Last Glacial, Maximum