Historical biogeography in recent evolving Neotropical mammals

Oligoryzomys is an intriguing genus of sigmodontines that is distributed in almost all ecoregions of South America and continental Middle America. How did it get to be so diverse and distributed so broadly? Above: A Patagonian specimen of Oligoryzomys longicaudatus, a species representative of one the fastest and geographically wide radiation of Neotropical mammals (photoContinue reading “Historical biogeography in recent evolving Neotropical mammals”

Pseudocongruent phylogeographic patterns in forest-living herpetofauna

Similar phylogeographic patterns do not necessarily imply similar evolutionary histories. Instead, environmental factors like the formation of rivers, ancient climatic cycles and climatic gradients could collectively interact with the unique life histories species to strengthen dispersal barriers at different times and generate complex biogeographic patterns. Above: Isolated forest fragment in the Eastern Cape Province ofContinue reading “Pseudocongruent phylogeographic patterns in forest-living herpetofauna”

Colonization across oceanic islands, and how to estimate it

Colonization across oceanic islands is a central topic in island biogeography. PAICE, a new methodological tool to estimate colonization events using floristics, genetics, and accounting for sample size. PAICE is designed to perform comparisons among organisms and archipelagos, and can be used to test explicit biogeographic hypotheses such as the difference in colonization success betweenContinue reading “Colonization across oceanic islands, and how to estimate it”

It is a good day to study lichens

“There is a low mist in the woods­–It is a good day to study lichens.” Henry David Thoreau, A Year in Thoreau’s Journal: 1851. Above: Brownish monk’s-hood lichen (Hypogymnia vittata) on a mossy rock wall in an old-growth forest, eastern Norway. Lichens all share a common “lifestyle” – whether you call it a symbiosis, parasitism,Continue reading “It is a good day to study lichens”

Are bluebells too slow for climate change?

Slow demography and colonization rates 17,500 times lower than the current velocity of climate change make range shifts virtually impossible in the emblematic forest plant Bluebell. Above: The Hallerbos in Belgium is nicknamed ‘the blue forest’ because of the carpets of spring-flowering bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), which attract yearly more than 100,000 visitors. (© Sanne Govaert).Continue reading “Are bluebells too slow for climate change?”

Towering trees and flying dragons

Canopy physiognomy governs the distribution of peninsular Indian flying lizards in regions of climatic suitability. Above: Silhouette of an Indian Flying Lizard in its arboreal habitat. I have always been intrigued by organismal distributions. Why do certain species occur in certain regions? Why do they stop, sometimes abruptly, at certain latitudes where there aren’t anyContinue reading “Towering trees and flying dragons”

New insights into the history of Central European steppe grasslands

Spatial patterns of species and haplotypes suggest long-term continuity of steppes in eastern Central Europe. Above: A species-rich meadow steppe near Cristuru Secuiesc (Hungarian: Székelykeresztúr), Harghita County, Transylvania, Romania. Photographed on 29 May 2017 by Wolfgang Willner.. The steppe grasslands of eastern Central Europe have attracted botanists and vegetation scientists for more than two centuries.Continue reading “New insights into the history of Central European steppe grasslands”

Functional redundancy increases in human-modified habitats

Different species do similar things in anthropic environments. Above: Two examples of small mammals with very distinct biologies. The Brazilian gracile opossum Gracilinanus microtarsus (left) is a generalist that forages in the ground and inhabits a broad range of habitat types — from primary to secondary forests and forest edges. Such generalists usually profit fromContinue reading “Functional redundancy increases in human-modified habitats”

Life-form diversity across temperate deciduous forests of Western Eurasia: A different story in the understory

Deconstructing the forest community into three structural components — tree, shrub, ground floor – reveals different origins. Above: Forest in the lowlands of Asturias, Spain (August 2021 by Javier Loidi). Forests have always had a special appeal to ecologists, as they represent the most complex and developed type of terrestrial ecosystem. They are composed ofContinue reading “Life-form diversity across temperate deciduous forests of Western Eurasia: A different story in the understory”