Latitudinal gradient of host breadths in herbivorous butterflies

The combination of accumulated occurrence data and host use records across Japan revealed that the fundamental resource specialization of butterfly communities becomes more specialized toward higher latitudes. Above: Japonica lutea is a butterfly species widely distributed in Japan. Photograph by Ryosuke Nakadai. Are host breadths of herbivorous insects more specialized in the tropics compared toContinue reading “Latitudinal gradient of host breadths in herbivorous butterflies”

Award highlight: Connecting the past with the present

A paper describing two centuries of changes in crop regions is awarded the Humboldt-Caldas medal 2021 for best biogeography paper in Colombia/Ecuador. Above: Original cartography of Caldas’ crop regions showing the colonial profile of the travel route with vertical elevations, towns and the different crops Ali Salim. Ever since I began studying plant biology, IContinue reading “Award highlight: Connecting the past with the present”

Time waits for no one, except in cities

‘Change is the only constant in life’ and in the Anthropocene the nature of change is being altered too. Though we often associate human activities with increasing rates, a new study of urbanization shows that in some places we are in effect slowing down time instead. Above: Seasonal dissimilarity of bird community composition in urbanizedContinue reading “Time waits for no one, except in cities”

Pool diversity shapes unique island communities

Compiling a new island dataset enables a global perspective on the unique diversity of the smallest communities. Above: A group of small islands Pianemo, Raja Ampat, Indonesia. Like many before us, we studied island systems to better understand the drivers community composition.  Photo by Sutirta Budiman on Unsplash. Island biogeography is one of the mostContinue reading “Pool diversity shapes unique island communities”

Are there general principles governing geographical range evolution?

A simple rule that unites geographical range evolution across terrestrial and marine environments. Above: Holacanthus ciliaris (left) is broadly distributed, from the state of Florida (USA) to Santa Catarina (southern Brazil), whereas Hyplopectrus providencialis is endemic to the Caribbean islands of San Andrés and Providencia. Photographs by Osmar J. Luiz.. If one were to askContinue reading “Are there general principles governing geographical range evolution?”

Persistence at the margins of tree life

Species niche differences shape our high-elevation forest communities. Above: Mountain pine beetle and white pine blister rust have heavily impacted this whitebark pine forest in the Mt. Rose Wilderness Area outside of Reno, Nevada, USA. In recent decades, increasing temperatures and prolonged drought have been linked to widespread tree mortality across the western United States.Continue reading “Persistence at the margins of tree life”

How do the geographical distributions of species drive patterns of biodiversity?

The rate of species formation is conditional on the relatedness of co-occurring species, with packing and competition apparently driving maximum diversity in single areas. Above: The high diversity of species in the tropics, as seen here in Costa Rica, mean that many more species are found within smaller geographic areas I have always been fascinatedContinue reading “How do the geographical distributions of species drive patterns of biodiversity?”

Women in Biogeography

A compilation of top-cited papers from the past decade in the Journal of Biogeography Above: Images of the locations and taxa studied by the authors of papers featured in this virtual issue. The Journal of Biogeography (JBI) is publishing a virtual issue this week that highlights some of the many influential contributions of women toContinue reading “Women in Biogeography”

The elusiveness of biotic interactions in spatial data

Joint species distribution models may not yet be able to detect the signal of biotic interactions from empirical community data … due to the lack of sufficiently dense ecological datasets and fast-and-accurate algorithms. Above: Eurasian nuthatch (Sitta europaea) at its nesting site in a former woodpecker cavity.(Photo by Josefine S. / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 /Continue reading “The elusiveness of biotic interactions in spatial data”

History and genetic diversity of the most common Antarctic Lichens

Antarctic lichens with different population history show grossly diverging genetic patterns. Above: Antarctic lichens (Usnea) near Carlini station on King George Island, January 2016 (Elisa Lagostina). The Antarctic is arguably the most remote place on Earth and difficult to reach for scientists and other organisms. In many people’s imagination it may just be a vast ice domeContinue reading “History and genetic diversity of the most common Antarctic Lichens”