Uses of GBIF in scientific research

Peer-reviewed research citing GBIF as a data source, with at least one author from Portugal.
For all researches, please visit our "Peer-reviewed publications" page.

List of publications

  • Araújo R, Assis J, Aguillar R, Airoldi L, Bárbara I, Bartsch I et al. (2016)

    Status, trends and drivers of kelp forests in Europe: an expert assessment

    Biodiversity and Conservation 25(7) 1319-1348.

    A comprehensive expert consultation was conducted in order to assess the status, trends and the most important drivers of change in the abundance and geographical distribution of kelp forests in European waters. This consultation included an on-line questionnaire, results from a workshop and data provided by a selected group of experts working on kelp forest mapping and eco-evolutionary research. Differences in status and trends according to geographical areas, species identity and small-scale variations within the same habitat where shown by assembling and mapping kelp distribution and trend data. Significant data gaps for some geographical regions, like the Mediterranean and the southern Iberian Peninsula, were also identified. The data used for this study confirmed a general trend with decreasing abundance of some native kelp species at their southern distributional range limits and increasing abundance in other parts of their distribution (Saccharina latissima and Saccorhiza polyschides). The expansion of the introduced species Undaria pinnatifida was also registered. Drivers of observed changes in kelp forests distribution and abundance were assessed using experts’ opinions. Multiple possible drivers were identified, including global warming, sea urchin grazing, harvesting, pollution and fishing pressure, and their impact varied between geographical areas. Overall, the results highlight major threats for these ecosystems but also opportunities for conservation. Major requirements to ensure adequate protection of coastal kelp ecosystems along European coastlines are discussed, based on the local to regional gaps detected in the study.

    Keyword: Kelp forests Expert consultation Status and tempor

  • Leite Y, Costa L, Loss A, Rocha R, Batalha-Filho H, Bastos A et al. (2016)

    Neotropical forest expansion during the last glacial period challenges refuge hypothesis.

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 1513062113-.

    The forest refuge hypothesis (FRH) has long been a paradigm for explaining the extreme biological diversity of tropical forests. According to this hypothesis, forest retraction and fragmentation during glacial periods would have promoted reproductive isolation and consequently speciation in forest patches (ecological refuges) surrounded by open habitats. The recent use of paleoclimatic models of species and habitat distributions revitalized the FRH, not by considering refuges as the main drivers of allopatric speciation, but instead by suggesting that high contemporary diversity is associated with historically stable forest areas. However, the role of the emerged continental shelf on the Atlantic Forest biodiversity hotspot of eastern South America during glacial periods has been ignored in the literature. Here, we combined results of species distribution models with coalescent simulations based on DNA sequences to explore the congruence between scenarios of forest dynamics through time and the genetic structure of mammal species cooccurring in the central region of the Atlantic Forest. Contrary to the FRH predictions, we found more fragmentation of suitable habitats during the last interglacial (LIG) and the present than in the last glacial maximum (LGM), probably due to topography. We also detected expansion of suitable climatic conditions onto the emerged continental shelf during the LGM, which would have allowed forests and forest-adapted species to expand. The interplay of sea level and land distribution must have been crucial in the biogeographic history of the Atlantic Forest, and forest refuges played only a minor role, if any, in this biodiversity hotspot during glacial periods.

    Keywords: Atlantic Forest, Quaternary, continental shelf, last glacial maximum, sea level

  • Soares de Oliveira I, Rödder D, Capinha C, Ahmadzadeh F, Karlokoski Cunha de Oliveira A, Toledo L (2016)

    Assessing future habitat availability for coastal lowland anurans in the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest

    Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment 51(1) 45-55.

    ABSTRACTGlobal warming is expected to cause several modifications to physical environments, and sea level rise is a certain outcome. However, assessment of the potential impacts caused by sea level rise on biodiversity is still emerging. Therefore, we assessed the combined impact of global warming and sea level rise on the potential distribution of 19 coastal lowland anurans in the biodiversity hotspot Atlantic Forest. We applied a correlative species distribution model (SDM) (BIOCLIM) and GIS-based spatial analyses. We evaluated the extent of changes of potential distributions under extreme and moderate global warming scenarios as well as two extreme sea level rise scenarios. Our results suggest wide areas of suitable habitat for most species in the future. However, for 15% of these species the SDMs predict massive losses of range extent as a result of a combination of global warming and sea level rise. Such observations highlight an immediate need to consider the potential effects of sea level rise in c...

    Keywords: Amphibian conservation, biodiversity hotspot, global warming, habitat suitability, species distribution model

  • Assis J, Zupan M, Nicastro K, Zardi G, McQuaid C, Serrão E (2015)

    Oceanographic Conditions Limit the Spread of a Marine Invader along Southern African Shores.

    PloS one 10(6) e0128124.

    Invasive species can affect the function and structure of natural ecological communities, hence understanding and predicting their potential for spreading is a major ecological challenge. Once established in a new region, the spread of invasive species is largely controlled by their dispersal capacity, local environmental conditions and species interactions. The mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis is native to the Mediterranean and is the most successful marine invader in southern Africa. Its distribution there has expanded rapidly and extensively since the 1970s, however, over the last decade its spread has ceased. In this study, we coupled broad scale field surveys, Ecological Niche Modelling (ENM) and Lagrangian Particle Simulations (LPS) to assess the current invaded distribution of M. galloprovincialis in southern Africa and to evaluate what prevents further spread of this species. Results showed that all environmentally suitable habitats in southern Africa have been occupied by the species. This includes rocky shores between Rocky Point in Namibia and East London in South Africa (approx. 2800 km) and these limits coincide with the steep transitions between cool-temperate and subtropical-warmer climates, on both west and southeast African coasts. On the west coast, simulations of drifting larvae almost entirely followed the northward and offshore direction of the Benguela current, creating a clear dispersal barrier by advecting larvae away from the coast. On the southeast coast, nearshore currents give larvae the potential to move eastwards, against the prevalent Agulhas current and beyond the present distributional limit, however environmental conditions prevent the establishment of the species. The transition between the cooler and warmer water regimes is therefore the main factor limiting the northern spread on the southeast coast; however, biotic interactions with native fauna may also play an important role.

    Keywords: Amphibian conservation, biodiversity hotspot, global warming, habitat suitability, species distribution model

  • Chefaoui R, Assis J, Duarte C, Serrão E (2015)

    Large-Scale Prediction of Seagrass Distribution Integrating Landscape Metrics and Environmental Factors: The Case of Cymodocea nodosa (Mediterranean–Atlantic)

    Estuaries and Coasts.

    Understanding the factors that affect seagrass meadows encompassing their entire range of distribution is challenging yet important for their conservation. Here, we predict the realized and potential distribution for the species Cymodocea nodosa modelling its environmental niche in the Mediterranean and adjacent Atlantic coastlines. We use a combination of environmental variables and landscape metrics to perform a suite of predictive algorithms which enables examination of the niche and find suitable habitats for the species. The most relevant environmental variables defining the distribution of C. nodosa were sea surface temperature (SST) and salinity. We found suitable habitats at SST from 5.8 °C to 26.4 °C and salinity ranging from 17.5 to 39.3. Optimal values of mean winter wave height ranged between 1.2 and 1.5 m, while waves higher than 2.5 m seemed to limit the presence of the species. The influence of nutrients and pH, despite having weight on the models, was not so clear in terms of ranges that confine the distribution of the species. Landscape metrics able to capture variation in the coastline enhanced significantly the accuracy of the models, despite the limitations caused by the scale of the study. We found potential suitable areas not occupied by the seagrass mainly in coastal regions of North Africa and the Adriatic coast of Italy. The present study describes the realized and potential distribution of a seagrass species, providing the first global model of the factors that can be shaping the environmental niche of C. nodosa throughout its range. We identified the variables constraining its distribution as well as thresholds delineating its environmental niche. Landscape metrics showed promising prospects for the prediction of coastal species dependent on the shape of the coast. By contrasting predictive approaches, we defined the variables affecting the distributional areas that seem unsuitable for C. nodosa as well as those suitable habitats not occupied by the species. These findings are encouraging for its use in future studies on climate-related marine range shifts and meadow restoration projects of these fragile ecosystems.

    Keywords: Coastal morphology, Cymodocea nodosa, Environmental niche, Landscape metrics, Seagrass, Species distribution modelling

  • Fernández M, Navarro L, Apaza-Quevedo A, Gallegos S, Marques A, Zambrana-Torrelio C et al. (2015)

    Challenges and opportunities for the Bolivian Biodiversity Observation Network

    Biodiversity 1-13.

    Pragmatic methods to assess the status of biodiversity at multiple scales are required to support conservation decision-making. At the intersection of several major biogeographic zones, Bolivia has extraordinary potential to develop a monitoring strategy aligned with the objectives of the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON). Bolivia, a GEO Observer since 2005, is already working on the adequacy of national earth observations towards the objectives of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). However, biodiversity is still an underrepresented component in this initiative. The integration of biodiversity into Bolivia’s GEO framework would confirm the need for a country level biodiversity monitoring strategy, fundamental to assess the progress towards the 2020 Aichi targets. Here we analyse and discuss two aspects of the process of developing such a strategy: (1) identification of taxonomic, temporal and spatial coverage of biodiversity data to detect both ava...

    Keywords: Bolivia, GEO BON, baseline, big data integration, biodiversity, monitoring

  • Paterson R, Kumar L, Taylor S, Lima N (2015)

    Future climate effects on suitability for growth of oil palms in Malaysia and Indonesia

    Scientific Reports 5 14457.

    The production of palm oil (PO) is highly profitable. The economies of the principal producers, Malaysia and Indonesia, and others, benefit considerably. Climate change (CC) will most likely have an impact on the distribution of oil palms (OP) (Elaeis guineensis). Here we present modelled CC projections with respect to the suitability of growing OP, in Malaysia and Indonesia. A process-oriented niche model of OP was developed using CLIMEX to estimate its potential distribution under current and future climate scenarios. Two Global Climate Models (GCMs), CSIRO-Mk3.0 and MIROC-H, were used to explore the impacts of CC under the A1B and A2 scenarios for 2030, 2070 and 2100. Decreases in climatic suitability for OP in the region were gradual by 2030 but became more pronounced by 2100. These projections imply that OP growth will be affected severely by CC, with obvious implications to the economies of (a) Indonesia and Malaysia and (b) the PO industry, but with potential benefits towards reducing CC. A possible remedial action is to concentrate research on development of new varieties of OP that are less vulnerable to CC.

    Keywords: Bolivia, GEO BON, baseline, big data integration, biodiversity, monitoring

  • Silva-Rocha I, Salvi D, Sillero N, Mateo J, Carretero M (2015)

    Snakes on the Balearic islands: an invasion tale with implications for native biodiversity conservation.

    PloS one 10(4) e0121026.

    Biological invasions are a major conservation threat for biodiversity worldwide. Islands are particularly vulnerable to invasive species, especially Mediterranean islands which have suffered human pressure since ancient times. In the Balearic archipelago, reptiles represent an outstanding case with more alien than native species. Moreover, in the last decade a new wave of alien snakes landed in the main islands of the archipelago, some of which were originally snake-free. The identification of the origin and colonization pathways of alien species, as well as the prediction of their expansion, is crucial to develop effective conservation strategies. In this study, we used molecular markers to assess the allochthonous status and the putative origin of the four introduced snake species (Hemorrhois hippocrepis, Malpolon monspessulanus, Macroprotodon mauritanicus and Rhinechis scalaris) as well as ecological niche models to infer their patterns of invasion and expansion based on current and future habitat suitability. For most species, DNA sequence data suggested the Iberian Peninsula as the potential origin of the allochthonous populations, although the shallow phylogeographic structure of these species prevented the identification of a restricted source-area. For all of them, the ecological niche models showed a current low habitat suitability in the Balearic, which is however predicted to increase significantly in the next few decades under climate change scenarios. Evidence from direct observations and spatial distribution of the first-occurrence records of alien snakes (but also lizards and worm lizards) suggest the nursery trade, and in particular olive tree importation from Iberian Peninsula, as the main pathway of introduction of alien reptiles in the Balearic islands. This trend has been reported also for recent invasions in NE Spain, thus showing that olive trees transplantation may be an effective vector for bioinvasion across the Mediterranean. The combination of molecular and ecological tools used in this study reveals a promising approach for the understanding of the complex invasion process, hence guiding conservation management actions.

    Keywords: Bolivia, GEO BON, baseline, big data integration, biodiversity, monitoring

  • Strona G, Fattorini S, Montano S, Seveso D, Galli P, San-Miguel-Ayanz J (2015)

    ECo: A new measure evaluating the degree of consistency between environmental factors and spatial arrangement of species assemblages

    Ecological Indicators 52 66-74.

    We introduce a measure of Environmental Consistency (ECo), which assesses the probability of reducing homogeneity in the environmental factors within a species’ distribution by randomly displacing its occurrences. ECo is computed by applying null model analysis to a species incidence matrix where each locality is associated with a set of environmental values. Environmental homogeneity is measured, for each species, as the average multiparametric distance between any pair of localities where the species occurs. ECo can account for the effect of species interactions and resource availability by using different null models that permit or forbid occurrence displacements altering species local abundance or species prevalence. ECo provides researchers with a flexible statistical framework to address a wide range of ecological and biogeographical issues. We investigated in depth the properties and the potentialities of ECo, showing how it integrates the concepts of Eltonian and Grinnelian niches. We demonstrate that a close relationship exists between niche breadth at species level and environmental consistency of species assemblages. In addition, we provide evidence that ecological consistency is closely related to species range. A software to compute ECo is freely available at

    Keywords: Biodiversity, Environmental layers, European trees, Fish, Species-area matrix, Terrestrial vertebrates

  • van Kleunen M, Dawson W, Essl F, Pergl J, Winter M, Weber E et al. (2015)

    Global exchange and accumulation of non-native plants

    Nature 525(7567) 100-103.

    All around the globe, humans have greatly altered the abiotic and biotic environment with ever-increasing speed. One defining feature of the Anthropocene epoch1, 2 is the erosion of biogeographical barriers by human-mediated dispersal of species into new regions, where they can naturalize and cause ecological, economic and social damage3. So far, no comprehensive analysis of the global accumulation and exchange of alien plant species between continents has been performed, primarily because of a lack of data. Here we bridge this knowledge gap by using a unique global database on the occurrences of naturalized alien plant species in 481 mainland and 362 island regions. In total, 13,168 plant species, corresponding to 3.9% of the extant global vascular flora, or approximately the size of the native European flora, have become naturalized somewhere on the globe as a result of human activity. North America has accumulated the largest number of naturalized species, whereas the Pacific Islands show the fastest increase in species numbers with respect to their land area. Continents in the Northern Hemisphere have been the major donors of naturalized alien species to all other continents. Our results quantify for the first time the extent of plant naturalizations worldwide, and illustrate the urgent need for globally integrated efforts to control, manage and understand the spread of alien species.

    Keywords: Biodiversity, Biogeography, Invasive species, Macroecology