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Testo, W. L., A. L. de Gasper, S. Molino, J. M. G. y Galán, A. Salino, V. A. de O. Dittrich, and E. B. Sessa. 2022. Deep vicariance and frequent transoceanic dispersal shape the evolutionary history of a globally distributed fern family. American Journal of Botany.

Premise Historical biogeography of ferns is typically expected to be dominated by long-distance dispersal, due to their minuscule spores. However, few studies have inferred the historical biogeography of a large and widely distributed group of ferns to test this hypothesis. Our aims are to determine the extent to which long-distance dispersal vs. vicariance have shaped the history of the fern family Blechnaceae, to explore ecological correlates of dispersal and diversification, and to determine whether these patterns differ between the northern and southern hemispheres. Methods We used sequence data for three chloroplast loci to infer a time-calibrated phylogeny for 154 out of 265 species of Blechnaceae, including representatives of all genera in the family. This tree was used to conduct ancestral range reconstruction and stochastic character mapping, estimate diversification rates, and identify ecological correlates of diversification. Key results Blechnaceae originated in Eurasia and began diversifying in the late Cretaceous. A lineage comprising most extant diversity diversified principally in the austral Pacific region around the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. Land connections that existed near the poles during periods of warm climates likely facilitated migration of several lineages, with subsequent climate-mediated vicariance shaping current distributions. Long-distance dispersal is frequent and asymmetrical, with New Zealand/Pacific Islands, Australia, and tropical America being major source areas. Conclusions Ancient vicariance and extensive long-distance dispersal have shaped the history of Blechnaceae in both the northern and southern hemispheres. The exceptional diversity in austral regions appears to reflect rapid speciation in these areas; mechanisms underlying this evolutionary success remain uncertain.

Xu, X.-T., J. Szwedo, D.-Y. Huang, W.-Y.-D. Deng, M. Obroślak, F.-X. Wu, and T. Su. 2022. A New Genus of Spittlebugs (Hemiptera, Cercopidae) from the Eocene of Central Tibetan Plateau. Insects 13: 770.

The superfamily Cercopoidea is commonly named as “spittlebugs”, as its nymphs produce a spittle mass to protect themselves. Cosmoscartini (Cercopoidea: Cercopidae) is a large and brightly colored Old World tropical tribe, including 11 genera. A new genus Nangamostethos gen. nov. (type species: Nangamostethostibetense sp. nov.) of Cosmoscartini is described from Niubao Formation, the late Eocene of central Tibetan Plateau (TP), China. Its placement is ensured by comparison with all the extant genera of the tribe Cosmoscartini. The new fossil represents one of few fossil Cercopidae species described from Asia. It is likely that Nangamostethos was extinct from the TP due to the regional aridification and an overturn of plant taxa in the late Paleogene.

Vilardo, G., M. Faccoli, J. C. Corley, and M. V. Lantschner. 2022. Factors driving historic intercontinental invasions of European pine bark beetles. Biological Invasions 24: 2973–2991.

Largely assisted by global trade, alien insect species are being introduced into new territories at unprecedented rates. Among forest insects, pine bark beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) are a large and diverse group commonly recognized as successful invaders and important tree mortality agents in pine forests and commercial plantations. In this study, we collected information on the native and invaded distribution of 51 European bark beetles developing in Pinus species. We analyzed their invasion history in the Southern Hemisphere and the Americas and explored several factors that can help explain their invasion success: (1) propagule pressure: interception frequency in the non-native range(2) invasibility: potential establishment area based on climatic matching and host availability and (3) invasiveness: biological traits of the bark beetles ( i.e. , feeding habit, host range, body size, mating system, colonization behavior). We found that most (87%) of the introductions of the species to new regions occurred in the period 1960–2013, and that variables related with the three main factors were relevant in explaining invasion success. Propagule pressure was the factor that best explained bark beetle invasion probability, followed by invasibility of the novel area. In turn, biological attributes like mating system, body size and host range were also relevant, but showed a lower relative importance. Our study contributes to understand the main factors that explain forest insect invasion success. This information is critical for predicting future invasions to new regions and optimizing early-detection and biosecurity policies.

Chevalier, M. 2022. <i>crestr</i>: an R package to perform probabilistic climate reconstructions from palaeoecological datasets. Climate of the Past 18: 821–844.

Abstract. Statistical climate reconstruction techniques are fundamental tools to study past climate variability from fossil proxy data. In particular, the methods based on probability density functions (or PDFs) can be used in various environments and with different climate proxies because they rely on elementary calibration data (i.e. modern geolocalised presence data). However, the difficulty of accessing and curating these calibration data and the complexity of interpreting probabilistic results have often limited their use in palaeoclimatological studies. Here, I introduce a new R package (crestr) to apply the PDF-based method CREST (Climate REconstruction SofTware) on diverse palaeoecological datasets and address these problems. crestr includes a globally curated calibration dataset for six common climate proxies (i.e. plants, beetles, chironomids, rodents, foraminifera, and dinoflagellate cysts) associated with an extensive range of climate variables (20 terrestrial and 19 marine variables) that enables its use in most terrestrial and marine environments. Private data collections can also be used instead of, or in combination with, the provided calibration dataset. The package includes a suite of graphical diagnostic tools to represent the data at each step of the reconstruction process and provide insights into the effect of the different modelling assumptions and external factors that underlie a reconstruction. With this R package, the CREST method can now be used in a scriptable environment and thus be more easily integrated with existing workflows. It is hoped that crestr will be used to produce the much-needed quantified climate reconstructions from the many regions where they are currently lacking, despite the availability of suitable fossil records. To support this development, the use of the package is illustrated with a step-by-step replication of a 790 000-year-long mean annual temperature reconstruction based on a pollen record from southeastern Africa.

Li, D., Z. Li, Z. Liu, Y. Yang, A. G. Khoso, L. Wang, and D. Liu. 2022. Climate change simulations revealed potentially drastic shifts in insect community structure and crop yields in China’s farmland. Journal of Pest Science.

Climate change will cause drastic fluctuations in agricultural ecosystems, which in turn may affect global food security. We used ecological niche modeling to predict the potential distribution for four cereal aphids (i.e., Sitobion avenae, Rhopalosiphum padi, Schizaphis graminum, and Diurphis noxia…

Xue, T., S. R. Gadagkar, T. P. Albright, X. Yang, J. Li, C. Xia, J. Wu, and S. Yu. 2021. Prioritizing conservation of biodiversity in an alpine region: Distribution pattern and conservation status of seed plants in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Global Ecology and Conservation 32: e01885.

The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) harbors abundant and diverse plant life owing to its high habitat heterogeneity. However, the distribution pattern of biodiversity hotspots and their conservation status remain unclear. Based on 148,283 high-resolution occurrence coordinates of 13,450 seed plants, w…

Schneider, K., D. Makowski, and W. van der Werf. 2021. Predicting hotspots for invasive species introduction in Europe. Environmental Research Letters 16: 114026.

Plant pest invasions cost billions of Euros each year in Europe. Prediction of likely places of pest introduction could greatly help focus efforts on prevention and control and thus reduce societal costs of pest invasions. Here, we test whether generic data-driven risk maps of pest introduction, val…

Qu, J., Y. Xu, Y. Cui, S. Wu, L. Wang, X. Liu, Z. Xing, et al. 2021. MODB: a comprehensive mitochondrial genome database for Mollusca. Database 2021.

Mollusca is the largest marine phylum, comprising about 23% of all named marine organisms, Mollusca systematics are still in flux, and an increase in human activities has affected Molluscan reproduction and development, strongly impacting diversity and classification. Therefore, it is necessary to e…

de Oliveira, M. H. V., B. M. Torke, and T. E. Almeida. 2021. An inventory of the ferns and lycophytes of the Lower Tapajós River Basin in the Brazilian Amazon reveals collecting biases, sampling gaps, and previously undocumented diversity. Brittonia 73: 459–480.

Ferns and lycophytes are an excellent group for conservation and species distribution studies because they are closely related to environmental changes. In this study, we analyzed collection gaps, sampling biases, richness distribution, and the species conservation effectiveness of protected areas i…

Tabor, J. A., and J. B. Koch. 2021. Ensemble Models Predict Invasive Bee Habitat Suitability Will Expand under Future Climate Scenarios in Hawai’i. Insects 12: 443.

Climate change is predicted to increase the risk of biological invasions by increasing the availability of climatically suitable regions for invasive species. Endemic species on oceanic islands are particularly sensitive to the impact of invasive species due to increased competition for shared resou…