|Wednesday, July 07|
Building a Global Consortium of Bryophytes and Lichens: Keystones of Cryptobiotic Communities (GLOBAL)
Jessica Budke, University of Tennessee
* Matt von Konrat, Field Museum, United States
Blanka Aguero, Duke University
Jason A. Alexander, University of California, Berkeley,
J. Ryan Allen, University of Colorado
Philip Anders, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Elana Benamy, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
John C. Brinda, Missouri Botanical Garden
Laura Briscoe, New York Botanical Garden
Frank Bungartz, Arizona State University
Kenneth M. Cameron, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Amanda Chandler, New York Botanical Garden
Matt Chansler, Michigan State University
Dina A. Clark, University of Colorado
Aimee Davis, Field Museum
Nico M. Franz, Arizona State University
Edward E. Gilbert, Arizona State University
Amy Harmon, University of Cincinnati
Timothy M. Hogan, University of Colorado
Stefanie M. Ickert-Bond, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Digitization has greatly enhanced the use of herbarium data in scientific research, impacting diverse research areas, including biodiversity informatics, global change biology, analyses using next-generation sequencing technologies, and many others. Despite the entrance of herbaria into a new era with enhanced scientific, educational, and societal relevance, museum specimens remain underused; particularly in ecological studies, where the wealth of biodiversity hidden in each bryophyte/lichen specimen may reveal global patterns that are not observable from other data sources. We share a recently funded National Science Foundation project that aims to establish a novel cryptobiotic consortium integrating information about bryophytes and lichens with each other, and with their commensal organisms, including fungi, on a worldwide scale. We endeavor that this project will serve to connect members of the bryophyte and lichen communities together to answer global research questions centering on these biological communities. Our goals are to (1) establish a novel cryptobiotic consortium integrating 6 million records, (2) digitize label data and specimens for 1.2 million bryophytes/lichens focusing on non-North American specimens from 25 US herbaria, and (3) create a connected world through innovative automation, integration, image tagging, and machine learning. Digitization of specimen records and their associated data will provide unparalleled educational resources that can be tailored to diverse audiences. The diversity and expertise of collaborating institutions is leveraged and we discuss a multi-pronged approach to broader impacts that spans from K-12 to participatory citizen science initiatives.
Detecting the Phylogenetic Signal of Glacial Refugia in a Bryodiversity Hotspot Outside the Tropics
* Ernest Wu, Department of Forest & Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia, Canada
Yang Liu, Fairy Lake Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Jonathan Davies, Department of Forest & Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia
Glacial refugia have likely been important in shaping diversity gradients outside the tropics. Many taxa that have high extra-tropical diversity in the present day, such as mosses, may have persisted in glacial refugia. However, the biogeographical histories of most species within refugia remains unclear. In this study, we reconstructed the regional phylogeny of the mosses of Haida Gwaii, a putative glacial refugium and ‘hotspot’ of moss diversity on the northwest coast of British Columbia, Canada, and used phylogenetic comparative methods to examine the macroecological imprint of glacial refugia on the geographic range structure and phylogenetic attributes of present-day moss assemblages. We found that many mosses have widespread, but disjunct distributions, with few close relatives on the islands. We suggest that these features reflect the imprint of glacial history, whereby species within refugia represent isolated populations of previously more widespread species that may have diversified elsewhere. We also observed evidence for phylogenetic over-dispersion of species within high elevation habitats, which best match the climatic regime of the historical glacial refugium. Our results are consistent with the filtering of evolutionarily distinct glacial relicts within these habitats, which contrasts markedly with the patterns of phylogenetic clustering observed across other non-refugial habitat types. The islands of Haida Gwaii represent an extratropical hotspot of bryophyte diversity. Our study illustrates how phylogenetic methods can reveal the signal of glacial refugia, supporting paleoecological data, and illuminate the biogeographical histories of mosses to explain why some taxa are more diverse outside the tropics.
Small but visible: predicting the distribution and richness of rare bryophytes in boreal forests through remote sensing
* Carlos Cerrejón, UQAT, Canada
Osvaldo Valeria, UQAT
Jesús Muñoz, Real Jardín Botánico (RJB-CSIC), Plaza de Murillo 2, 28014 Madrid, España
Nicole J. Fenton, UQAT
In Canadian boreal forests, bryophytes represent an essential component of biodiversity and play a significant role in ecosystem functioning. Despite their ecological importance and sensitivity to disturbances, bryophytes are overlooked in conservation strategies due to knowledge gaps on their distribution, posing a particular risk for their rare species. This study aims to develop predictive models of the presence of rare bryophyte species, as well as to identify their diversity hotspots in boreal forests using remote sensing (RS) data. The study area is located in western Quebec and covers 72,292 km2. We selected 52 bryophyte species with <30 occurrences from a presence-only database (214 species, 389 plots in total). RS-derived variables at 30m spatial resolution related to topography and vegetation were used as predictors. Models and predictive mapping were developed using the Ensemble of Small Models (ESMs) modeling framework from Maxent and Random Forest techniques. Subsequently, the patterns of rare bryophyte richness were mapped by aggregating their predictions. The individual models showed a predictive value ranging from useful (better than random) to excellent for 73% of the species, despite their low number of occurrences. These models allowed to identify diversity hotspots of rare bryophytes, as well as to assess their spatial correspondence with those of overall bryophytes recently identified in a previous study. This study demonstrates the potential of RS for assessing and making predictions on inconspicuous and rare species across the landscape and lays the basis for the eventual inclusion of bryophytes into sustainable development planning.
The plight of plants in light of deforestation in the Amazon: Insights from epiphyllous metacommunity dynamics
* Adriel M. Sierra, Université Laval, Canada
Marta Alonso, Université Laval
Charles E. Zartman, National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA)
Juan Carlos Villarreal A., Université Laval
Forest fragmentation continues to cause massive losses in biodiversity, particularly in the tropics. Anthropogenic activities have increased exponentially in the past half-century in these domains, and the survivability of plants from these megadiverse regions are difficult to elucidate since their generation times are generally much longer than the rates at which habitat destruction is presently happening. However, organisms that inhabit the phyllosphere (leaf surfaces) are ideal models for predicting the depth of such demographic consequences. We took advantage of phyllospheric bryophyte metacommunites, to evaluate the genetic structure associated with their temporal changes over 15 years at a landscape scale in central Amazonia. Specifically, two epiphyllous bryophyte species (Radula flaccida and Cololejeunea surinamensis) were studied using population abundance and genotyping by sequencing approach. Our results showed that population size in small fragments (1- and 10-ha) was significantly reduced when compared with large reserves (100-ha and continuous forest). During the last decade, recovery in the abundance of these two species has been observed between the years 2000 and 2016. The population genetic structure in small fragments was considerably more different when compared to surrounding large reserves, suggesting that these populations are experiencing genetic drift. In conclusion, despite the increased population size in smaller fragments in the past year, both species are genetically vulnerable to the rapid loss of habitats in the Amazon forest.
Rebuilding the transatlantic bridge of Orthotrichum consimile group (Orthotrichaceae, Bryophyta) and predicting its geographical suitability in Europe
* Juan Antonio Calleja Alarcón, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Spain
Rubén G. Mateo, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain)
Maren Flagmeier, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain)
Isabel Draper, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain)
Ricardo Garilleti, Universidad de Valencia (Spain)
Francisco Lara, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain)
Integrative taxonomy revealed, almost a decade ago, that the moss Orthotrichum consimile was actually a complex of four species. Whereas O. consimile s.s. was excluded from the European bryoflora, O. columbicum emerged as the only species in this complex present in both North America and Europe. However, we have recently discovered a locality in central Spain where these two species seem to cooccur. This was unexpected since the area exhibits a continental Mediterranean climate that seems to be unsuitable for these species. To shed light on this paradoxical situation, the identity of the specimens was confirmed by molecular data. Furthermore, we addressed the macroclimatic niche of both species and carried out ecological niche models (ENMs) to contrast the new locality with those recorded in America and Europe. We also projected the potential distribution of both species to evaluate suitable areas in Europe. We report Orthotrichum consimile s.s. in Europe for the first time, which entails a new transatlantic disjunction within the complex. Our data also confirm the coexistence of O. consimile and O. columbicum in central Spain as it happens in many of their American localities. Regarding ENMs analyses, both species share a similar macroclimatic niche in America yet they show a climatic shift in Europe. Moreover, both species show suitable areas beyond their current recorded distributions. Western areas of the Iberian Peninsula and scattered localities in other Mediterranean peninsulas might be suitable for O. comsimile. Likewise, southern Europe (from Portugal to Turkey) might hold populations of O. columbicum.
The origins and conservation genetics of Cirsium scariosum in the Mingan Islands of Québec
* Simon Piché-Mongeon, University of Ottawa, Canada
Tyler Smith, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Nancy Dénommée, Parks Canada
Phillippe Thomas, Environment and Climate Change Canada
Julian Starr, University of Ottawa
The Mingan Archipelago along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence is well known for the diversity and rarity of its vascular plants. This diversity is often explained by a combination of the islands’ temperate maritime climate and its unusual regional geology where the islands are formed of calcareous sedimentary rock. Among the 80 species of rare plants on the islands, one in particular stands out, Cirsium scariosum (Meadow thistle), a species native to western North America, but with a disjunct populations on the Mingan islands over 3500 km away. Initially recognized as a separate species, Cirsium minganense, when it was first discovered in 1924 by Marie-Victorin, recent authors believe these Mingan populations are either the result of eastern migration during the Pleistocene or a contemporary anthropogenic introduction. Nevertheless, the question of how these populations arrived on the islands or whether they should be treated as a separate species has not been resolved. The eastern populations of Cirsium scariosum are now endangered and conservation efforts have been made to save this emblematic plant. To determine whether the Mingan populations might represent a separate species and to better understand the plants’ breeding system and genetic diversity for conservation, a phylogeny of closely related species and a population genetic analysis using genotyping by sequencing (GBS) was conducted. Results suggest the Mingan island populations are not closely related to the western Cirsium scariosum and that outcrossing and dispersal between islands could be occurring.
From Models to Mummies: Combating Plant Blindness Through Museum Exhibits
* Diana Robson, Manitoba Museum, Canada
People go to natural history museums to learn more about wild species. Traditionally, “charismatic megafauna”, such as large predators, are the focus of many museum exhibits like dioramas, with plants merely providing an attractive background, if they are present at all. This practice both reflects, and may contribute to, societal “plant blindness”, a phenomenon where people underappreciate the importance of plants, and are less likely to support their conservation. With funds raised from a capital campaign, the Manitoba Museum had an opportunity to build new exhibits for the Prairies Gallery. However, the retirement of the museum’s diorama artist meant that novel approaches to displaying botanical specimens would be necessary. Further complicating exhibit construction was the fact that most of the museum’s specimens were pressed flat, making them visually unexciting. As well, plants and fungi are perceived by the public as being passive and uninteresting, making their interpretation challenging. We used a combination of models, three-dimensional dried and mummified plants and fungi, time-lapse videos, and computer animation to create new, visually attractive botanical exhibits. We chose three interesting themes to discuss: adaptation, reproduction, and endangerment. To increase empathy for plants and fungi, interpretive text and new museum programming describes them as creatures with agency that want the same things people do: water and food, a chance to reproduce, and to survive. Altering visitor perceptions will help combat plant and fungal blindness, and hopefully result in support of conservation efforts for these often ignored, and increasingly rare, prairie species.