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Munna, A. H., N. A. Amuri, P. Hieronimo, and D. A. Woiso. 2023. Modelling ecological niches of Sclerocarya birrea subspecies in Tanzania under the current and future climates. Silva Fennica 57. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.23009

The information on ecological niches of the Marula tree, Sclerocarya birrea (A. Rich.) Horchst. subspecies are needed for sustainable management of this tree, considering its nutritional, economic, and ecological benefits. However, despite Tanzania being regarded as a global genetic center of diversity of S. birrea, information on the subspecies ecological niches is lacking. We aimed to model ecological niches of S. birrea subspecies in Tanzania under the current and future climates. Ecological niches under the current climate were modelled by using ecological niche models in MaxEnt using climatic, edaphic, and topographical variables, and subspecies occurrence data. The Hadley Climate Center and National Center for Atmospheric Research's Earth System Models were used to predict ecological niches under the medium and high greenhouse gases emission scenarios for the years 2050 and 2080. Area under the curves (AUCs) were used to assess the accuracy of the models. The results show that the models were robust, with AUCs of 0.85–0.95. Annual and seasonal precipitation, elevation, and soil cation exchange capacity are the key environmental factors that define the ecological niches of the S. birrea subspecies. Ecological niches of subsp. caffra, multifoliata, and birrea are currently found in 30, 22, and 21 regions, and occupy 184 814 km2, 139 918 km2, and 28 446 km2 of Tanzania's land area respectively, which will contract by 0.4–44% due to climate change. Currently, 31–51% of ecological niches are under Tanzania’s protected areas network. The findings are important in guiding the development of conservation and domestication strategies for the S. birrea subspecies in Tanzania.

Cano-Barbacil, C., J. Radinger, and G.-B. García-Berthou. 2023. Interacting effects of latitudinal and elevational gradients on the distribution of Iberian inland fish. Limnetica 43: 1. https://doi.org/10.23818/limn.43.18

Unraveling the effects of latitudinal and elevational gradients on species distribution has been a central topic in biogeography for decades. However, few studies have evaluated the effects of the interaction between both gradients on species distributions. The main goal of this study was to evaluate the interaction of latitude and elevation in a freshwater context using a regional dataset of Iberian inland fish species. For this purpose, we compiled occurrence data for the 15 most widespread (i.e., present in multiple basins) Iberian fishes. We used generalized linear models including elevation, latitude, their quadratic terms, the interaction between the two gradients, and the basin as sources of variation. Results revealed contrasting species-specific distribution patterns with differing importance of the elevation and latitudinal gradients. Latitude was particularly important in explaining the distribution patterns of Salmo trutta, while the distribution of diadromous species and invasive Gambusia holbrooki or Lepomis gibbosus was mainly mediated by elevation. We detected significant interaction between elevation and latitude for 11 out of the 15 studied species. Consequently, Iberian fish species occupy different elevational niche positions depending on latitude. For example, Salmo trutta and Oncorhynchus mykiss occupy intermediate and even lower reaches in the northernmost areas. However, their occurrence probability decreases at lower latitudes, despite they can occur in elevated areas in these regions (e.g., Baetic Mountains). Finally, we discuss the potential effects of climate change on distribution patterns of the Iberian fish species studied.

Sánchez‐Campaña, C., C. Múrria, V. Hermoso, D. Sánchez‐Fernández, J. M. Tierno de Figueroa, M. González, A. Millán, et al. 2023. Anticipating where are unknown aquatic insects in Europe to improve biodiversity conservation. Diversity and Distributions. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.13714

Aim Understanding biodiversity patterns is crucial for prioritizing future conservation efforts and reducing the current rates of biodiversity loss. However, a large proportion of species remain undescribed (i.e. unknown biodiversity), hindering our ability to conduct this task. This phenomenon, known as the ‘Linnean shortfall’, is especially relevant in highly diverse, yet endangered, taxonomic groups, such as insects. Here we explore the distributions of recently described freshwater insect species in Europe to (1) infer the potential location of unknown biodiversity hotspots and (2) determine the variables that can anticipate the distribution of unknown biodiversity. Location The European continent, including western Russia, Cyprus and Turkey. Methods Georeferenced information of all sites where new aquatic insect species were described across Europe from 2000 to 2020 was compiled. In order to understand the observed spatial patterns in richness of recently described species, spatial units were defined (level 6 of HydroBASINS) and associated with a combination of a set of socioeconomic, environmental and sampling effort descriptors. A zero-inflated Poisson regression approach was used to model the richness of newly described species within each spatial unit. Results Nine hundred and sixty-six recently described species were found: 398 Diptera, 362 Trichoptera, 105 Coleoptera, 66 Plecoptera, 28 Ephemeroptera, 3 Neuroptera, 2 Lepidoptera and 2 Odonata. The Mediterranean Basin was the region with the highest number of recently described species (74%). The richness of recently described species per spatial unit across Europe was highest at mid-elevation areas (between 400 and 1000 m), latitudes between 40 and 50° and in areas with yearly average precipitation levels of 500–1000 mm, a medium intensity of sampling effort and low population density. The percentage of protected areas in each study unit was not significantly related to the richness of recently described species. In fact, 70% of the species were found outside protected areas. Main conclusions The results highlight the urgent need to concentrate conservation efforts in freshwater ecosystems located at mid-altitude areas and out of protected areas across the Mediterranean Basin. The highest number of newly described species in those areas indicates that further monitoring efforts are required to ensure the aquatic biodiversity is adequately known and managed within a context of growing human impacts in freshwater ecosystems.

Rodríguez-Rey, M., and G. Grenouillet. 2022. Disentangling the Drivers of the Sampling Bias of Freshwater Fish across Europe. Fishes 7: 383. https://doi.org/10.3390/fishes7060383

The Wallacean shortfall refers to the knowledge gap in biodiversity distributions. There is still limited knowledge for freshwater fish species despite the importance of focusing conservation efforts towards this group due to their alarming extinction risk and the increasing human pressure on freshwater ecosystems. Here, we addressed the Wallacean shortfall for freshwater fish faunas across Europe by using the completeness indicator derived from species accumulation curves to quantify the fish sampling efforts. The multiple potential drivers of completeness that were previously related to the sampling efforts for other species (i.e., population density, nature reserves, or distance to cities) were tested using a 10 × 10 km2 grid resolution, as well as environmental (e.g., climatic) factors. Our results suggested that although there was an overall spatial pattern at the European level, the completeness was highly country-dependent. Accessibility parameters explained the sampling efforts, as for other taxa. Likewise, climate factors were related to survey completeness, possibly pointing to the river conditions required for fish sampling. The survey effort map we provide can be used to optimize future sampling, aiming at filling the data gaps in undersampled regions like the eastern European countries, as well as to account for the current bias in any ecological modeling using such data, with important implications for conservation and management.

Moreno, I., J. M. W. Gippet, L. Fumagalli, and P. J. Stephenson. 2022. Factors affecting the availability of data on East African wildlife: the monitoring needs of conservationists are not being met. Biodiversity and Conservation. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-022-02497-4

Understanding the status and abundance of species is essential for effective conservation decision-making. However, the availability of species data varies across space, taxonomic groups and data types. A case study was therefore conducted in a high biodiversity region—East Africa—to evaluate data biases, the factors influencing data availability, and the consequences for conservation. In each of the eleven target countries, priority animal species were identified as threatened species that are protected by national governments, international conventions or conservation NGOs. We assessed data gaps and biases in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility and the Living Planet Index. A survey of practitioners and decision makers was conducted to confirm and assess consequences of these biases on biodiversity conservation efforts. Our results showed data on species occurrence and population trends were available for a significantly higher proportion of vertebrates than invertebrates. We observed a geographical bias, with higher tourism income countries having more priority species and more species with data than lower tourism income countries. Conservationists surveyed felt that, of the 40 types of data investigated, those data that are most important to conservation projects are the most difficult to access. The main challenges to data accessibility are excessive expense, technological challenges, and a lack of resources to process and analyse data. With this information, practitioners and decision makers can prioritise how and where to fill gaps to improve data availability and use, and ensure biodiversity monitoring is improved and conservation impacts enhanced.

Lal, M. M., K. T. Brown, P. Chand, and T. D. Pickering. 2022. An assessment of the aquaculture potential of indigenous freshwater food fish of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Samoa and Tonga as alternatives to farming of tilapia. Reviews in Aquaculture. https://doi.org/10.1111/raq.12749

An important driver behind introductions for aquaculture of alien fish species into Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) is a lack of knowledge about domestication suitability and specific culture requirements of indigenous taxa. Introductions may be appropriate in some circumstances, but in other circumstances, the associated risks may outweigh the benefits, so greater understanding of indigenous species' aquaculture potential is important. This review summarises literature for indigenous freshwater food fish species from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Samoa and Tonga, and evaluates their aquaculture potential for food security and/or small‐scale livelihoods. A species selection criteria incorporating economic, social, biological and environmental spheres was used to score 62 candidate species. Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus and O. niloticus) now established in PICTs were evaluated for comparison. Results show that 13 species belonging to the families Mugilidae (Mullets), Terapontidae (Grunters), Kuhliidae (Flagtails) and Scatophagidae (Scats) have the highest culture potential according to selection criteria. These feed at a relatively low trophic level (are herbivores/detritivores), have comparatively fast growth rates and overall possess characteristics most amenable for small‐scale, inland aquaculture. The four top‐ranked candidates are all mountain mullets Cestraeus spp., followed by Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). Lower ranked candidates include three other mullets (Planiliza melinoptera, P. subviridis and Mugil cephalus) and rock flagtail Kuhlia rupestris. Importantly, many species remain data deficient in aspects of their reproductive biology or culture performance. Species profiles and ranked priority species by country are provided with logistical, technological and environmental assessments of country capacities to culture each species.

Cano‐Barbacil, C., J. Radinger, and E. García‐Berthou. 2022. The importance of seawater tolerance and native status in mediating the distribution of inland fishes. Journal of Biogeography. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14493

Aim Unravelling the ecological and historical factors that underlie species distributions has challenged ecologists for a long time. Thus, our objective is to understand the role of environmental variables explaining the distribution of three major eco-evolutionary groups of inland fishes (Darlington's divisions: primary, i.e. strict freshwater; secondary, i.e. salt-tolerant; and peripheral, i.e. diadromous and marine origin), and how these variables are related to fish traits. Location Iberian Peninsula. Taxon 51 native and 17 alien inland fish species from the Iberian Peninsula. Methods We modelled distributions of the most common inland fish species across the Iberian Peninsula to compare the importance of different predictors among the three Darlington's divisions and between native and alien species. To explore the importance of specific environmental variables in determining the distribution of different traits of inland fish, variable importances obtained from species distribution models were subjected to a redundancy analysis. Results Darlington's divisions differ significantly in salinity tolerance, in distribution overlap, in the importance of distribution predictors and associated life-history traits. Topographic and climatic variables were generally more important than land use and anthropogenic factors in explaining fish distributions. We found significant differences in the importance of variables explaining the distribution of native vs. alien species and especially among Darlington's divisions. River basin was most important for primary native and many alien species. Increasing mean temperature and damming were positively associated with the presence of tolerant, large-bodied and warm-water alien species from more hydrologically stable habitats. Main conclusions Despite marked differences in the distribution patterns of native and alien species, evolutionary and introduction histories as well as seawater tolerance are central factors explaining the current distribution of inland fishes. Darlington's divisions proved useful for addressing ecological and biogeographical questions at broader spatial scales.

Ramírez, F., V. Sbragaglia, K. Soacha, M. Coll, and J. Piera. 2022. Challenges for Marine Ecological Assessments: Completeness of Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable Biodiversity Data in European Seas. Frontiers in Marine Science 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.802235

The ongoing contemporary biodiversity crisis may result in much of ocean’s biodiversity to be lost or deeply modified without even being known. As the climate and anthropogenic-related impacts on marine systems accelerate, biodiversity knowledge integration is urgently required to evaluate and monit…

Odorico, D., E. Nicosia, C. Datizua, C. Langa, R. Raiva, J. Souane, S. Nhalungo, et al. 2022. An updated checklist of Mozambique’s vascular plants. PhytoKeys 189: 61–80. https://doi.org/10.3897/phytokeys.189.75321

An updated checklist of Mozambique’s vascular plants is presented. It was compiled referring to several information sources such as existing literature, relevant online databases and herbaria collections. The checklist includes 7,099 taxa (5,957 species, 605 subspecies, 537 varieties), belonging to …

Boulad, N., S. Al Shogoor, W. Sahwan, N. Al-Ouran, and B. Schütt. 2021. Systematic Conservation Planning as a Tool for the Assessment of Protected Areas Network in Jordan. Land 11: 56. https://doi.org/10.3390/land11010056

The present study aims to use systematic conservation planning to analyse and review the national protected areas (PAs) network in Jordan. The analysis included the application of three modules: the environmental risk surface (ERS), the relative biodiversity index (RBI), and the application of Marxa…