Science Rendue Possible

Wu, R., Y. Zou, S. Liao, K. Shi, X. Nan, H. Yan, J. Luo, et al. 2024. Shall we promote natural history collection today?—Answered by reviewing Ernest Henry Wilson’s plant collection process in China. Science of The Total Environment 915: 170179.

Plant diversity exploration needs to be accelerated because many species will go extinct before their discovery and description, and many species-rich regions remain poorly studied. However, most contemporary plant collections prefer to focus on a specific group, which hinders the exploration and conservation of plant diversity. Therefore, we need an alternative approach to the dilemma at hand. The comprehensive Natural History Collection (NHC), which existed throughout the pinnacle of biodiversity exploration in the 20th century could be considered. We explore Ernest Henry Wilson’s (one of the most successful naturalists in the 20th) plant collections in China as a case to illustrate the advantages of NHC and discuss whether NHC deserves to be promoted again today. From multiple sources, we gathered 19,218 available specimen records of 11,884 collecting numbers assigned and analyzed the collected species, the collection's nature, and restored four routes of his explorations. Results reveal that Wilson's specimens were collected from 28 prefecture-level cities and 38 county-level regions of 7 provinces or municipalities, they belong to 200 families, 1046 genera, 3794 species, and 342 infraspecific taxa, approximately 41 %, 22 %, 10 %, 5 % of Chinese plant families, genera, species, and infraspecific taxa respectively. The Wilson case study shows that NHC is particularly effective in emphasizing species discovery and conservation, recording ecological information, understanding a region's flora, and developing landscape applications. Therefore, we strongly advocate for the expansion of natural history collections in species-rich regions. Furthermore, we recommend the employment of specialized collectors, the enlistment of international cooperation, and the standardization of guidelines for future NHCs.

Pérez-Botello, A. M., W. Dáttilo, and N. Simões. 2023. Geographic range size and species morphology determines the organization of sponge host-guest interaction networks across tropical coral reefs. PeerJ 11: e16381.

Sponges are widely spread organisms in the tropical reefs of the American Northwest-Atlantic Ocean, they structure ecosystems and provide services such as shelter, protection from predators, and food sources to a wide diversity of both vertebrates and invertebrates species. The high diversity of sponge-associated fauna can generate complex networks of species interactions over small and large spatial-temporal gradients. One way to start uncovering the organization of the sponge host-guest complex networks is to understand how the accumulated geographic area, the sponge morphology and, sponge taxonomy contributes to the connectivity of sponge species within such networks. This study is a meta-analysis based on previous sponge host-guest literature obtained in 65 scientific publications, yielding a total of 745 host-guest interactions between sponges and their associated fauna across the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. We analyzed the sponge species contribution to network organization in the Northwest Tropical Atlantic coral reefs by using the combination of seven complementary species-level descriptors and related this importance with three main traits, sponge-accumulated geographic area, functional sponge morphology, and sponges’ taxonomy bias. In general, we observed that sponges with a widespread distribution and a higher accumulated geographic area had a greater network structural contribution. Similarly, we also found that Cup-like and Massive functional morphologies trend to be shapes with a greater contribution to the interaction network organization compared to the Erect and Crust-like morphos. Lastly, we did not detect a taxonomy bias between interaction network organization and sponges’ orders. These results highlight the importance of a specific combination of sponge traits to promote the diversity of association between reef sponges and their guest species.

Ortiz-Acosta, M. Á., J. Galindo-González, A. A. Castro-Luna, and C. Mota-Vargas. 2023. Potential distribution of marsupials (Didelphimorphia: Didelphidae) in Mexico under 2 climate change scenarios M. Vieira [ed.],. Journal of Mammalogy.

Climate change is one of the main threats to biodiversity in the 21st century. However, the effects that it may have on different mammal species are unknown, making it difficult to implement conservation strategies. In this paper, we used species distribution models (SDM) to assess the effect of global climate change on the potential distribution of the 8 of the 9 marsupial species in Mexico, and analyzed their distribution in the current system of natural protected areas (NPAs). We used presence records for each species and bioclimatic variables from the present and the future (2050 and 2080) with 2 contrasting possible scenarios (representative concentration pathways RCP 4.5 and 8.5). We found that Tlacuatzin canescens would have the most stable potential range under any climate change scenario, while the remaining species (Caluromys derbianus, Chironectes minimus, Didelphis marsupialis, D. virginiana, Philander opossum, Marmosa mexicana, and Metachirus nudicaudatus) would undergo notable range losses in the future, though there would not only be losses—according to our SDMs, for all species there would be some range gain under the different climate scenarios, assuming the vegetation cover remained. The current system of NPAs in Mexico currently protects and under the 2 future scenarios would protect less than 20% of the potential range of marsupials, so a reevaluation of their areas beyond the NPAs is highly recommended for the long-term conservation of this group. Our results provide relevant information on the estimated effects of global climate change on marsupials, allowing us to design more effective methodologies for the protection of this portion of the mammalian fauna in Mexico.

Long, J. M., and L. Seguy. 2023. Global Status of Non-Native Largemouth Bass (Micropterus Salmoides, Centrachidae) and Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus Dolomieu, Centrarchidae): Disparate Views as Beloved Sportfish and Feared Invader. Reviews in Fisheries Science & Aquaculture: 1–18.

Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides, LMB) and Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu, SMB) are among the most highly invasive species across the globe, but are simultaneously among the most highly sought-after game fish. To explain these disparate views, data on invasive status and angling participation of these two species were compiled at the country level. Largemouth Bass were found established in 62 countries on five continents, whereas SMB were found established in only nine countries on the same five continents. Invasive risk assessments were disparate between the species, with more for SMB (N = 29) than LMB (N = 27). In every instance save one (Finland), SMB were considered “invasive” compared to LMB, which were “invasive” in only 74% of assessments. Twenty-eight countries with non-native black bass have groups that participate in high-profile fishing tournament such the Black Bass World Championship, BASS (Bass Anglers Sportsmans Society) Nation, and Major League Fishing. Most countries with fishing tournaments occur in countries with established LMB populations than in countries with established SMB populations, suggesting a greater economic importance on LMB fishing. The struggle between conserving biodiversity and relying upon economic benefits from fishing for introduced species is a wicked problem likely to continue into the future.

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.

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.

Ramiro-Sánchez, B., A. Martin, and B. Leroy. 2023. The epitome of data paucity: Deep-sea habitats of the Southern Indian Ocean. Biological Conservation 283: 110096.

Vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) are protected from bottom-fishing impacts in international waters by UN resolutions through Regional Fishery Management Organizations. VMEs include deep-sea benthic taxa whose life-history traits make them vulnerable to disturbance. Conservation measures for VMEs require regulatory frameworks informed by biodiversity maps. Here we evaluate biogeographic patterns of VME biodiversity of the Southern Indian Ocean to understand conservation avenues for the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA) management organization. We synthesised knowledge on the distribution of deep-sea benthic taxa and explored the quality and quantity of available data. Next, we explored how taxa are structured into bioregions using biogeographical networks. We found astounding Wallacean and Linnaean shortfalls within SIOFA's area, which is virtually devoid of distributional data. Across the entire area, results suggest that only 48 % of the expected deep-sea taxa has been sampled at most, and most sampled cells are inadequately sampled. Yet, our bioregionalization analysis identified multiple bioregions, some only observed within SIOFA's area. Whilst the Wallacean and Linnean shortfalls are so important for VMEs that they severely impede to make adequate maps for conservation planning, results suggest that SIOFA hosts a unique faunal composition that must be safeguarded. Predictive approaches to compensate for these shortfalls exist but will likely be insufficient and uncertain. Within SIOFA's area, there is no satisfying solution to cope with the data shortfalls. Yet, biodiversity maps are a global responsibility. This study makes a call to invest in biodiversity inventories in this region to promote informed conservation decisions.

Emiroğlu, Ö., S. Aksu, S. Başkurt, J. R. Britton, and A. S. Tarkan. 2023. Predicting how climate change and globally invasive piscivorous fishes will interact to threaten populations of endemic fishes in a freshwater biodiversity hotspot. Biological Invasions.

Freshwater ecosystems are highly vulnerable to the detrimental impacts of both biological invasions and climate change. Piscivorous alien fishes drive populations of small-bodied native fishes to extinction and warming is already driving extreme temperature events in lakes and rivers globally. Here, we use Ecological Niche Modelling (ENM) to predict how climate change will alter the geographical space of six alien fishes and five native fish genera (which include multiple endemic species) in Turkey, a hotspot of freshwater fish diversity. The models predicted that the geographical space of the alien fishes already present in Turkey would generally increase (including pikeperch Sander lucioperca and perch Perca fluviatilis ), but with the most substantial increases in largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides , a species not yet present in Turkey but that is invasive in countries nearby and is highly popular for sport angling. For the native fish genera, general predictions were for reduced geographical space, especially in the south and east of the country, suggesting the endemic species will become increasingly imperilled in future. Their populations will also be at increasing risk of deleterious impacts from the alien piscivores, as the predictions were also for increasing overlaps in the geographical space of both the alien fishes and native fish genera. These predictions suggest that the conservation of these endemic species need to consider measures on preventing both the introduction of alien species (e.g. largemouth bass) and the further dispersal of extant alien species (e.g. pikeperch), as well as habitat interventions that will limit the effects of climate change on their populations. These results also indicate that the combination of climate change and alien invasions could have substantial impacts on—and similar—hotspots of freshwater diversity.

Hausdorf, B. 2023. Distribution patterns of established alien land snail species in the Western Palaearctic Region. NeoBiota 81: 1–32.

AbstractEstablished alien land snail species that were introduced into the Western Palaearctic Region from other regions and their spread in the Western Palaearctic are reviewed. Thirteen of the 22 species came from North America, three from Sub-Saharan Africa, two from the Australian region, three probably from the Oriental Region and one from South America. The establishment of outdoor populations of these species was usually first seen at the western or southern rims of the Western Palearctic. Within Europe, the alien species usually spread from south to north and from west to east. The latitudinal ranges of the alien species significantly increased with increasing time since the first record of introduction to the Western Palearctic. The latitudinal mid-points of the Western Palaearctic and native ranges of the species are significantly correlated when one outlier is omitted. There is a general trend of poleward shifts of the ranges of the species in the Western Palaearctic compared to their native ranges. There are three reasons for these shifts: (1) the northward expansion of some species in Western Europe facilitated by the oceanic climate, (2) the impediment to the colonisation of southern latitudes in the Western Palaearctic due to their aridity and (3) the establishment of tropical species in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Most of the species are small, not carnivorous and unlikely to cause serious ecological or economic damage. In contrast, the recently introduced large veronicellid slugs from Sub-Saharan Africa and the giant African snail Lissachatinafulica could cause economic damage in irrigated agricultural areas or greenhouses in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Descôteaux, R., M. Huserbråten, L. Jørgensen, P. Renaud, R. Ingvaldsen, E. Ershova, and B. Bluhm. 2022. Origin of marine invertebrate larvae on an Arctic inflow shelf. Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Many benthic invertebrate taxa possess planktonic early life stages which drift with water currents and contribute to dispersal of the species, sometimes reaching areas beyond the current ranges of the adults. Until recently, it had been difficult to identify planktonic larvae to species level due to lack of distinguishing features, preventing detection of expatriate species. Here we used DNA metabarcoding of the COI gene to obtain species-level identification of early life stages of benthic invertebrates in zooplankton samples from the Barents Sea and around Svalbard, where, regionally, large volumes of warm Atlantic Water enter the Arctic from the south. We compared the larval community in the water column to the adult community on the seafloor to identify mismatches. In addition, we implemented particle tracking analysis to identify the possible areas of origin of larvae. Our results show that 30–45% of larval taxa—largely polychaetes and nudibranchs—were not local to the sampling area, though most were found nearby in the Barents Sea. In the particle tracking analysis, some larvae originating along the Norwegian coast were capable of reaching the northwest coast of Svalbard within 3 mo, but larvae found east of Svalbard had a more constrained possible area of origin which did not extend to the Norwegian coast. This study highlights largely regional-scale larval connectivity in the Barents Sea but demonstrates the potential for some long-lived larval taxa to travel to Svalbard and the Barents Sea from further south.

Hanzen, C. C., M. C. Lucas, O. L. F. Weyl, S. M. Marr, G. O’Brien, and C. T. Downs. 2022. Slippery customers for conservation: Distribution and decline of anguillid eels in South Africa. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 32: 1277–1290.

Four anguillid eel species occur in the western Indian Ocean rivers of Africa: Anguilla bengalensis, Anguilla bicolor, Anguilla marmorata and Anguilla mossambica. These catadromous fishes face multiple stressors, including habitat alteration and deterioration, barriers to migration, pollution and the adverse impacts of alien species, but knowledge of eel species occurrence, abundance and ecology in Africa remains poor.This study investigated the present and historical distribution of anguillid eels and the potential associated drivers of declines at the southern extremities of their ranges in South Africa. Data analysed included sampling conducted in KwaZulu–Natal and Eastern Cape between 2015 and 2020, and secondary data extracted from databases, museums and local management agencies.The median extent of inland penetration increased as follows: 22 km for A. bicolor, 29 km for A. marmorata, 94 km for A. bengalensis and 293 km for A. mossambica. The median altitude followed a similar pattern.Extent of occurrence analyses were carried out at the regional level in KwaZulu–Natal. The sampling data on present distribution (2015–2020), compared with historical data, suggests declines in the extents of occurrence of the four eel species in KwaZulu–Natal, ranging between 31 and 48% in the last 30 years and between 35 and 82% since the 1950s.With increasing human threats in the region, especially from watercourse modification and water abstraction, further declines for these species are expected. Conservation measures recommended include the maintenance or restoration of the ecological connectivity of important rivers and the implementation of freshwater protected areas. Although eels are at present not widely exploited in South Africa, there is a need for fisheries regulations to manage sustainable commercial exploitation.