For all researches, please visit our "Peer-reviewed publications" page.
Halouani G, Ben Rais Lasram F, Shin Y, Velez L, Verley P, Hattab T et al. (2016)
Modelling food web structure using an end-to-end approach in the coastal ecosystem of the Gulf of Gabes (Tunisia)
Ecological Modelling 339 45-57.
Given the ecological importance and high socio-economic value of the fishery of the Gulf of Gabes, an end-to-end model was applied to its continental shelf ecosystem to characterize the structure of the food web in the 2000s. This approach consisted in forcing a high trophic level model (OSMOSE) with an existing biogeochemical model (Eco3M-MED) representing the seasonal dynamics of the low trophic levels. The two models were linked through trophic interactions to represent the ecosystem dynamics from primary producers to top predators. In this study, we developed the multispecies, individual-based model OSMOSE in the Gulf of Gabes (OSMOSE-GoG). This model aims to capture the main processes that influence species life cycle and simulate the functioning of the ecosystem according to opportunistic predation process based on size selection and spatio-temporal co-occurrence between a predator and its prey. The spatial distribution of the eleven modelled species was derived from a Multi-Scale Species Distribution Modelling approach. We calibrated OSMOSE-GoG model with available data of biomass and fishing yield, using an optimization method based on evolutionary algorithms which is suitable for complex and stochastic models. Finally, OSMOSE-GoG was validated against independent data sets at different hierarchical levels: the individual (diet composition), population (mean size of commercial catch) and community levels (mean trophic level) following the Pattern-Oriented Modelling approach. The model outputs were overall consistent with the diet compositions and mean trophic levels derived from the ECOPATH model of the Gulf of Gabes (ECOPATH-GoG) and the observations of mean size of catches. The OSMOSE-GoG can be considered as a baseline model to investigate ecosystem responses to environmental changes and fishing management measures in the Gulf of Gabes.
Keywords: Ecosystem model, End-to-end modelling, Food web, Gulf of Gabes, Mediterranean Sea, OSMOSE
Sanín M, Kissling W, Bacon C, Borchsenius F, Galeano G, Svenning J et al. (2016)
The Neogene rise of the tropical Andes facilitated diversification of wax palms ( Ceroxylon : Arecaceae) through geographical colonization and climatic niche separation
Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society.
he tropical Andes are a biodiversity hotspot, partly due to their rich and complex floristic composition. A fundamental question regarding this outstanding biodiversity is what role the Andean orogeny has played in species diversification. Ceroxylon is a genus of endemic Andean palms that stands out in the palm family (Arecaceae) due to its adaptation to cold, mountainous environments. Here, we reconstruct the biogeography and climatic preference of this lineage to test the hypothesis that Andean uplift allowed diversification by providing suitable habitats along climatic and elevational gradients. Ancestral areas were reconstructed under a model allowing for founder-event speciation and climatic niches were inferred from climatic variables at present-day occurrences of all species. Niche evolution in a phylogenetic framework was evaluated by testing differences between the climatic niches of clades. Our analyses identified four main clades, with a general pattern of diversification through geographical colonization from south to north after the Pliocene uplift of the northern Andes. Adaptation to low temperatures was conserved at the generic level, with climatic niche differentiation among clades along elevational temperature gradients. We conclude that the Neogene Andean uplift has facilitated the diversification of this iconic plant group via opportunities for geographical migration and separation within its climatic niche
Keywords: Miocene, Neotropics, cold adaptation, niche shift, phylogenetic niche conservatism, range expansion
Thomas E, Gil Tobón C, Gutiérrez J, Alcázar Caicedo C, Moscoso Higuita L, Becerra L et al. (2016)
Genetic diversity of Enterolobium cyclocarpum in Colombian seasonally dry tropical forest: implications for conservation and restoration
Biodiversity and Conservation 1-18.
Enterolobium cyclocarpum is a characteristic legume tree species of seasonally dry tropical forests (SDTFs) of Mesoamerica and northern South America typically used in silvopastoral and agroforestry systems. Remaining populations of E. cyclocarpum in Colombia are severely fragmented owing to the highly degraded state of SDTF in the country, posing threats to both their in situ persistence and their usefulness as seed sources for future planting efforts. We genotyped E. cyclocarpum populations at nine sampling sites across a latitudinal gradient of SDTF in Colombia by means of eight nSSR markers to elucidate the species diversity distribution in the country. Our data suggest that a deep divide seems to have existed between Caribbean and Andean populations of E. cyclocarpum in Colombian SDTF that may date back to the last glacial maximum (~21,000 BP), or longer. However, we only found evidence of genetic differentiation between trees from the southern Cauca River valley and populations at more northern locations. All the latter populations showed signs of admixture which may be the result of human-influenced movement of germplasm, particularly after the introduction of cattle by European settlers. Most of the sampled sites showed heterozygosity scores close to Hardy–Weinberg expectations. Only the three southern-most populations displayed significantly positive values of inbreeding coefficient, potentially affecting their in situ maintenance and their use as seed sources. Based on our findings we identify priority areas for the in situ conservation of remaining E. cyclocarpum populations, and propose a strategy for sourcing of appropriate planting material for use in future tree planting efforts.
Keywords: Agroforestry, Conservation, Enterolobium cyclocarpum, Fragmentation, Paleodistribution, Seed zones, Suitability modelling
Baumann M, Beckman E, Bautista E, Witt C (2015)
Long-distance dispersal of a sedentary Andean flycatcher species with a small geographic range, Ochthoeca piurae (Aves: Tyrannidae)
Check List 11(6) 1795.
We report a Piura Chat-Tyrant ( Ochthoeca piurae ) ~300 km south of its known range. This record was unanticipated because the species is sedentary and restricted to a narrow eco-climatic zone in valleys of the dry western Andes of northwestern Peru. Southward dispersal would require crossing broad areas of unsuitable habitat. Riparian zones of the western Andes have been heavily impacted by humans over millennia. This observation suggests that native songbirds may be able to expand their distributions along the flanks of the Andes if woody vegetation is protected or restored.
Keywords: Andes, Lima, Peru, deforestation, dispersal, endemic, songbirds
Báez S, Malizia A, Carilla J, Blundo C, Aguilar M, Aguirre N et al. (2015)
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: Andes, Lima, Peru, deforestation, dispersal, endemic, songbirds
Castañeda-Álvarez N, de Haan S, Juárez H, Khoury C, Achicanoy H, Sosa C et al. (2015)
PloS one 10(4) e0122599.
Crop wild relatives have a long history of use in potato breeding, particularly for pest and disease resistance, and are expected to be increasingly used in the search for tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Their current and future use in crop improvement depends on their availability in ex situ germplasm collections. As these plants are impacted in the wild by habitat destruction and climate change, actions to ensure their conservation ex situ become ever more urgent. We analyzed the state of ex situ conservation of 73 of the closest wild relatives of potato (Solanum section Petota) with the aim of establishing priorities for further collecting to fill important gaps in germplasm collections. A total of 32 species (43.8%), were assigned high priority for further collecting due to severe gaps in their ex situ collections. Such gaps are most pronounced in the geographic center of diversity of the wild relatives in Peru. A total of 20 and 18 species were assessed as medium and low priority for further collecting, respectively, with only three species determined to be sufficiently represented currently. Priorities for further collecting include: (i) species completely lacking representation in germplasm collections; (ii) other high priority taxa, with geographic emphasis on the center of species diversity; (iii) medium priority species. Such collecting efforts combined with further emphasis on improving ex situ conservation technologies and methods, performing genotypic and phenotypic characterization of wild relative diversity, monitoring wild populations in situ, and making conserved wild relatives and their associated data accessible to the global research community, represent key steps in ensuring the long-term availability of the wild genetic resources of this important crop.
Keywords: Andes, Lima, Peru, deforestation, dispersal, endemic, songbirds
Householder J, Wittmann F, Tobler M, Janovec J (2015)
Montane bias in lowland Amazonian Peatlands: Plant assembly on heterogeneous landscapes and potential significance to palynological inference
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 423 138-148.
Past temperature changes in tropical mountain regions are commonly inferred from vertical elevational shifts of montane indicator taxa in the palynological record. However temperature is one of several abiotic factors driving the low-elevational limits of species and many montane taxa can occur in warmer lowlands by tracking appropriate habitat types, especially highly flooded wetlands. In this paper we explore ways in which lowland habitat heterogeneity might introduce error into paleo-temperature reconstructions, based on field data of seven modern peatland vegetation communities in the southern Peruvian Amazon (~200masl). Peat-rich substrates are common edaphic transitions in pollen cores and provide detailed records of past vegetation change. The data show that indicators of modern peatlands include genera with montane as well as lowland distributions, while indicators of surrounding forests on mineral substrates have predominantly lowland distributions. Based on family-level analyses we find that modern peatland vegetation communities have taxonomic compositions appearing to be 389m to 1557m (mean=1050±391m) above their actual elevations due to a high abundance and number of families with high elevation optima. We interpret the relatively higher prevalence of montane elements in modern peatlands as habitat tracking of a conserved montane niche on heterogeneous lowland landscapes. We suggest that both high moisture availability and stressful edaphic conditions of peatland habitat may explain the montane bias observed. To the extent that fossilization provides a better record of past vegetation that occurred proximate to the site of deposition, we suggest that habitat tracking of montane elements may introduce a cool bias in lowland paleo-temperature reconstructions based on pollen proxies.
Keywords: Amazon, Andes, Climate history, Gentry, Montane, Peatland, Wetland
Khoury C, Heider B, Castañeda-Álvarez N, Achicanoy H, Sosa C, Miller R et al. (2015)
Distributions, ex situ conservation priorities, and genetic resource potential of crop wild relatives of sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam., I. series Batatas].
Frontiers in plant science 6 251.
Crop wild relatives of sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam., I. series Batatas] have the potential to contribute to breeding objectives for this important root crop. Uncertainty in regard to species boundaries and their phylogenetic relationships, the limited availability of germplasm with which to perform crosses, and the difficulty of introgression of genes from wild species has constrained their utilization. Here, we compile geographic occurrence data on relevant sweetpotato wild relatives and produce potential distribution models for the species. We then assess the comprehensiveness of ex situ germplasm collections, contextualize these results with research and breeding priorities, and use ecogeographic information to identify species with the potential to contribute desirable agronomic traits. The fourteen species that are considered the closest wild relatives of sweetpotato generally occur from the central United States to Argentina, with richness concentrated in Mesoamerica and in the extreme Southeastern United States. Currently designated species differ among themselves and in comparison to the crop in their adaptations to temperature, precipitation, and edaphic characteristics and most species also show considerable intraspecific variation. With 79% of species identified as high priority for further collecting, we find that these crop genetic resources are highly under-represented in ex situ conservation systems and thus their availability to breeders and researchers is inadequate. We prioritize taxa and specific geographic locations for further collecting in order to improve the completeness of germplasm collections. In concert with enhanced conservation of sweetpotato wild relatives, further taxonomic research, characterization and evaluation of germplasm, and improving the techniques to overcome barriers to introgression with wild species are needed in order to mobilize these genetic resources for crop breeding.
Keywords: Crop Improvement, Crop diversity, Crop wild relatives, Food security, Gap analysis, Plant Genetic Resources
Sevink J, Verstraten JM, Kooijman AM, Loayza-Muro RA, Hoitinga L P (2015)
Rare Moss-Built Microterraces in a High-Altitude, Acid Mine Drainage-Polluted Stream (Cordillera Negra, Peru) - Springer
Water, Air, & Soil Pollution.
The Rio Santiago in the Cordillera Negra of Peru is severely contaminated by acid mine drainage in its headwaters. In a strongly acid stream, at about 3800 m above sea level (masl), microterraces were found with terrace walls built up of dead moss, with encrustations and interstitial fine, creamy sediment. The stream water was turbid due to the presence of similar suspended sediment, which also occurred as a thin basal layer in inter-rim basins. The moss was identified as the rare bryophyte Anomobryum prostratum (Müll. Hal.) Besch. Chemical and mineralogical analyses show that green, living parts of the moss are gradually coated by Al/Fe (hydr)oxides, inducing their senescence and death. The necromass is covered by creamy crusts through precipitation of schwertmannite-type material from the stream water and simultaneous ‘capture’ of fine sediment. The latter consists of a mixture of precipitate and fine detrital primary minerals. These processes are held responsible for the formation of the microterraces, which regarding their composition and environment seem to be unique. Remarkable is the high As content of the creamy crusts and sediment, attributed to strong sorption of As, whereas its solute concentration is relatively low. This calls for more attention to suspended fine sediment in the assessment of environmental risks of stream water use. Lastly, the results raise serious doubts about the use of aquatic bryophytes as bioindicator for chemical pollution in acid mine drainage-polluted streams.
Keywords: Acid mine drainage, Arsenic, Bryophyte Microterraces, Schwertmannite
Fajardo J, Lessmann J, Bonaccorso E, Devenish C, Muñoz J (2014)
Combined use of systematic conservation planning, species distribution modelling, and connectivity analysis reveals severe conservation gaps in a megadiverse country (peru).
PloS one 9(12) e114367.
Conservation planning is crucial for megadiverse countries where biodiversity is coupled with incomplete reserve systems and limited resources to invest in conservation. Using Peru as an example of a megadiverse country, we asked whether the national system of protected areas satisfies biodiversity conservation needs. Further, to complement the existing reserve system, we identified and prioritized potential conservation areas using a combination of species distribution modeling, conservation planning and connectivity analysis. Based on a set of 2,869 species, including mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, and plants, we used species distribution models to represent species' geographic ranges to reduce the effect of biased sampling and partial knowledge about species' distributions. A site-selection algorithm then searched for efficient and complementary proposals, based on the above distributions, for a more representative system of protection. Finally, we incorporated connectivity among areas in an innovative post-hoc analysis to prioritize those areas maximizing connectivity within the system. Our results highlight severe conservation gaps in the Coastal and Andean regions, and we propose several areas, which are not currently covered by the existing network of protected areas. Our approach helps to find areas that contribute to creating a more representative, connected and efficient network.
Keywords: Peru, amphibians, biodiversity, birds, conservation scince, endangered species, mammals, reptiles