For all researches, please visit our "Peer-reviewed publications" page.
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
Gull T, Anwar F, Sultana B, Alcayde M, Nouman W (2015)
Industrial Crops and Products 67 81-96.
Capparis species, also known as Caper plants, are recognized as a potential source of valuable nutrients and biochemical compounds with physiological functions. The multiple biological activities including antibacterial, antifungal, hepatoprotective, anthelmintic, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antihyperlipidemic as well as folk medicinal uses of Caper plants have been ascribed to the presence of functional bioactives, such as phenolic acids, flavonoids, alkaloids, phytosterols, natural sugars, vitamins, and organic acids. In view of the high nutritional value and traditional food and folk medicinal uses of Capparis species, it is important to compile a comprehensive review on related aspects of these multipurposes plants. Hence, the present review manuscript focuses on the detailed profile of valuable nutrients and biochemical compounds as well as medicinal health functions and biological activities of selected species of Capparis, so as to explore their potential uses as ingredients of functional food and nutraceuticals and natural pharmaceutics.
Keywords: Biological attributes, Caper, Folk medicinal uses, Food value, Functional compounds, Phytochemistry
Robiansyah I, Hajar A (2015)
Predicting Current and Future Distribution of Endangered Tree Dracaena ombet Kotschy and Peyr. Under Climate Change
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, India Section B: Biological Sciences.
The endangered tree Dracaena ombet Kotschy and Peyr. (Asparagaceae) is a native of Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Sudan. The tree has been experiencing population decline throughout its native ranges due to overgrazing, attack by pathogens, human overexploitation, and climate change. The conservation actions for this tree are hindered due to poor information on its geographical distribution. Using published occurrence data, current and future distribution of D. ombet under climate change was predicted in the present study using MaxEnt. The model performed better than random with area under the curve and true skill statistical values were 0.979 ± 0.034 and 0.724 ± 0.419, respectively. The tree was predicted to be found on mountain chain around the Red Sea with slope and precipitation being the most influential factors. Future prediction of D. ombet showed major loss of habitat in Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan. In Saudi Arabia, however, most of the population could deal with future climate and some population even could expand their ranges to higher latitude. The results from the present study can be used as a basis for further detailed survey of D. ombet and for planning the conservation actions needed to conserve the species, especially in dealing with future climate change.
Keywords: Climate change, Dracaena ombet, Endangered tree, MaxEnt, Modeling
van Kleunen M, Dawson W, Essl F, Pergl J, Winter M, Weber E et al. (2015)
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