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”

Caves, biogeography and tiny arachnids

Palpigrades are as precious as pebbles from the Moon … hidden in the deepest fractures of rocks of caves and other kinds of subterranean habitats. Above: A cave-dwelling palpigrade found in an Alpine caves. Photo: Alberto Chiarle The Austrian professor Dr. Erhard Christian, one of the few experts worldwide on the taxonomy of the enigmaticContinue reading “Caves, biogeography and tiny arachnids”

From Europe to India – A little investigated route of migratory birds

Overcoming multiple setbacks, and teaming up with researchers from across Europe, finally brought insight into the previously mysterious travels of the common rosefinch. Above: A male common rosefinch equipped with a 0.5 gram light-level geolocator(Photo credit: Benjamin Metzger).. To me, the common rosefinch is still a rather exotic bird species. In the last decades theContinue reading “From Europe to India – A little investigated route of migratory birds”

Life in the “dead heart” of Australia

It was the desolation of Australia’s deserts and dried-up rivers, contrasted with the fossil legacy of giant extinct marsupials and birds, that led the British explorer JW Gregory to label this region ‘the dead heart of Australia’. In fact, despite its harsh and unforgiving climate, the Australian deserts are teeming with life. Above: The redContinue reading “Life in the “dead heart” of Australia”