Missouri Botanical Garden
  • St. Louis, MO, United States
Recent publications
The new species Geissorhiza seracina Goldblatt & J.C.Manning (Iridaceae: Crocoideae) is known from a single locality on the central Langeberg Mountains in Western Cape, South Africa. Discovered in December 2021, G. seracina is restricted to high altitude seepages in peaty soils. The soft corm tunics and moderately large, deep pink flowers suggest that it is allied to another Langeberg endemic, G. altimontana Goldblatt & J.C.Manning of subg. Weihea sect. Weihea, but it differs from that species in lacking fibrous leaf bases, in its mostly fewer leaves, and in its flowers, which have a longer perianth tube 18-23 mm long, with longer filaments, 11-12 mm long, inserted well below the mouth of the tube. It is illustrated by colour photographs. In addition, re-examination of collections of the poorly collected G. outeniquensis Goldblatt necessitates that the recorded length of the perianth tube for that species be significantly extended. Originally recorded as 10-13 mm long, the perianth tube in G. outeniquensis is now determined to be (10-)13-20 mm long.
Disentangling the relative importance of different biodiversity drivers (i.e., climate, edaphic, historical factors, or human impact) to predict plant species richness at the local scale is one of the most important challenges in ecology. Biodiversity modelling is a key tool for the integration of these drivers and the predictions generated are essential , for example, for climate change forecast and conservation planning. However, the reliability of biodiversity models at the local scale remains poorly understood, especially in tropical species-rich areas, where they are required. We inventoried all woody plants with stems ≥ 2.5 cm in 397 plots across the Andes-Amazon gradient. We generated and mapped 19 uncorrelated biodiversity drivers at 90 m resolution, grouped into four categories: microclimatic, microtopographic, anthropic, and edaphic. In order to evaluate the importance of the different categories, we grouped biodiversity drivers into four different clusters by categories. For each of the four clusters of biodiversity drivers, we modelled the observed species richness using two statistical techniques (random forest and Bayesian inference) and two modelling procedures (including or excluding a spatial component). All the biodiversity models produced were evaluated by 10-fold cross-validation. Species richness was accurately predicted by random forest (Spearman correlation up to 0.85 and explained variance up to 67%). The results suggest that precipitation and temperature are important driving forces of species richness in the region. Nonetheless, a spatial component should be considered to properly predict biodiversity. This could reflect macroevolutionary underlying forces not considered here, such as colonization time, dispersal capacities, or speciation rates. However, the proposed biodiversity modelling approach can predict accurately species richness at the local scale and detailed resolution (90 m) in tropical areas, something that previous works had found extremely challenging. The innovative methodology presented here could be employed in other areas with conservation needs.
In this data paper, we present a specimen-based occurrence dataset compiled in the framework of the Conservation of Endemic Central African Trees (ECAT) project with the aim of producing global conservation assessments for the IUCN Red List. The project targets all tree species endemic or sub-endemic to the Central African region comprising the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), Rwanda, and Burundi. The dataset contains 6361 plant collection records with occurrences of 8910 specimens from 337 taxa belonging to 153 genera in 52 families. Many of these tree taxa have restricted geographic ranges and are only known from a small number of herbarium specimens. As assessments for such taxa can be compromised by inadequate data, we transcribed and geo-referenced specimen label information to obtain a more accurate and complete locality dataset. All specimen data were manually cleaned and verified by botanical experts, resulting in improved data quality and consistency.
Cave guano deposits represent a relatively untapped paleoecological archive that can provide information about past vegetation, climate, and bat diet over several millennia. Recent research suggests that carbon isotope values (δ ¹³ C) measured in guano accumulations from insectivorous bats reflect the relative abundance of C 3 and C 4 plants on the landscape while nitrogen isotope values (δ ¹⁵ N) may reflect precipitation amount. Together, these proxies can provide useful information for restoration practitioners seeking to understand how plant species composition has changed over time in relation to climate and land use. To better calibrate these proxies for use in restoration, we compared instrumental records of precipitation and satellite imagery of vegetation with isotope values measured in modern bat guano from Mary Lawson Cave, a large limestone cavern located in central Missouri. Mary Lawson Cave hosts a maternity colony of insectivorous gray bats ( Myotis grisescens ), and as such, contains significant guano accumulations. In the fall of 2018, we collected a 60 cm long guano core that dates to 1999 cal AD at its base. Guano core δ ¹³ C values decrease from the base toward the surface (from ~-26 to -27‰) whereas δ ¹⁵ N values increase toward the surface even after accounting for ammonia volatilization (from ~3 to 5‰). Presently, the landscape around Mary Lawson Cave is dominated by a deciduous forest and pasture. Given that the land cover has changed very little over this period, the decline in δ ¹³ C values toward the present likely reflects a shift in land management on farms and/or increases in invasive C 3 species. Rainfall amounts from nearby Lebanon, Missouri, are significantly positively correlated with guano δ ¹⁵ N values, a relationship that is notably opposite that observed previously in soil and plants. We argue that heavy fertilizer application and significant grazing intensity could lead to the accumulation of large pools of excess labile nitrogen which would be vulnerable to leaching during precipitation events. The relationship between guano δ ¹⁵ N values and precipitation may differ for materials from less agriculturally impacted locations or periods and should be extended into the past with caution.
District Dir and Swat of Pakistan has a rich walnut genotypes that were arisen from the population of naturally grown seedlings. In this study, the genetic divergence of 44 walnut genotypes adapted to the Northern region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan was analysed by 18 SSR molecular markers. Gene number of district Dir observed from 122 to 133 whereas in the district Swat it was observed from 125 to 133. Contents of GC in district Dir ranges from 34.20 to 38.80 whereas in the district Swat it ranges from 34.1 to 38.9. Length of coding regions of gene at district Dir ranges from 77,915 to 77,982 bp whereas in district Swat it ranges from 77,905 to 77,978 bp. In addition, the coding number in district Dir ranged from 82,311 to 82,387 whereas in district Swat it ranged from 82,323 to 82,386. GC (%), length of genome, LSC length, IR length, protein number, SSC length, tRNA, rRNA remains similar in the genome of plastids. The results of this study might provides the molecular markers for future mapping studies for important traits of walnuts.
The current study aimed to assess the pharmacological potential of Justicia adhatoda by evaluating the presence of biologically active compounds using the gas chromatography–mass spectrometry approach and to undertake biological activities for the effectiveness of the present compounds using standard tests. A total of 21 compounds were identified in the gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis of the ethyl acetate fraction in which 14 of the identified compounds are recognized for their pharmacological potential in the literature. In total, four fractions (ethyl acetate, chloroform, n-hexane, and aqueous) were evaluated for pharmacological activities. In carrageenan-induced inflammation, the chloroform fraction exhibited high anti-inflammatory activity (46.51%). Similarly, the analgesic potential of ethyl acetate fraction was the most effective (300 mg/kg) in the acetic acid-induced test. Similarly, in the formalin test, ethyl acetate fraction exhibited maximum inhibition in both early (74.35%) and late phases (88.38). Maximum inhibition of pyrexia (77.98%) was recorded for the ethyl acetate fraction (300 mg/kg). In DPPH assay, the ethyl acetate fraction revealed the highest scavenging potential among other fractions (50 μg/ml resulted in 50.40% and 100 μg/ml resulted in 66.74% scavenging).
The dominant species of a biome can be regarded as its genuine indicator. Evergreen broadleaved forests (EBLFs) in subtropical East Asia harbor high levels of species biodiversity and endemism and are vital to regional carbon storage and cycling. However, the historical assembly of this unique biome is still controversial. Fagaceae is the most essential family in East Asian subtropical EBLFs and its dominant species are vital for the existence of this biome. Here, we used the dominant Fagaceae species to shed light on the dynamic process of East Asian subtropical EBLFs over time. Our results indicate high precipitation in summer and low temperature in winter are the most influential climatic factors for the distribution of East Asian subtropical EBLFs. Modern East Asian subtropical EBLFs did not begin to appear until 23 Ma, subsequently experienced a long‐lasting development in the Miocene and markedly deteriorated at about 4 Ma, driven jointly by orogenesis and paleoclimate. We also document that there is a lag time between when one clade invaded the region and when its members become dominant species within the region. This study may improve our ability to predict and mitigate the threats to biodiversity of East Asian subtropical EBLFs and points to a new path for future studies involving multidisciplinary methods to explore the assembly of regional biomes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
COVID-19 has devastated global communities and economies. The pandemic has exposed socioeconomic disparities and weaknesses in health systems worldwide. Long-term health effects and economic recovery are major concerns. Ecosystem restoration-ie, the repair of ecosystems that have been degraded-relates directly to tackling the health and socioeconomic burdens of COVID-19, because stable and resilient ecosystems are fundamental determinants of health and socioeconomic stability. Here, we use COVID-19 as a case study, showing how ecosystem restoration can reduce the risk of infection and adverse sequelae and have an integral role in humanity's recovery from COVID-19. The next decade will be crucial for humanity's recovery from COVID-19 and for ecosystem repair. Indeed, in the absence of effective, large-scale restoration, 95% of the Earth's land could be degraded by 2050. The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-30) declaration reflects the growing urgency and scale at which we should repair ecosystems. Importantly, ecosystem restoration could also help to combat the health and socioeconomic issues that are associated with COVID-19, yet it is poorly integrated into current responses to the disease. Ecosystem restoration can be a core public health intervention and assist in COVID-19 recovery if it is closely integrated with socioeconomic, health, and environmental policies.
Modes of floral presentation in some angiosperms attract flies that eat and/or oviposit on seasonal fruiting bodies of fungi. Mushroom mimesis by orchid flowers has been speculated in the geoflorous, Indo-Malaysian-Australasian, genus Corybas s.l. for decades but most studies remain fragmentary and are often inconclusive. Here we report the roles of fungus gnats as pollinators of Corybas geminigibbus and C. shanlinshiensis in southwestern Yunnan, China, combining results of field observations, lab analyses, and manipulative experiments. Hand pollination experiments suggested both species were self-compatible but incapable of mechanical self-pollination, thereby requiring pollina-tors for fruit production. A female of a Phthinia sp. (Mycetophilidae) carried a pollinarium of C. geminigibbus dorsally on its thorax. Two females and one male of Exechia sp. (Mycetophilidae) visiting flowers of C. shanlinshiensis carried dorsal depositions of pollinaria on their thoraces. Mycetophilid eggs were not found in the flowers of either species. The comparative fragrance analyses of these flowers and three co-fruiting mushroom species did not suggest that either orchid species was a brood-site mimic. This is the first confirmation of the dispersal of pollinaria of Corybas species by fungus gnats in subtropical-temperate Asia.
The study documents the role of traditional medicinal and therapeutic plants in treating various skin ailments by indigenous communities of the tribal district of North Waziristan, Pakistan. A total of 130 informants and traditional dermatologists were interviewed. They employed 77 plant species belonging to 49 families to treat various skin ailments. The leading life form reported was herbs (41 species), while the dominant family was Lamiaceae (5 species). Leaves were the most commonly used plant part (37 species). The most preferred mode of preparation was paste (30.38%), and the dominant mode of administration was topical (69.23%). Important medicinal plants reported in this study are recommended for further phytochemical screening for bioactive constituents, which may lead to novel drug discoveries.
Tree diversity and composition in Amazonia are known to be strongly determined by the water supplied by precipitation. Nevertheless, within the same climatic regime, water availability is modulated by local topography and soil characteristics (hereafter referred to as local hydrological conditions), varying from saturated and poorly drained to well‐drained and potentially dry areas. While these conditions may be expected to influence species distribution, the impacts of local hydrological conditions on tree diversity and composition remain poorly understood at the whole Amazon basin scale. Using a dataset of 443 1‐ha non‐flooded forest plots distributed across the basin, we investigate how local hydrological conditions influence 1) tree alpha diversity, 2) the community‐weighted wood density mean (CWM‐wd) – a proxy for hydraulic resistance and 3) tree species composition. We find that the effect of local hydrological conditions on tree diversity depends on climate, being more evident in wetter forests, where diversity increases towards locations with well‐drained soils. CWM‐wd increased towards better drained soils in Southern and Western Amazonia. Tree species composition changed along local soil hydrological gradients in Central‐Eastern, Western and Southern Amazonia, and those changes were correlated with changes in the mean wood density of plots. Our results suggest that local hydrological gradients filter species, influencing the diversity and composition of Amazonian forests. Overall, this study shows that the effect of local hydrological conditions is pervasive, extending over wide Amazonian regions, and reinforces the importance of accounting for local topography and hydrology to better understand the likely response and resilience of forests to increased frequency of extreme climate events and rising temperatures.
Caves are home to unique and fragile biotas with high levels of endemism. However, little is known about how the biotic colonization of caves has developed over time, especially in caves from middle and low latitudes. Subtropical East Asia holds the world's largest karst landform with numerous ancient caves, which harbor a high diversity of cave-dwelling organisms and are regarded as a biodiversity hotspot. Here, we assess the temporal dynamics of biotic colonization of subtropical East Asian caves through a multi-taxon analysis with representatives of green plants, animals, and fungi. We then investigate the consequences of paleonviromental changes on the colonization dynamics of these caves in combination with reconstructions of vegetation, temperature, and precipitation. We discover that 88% of cave colonization events occurred after the Oligocene-Miocene boundary, and organisms from the surrounding forest were a major source for subtropical East Asian cave biodiversity. Biotic colonization of subtropical East Asian caves during the Neogene was subject to periods of acceleration and decrease, in conjunction with large-scale, seasonal climatic changes and evolution of local forests. This study highlights the long-term evolutionary interaction between surface and cave biotas; our climate-vegetation-relict model proposed for the subtropical East Asian cave biota may help explain the evolutionary origins of other mid-latitude subterranean biotas.
Measurement(s) Bark thickness • Leaf area • Leaf aluminium (Al) content per leaf dry mass • Specific leaf area • Leaf calcium (Ca) content per leaf dry mass • Leaf carbon (C) content per leaf dry mass • Leaf carbon (C) isotope signature (delta 13 C) • Leaf compoundness • Leaf dry mass per leaf fresh mass (leaf dry matter content, LDMC) • Leaf magnesium (Mg) content per leaf dry mass • Leaf nitrogen (N) content per leaf dry mass • Leaf nitrogen (N) isotope signature (delta 15 N) • Leaf phosphorus (P) content per leaf dry mass • Leaf potassium (K) content per leaf dry mass • Leaf texture (sclerophylly, physical strength, toughness) • leaf thickness • Plant growth form • Stem conduit cross-sectional area (vessels and tracheids) • Stem conduit density (vessels and tracheids) • Sapwood specific conductivity Technology Type(s) bark gauge • Scanner Device • inductively-coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy • Calculated from area and mass • CN analyzer • Isotope analyzer • in vivo visual assessment • Ratio of fresh to dry mass • punch tester • micrometer • optical analysis of cross sections with specific software • weight and volume measurement • estimated with equations from wood anatomy Factor Type(s) Country • Lat • Long • Elevation • Collection_year Sample Characteristic - Organism Tracheophyta Sample Characteristic - Environment Andean ecosystems • cloud forest • tropical upper montane forest • tropical lower montane forest • Paramo • Andes Sample Characteristic - Location South America • Venezuela • Colombia • Ecuador • Peru • Bolivia • Argentina
The growth of life on Earth over more than 4 billion years has experienced five major extinction events, each followed by a period of rapid increase in species number. When organisms first invaded the land about 480 million years ago, another explosive proliferation of species followed. Our species, Homo sapiens , appeared some 300 000 years ago, developed agriculture about 11 000 years ago and grew rapidly to some 7.8 billion people, who are currently consuming about 175% of the sustainable productivity available worldwide. By mid-century (2050), we will have grown to about 9.9 billion. Wealth is very unequally distributed. Meanwhile, the Earth's mean temperature has increased by 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels, and we are on track for a total increase of 2.6 to 3.9°C. We are driving species to extinction at a rate unprecedented for the past 66 million years. These changes promise to be disastrous for the maintenance of civilization. Indeed, our only hope for a sustainable future will be for us to find a way to overcome our unremitting greed at all levels and to love one another while building social justice. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Ecological complexity and the biosphere: the next 30 years’.
The Database of anthropogenic vegetation of Urals and adjacent territories (GIVD ID 00-RU-008) includes 4,327 vegetation plots of anthropogenic vegetation from 3 regions of the Russian Federation (the Republic of Bashkortostan, Orenburg, Chelyabinsk regions) and 1 region of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Aktobe region). All relevés were made between 1984 and 2021 AD. 1865 vegetation plots are from different literature sources (28 sources), 2462 are unpublished relevés from the authors. 94% of the relevés are geo-referenced. The ecological conditions were assessed by the use of average Landolt indicator values. The taxonomy of vascular species is given according to Cherepanov (1995). The vegetation plots in the database belong to nine vegetation classes. 7 anthropogenic ( Sisymbrietea , Digitario sanguinalis-Eragrostietea minoris , Polygono-Poetea annuae , Artemisietea vulgaris , Epilobietea angustifolii , Bidentetea , Robinietea ) and 2 semi-natural phytosociological classes: Molinio-Arrhenatheretea (anthropogenically transformed meadows, lawns, etc. of the union Cynosurion cristati Tx. 1947.) and Festuco-Brometea (anthropogenically transformed steppe communities found within human settlements). Vegetation plots include also invasive species ( Acer negundo , Ambrosia trifida , Echinocystis lobata , Impatiens glandulifera , Solidago canadensis , Solidago gigantea , Heracleum sosnowskyi , Hordeum jubatum , Xanthium albinum etc.).
Background: Since the beginning of civilization, medicinal plants have been used in human healthcare systems. Studies have been conducted worldwide to evaluate their efficacy, and some of the results have triggered the development of plant-based medications. Rural women in Pakistan frequently experience gynaecological disorders due to malnutrition and heavy physical work during pregnancy. Due to the low economic status, the remoteness of the area, and the lack of modern health services, herbal therapy for gynaecological disorders is common among the indigenous tribes of the study area. Methods: Field surveys were carried out from April 2018 to October 2020 to collect data regarding medicinal plants used for different gynaecological disorders. A semistructured questionnaire was used to collect ethnogynaecological data. Results: In total, 67 medicinal plant species belonging to 38 families are being used to treat 26 different gynaecological problems. The herbaceous growth form and the Lamiaceae family were recorded with the maximum number of plant species (42 species and 7 species, respectively). Leaves are the most highly utilized plant part, with 16 species. In the case preparation method, decoction was the dominant method (25 species, 36.76%). The informants reported the maximum number of species for the treatment of irregular menstrual flow as 11 species (15.28%). The highest relative frequency of citation (RFC) value was obtained for Acacia modesta (0.37), and the use value (UV) for Tecomella undulata (0.85). The highest informants' consensus factor (ICF) value (1.0) was obtained for emmenagogue and tonic each after delivery. The highest consensus index (CI%) value was calculated for Acacia modesta (36.92%). The Lamiaceae had the highest family importance value (FIV) (98.46%). Conclusion: This is the first ever quantitative study focusing mainly on ethnogynaecological study conducted in the tribal areas of North Waziristan which highlights the importance of traditional herbal remedies for their basic medical requirements. The results of this study would serve as a baseline for advanced phytochemical and pharmacological screening, as well as conservationists for further studies.
We publish in this article a new species of tree of Drypetes (Putranjivaceae) from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of the Congo, D. palustris, which occurs in the Western Congolian Swamp Forests ecoregion. It is known from eight gatherings and we compare it with the species with the most similar morphology, D. calvescens, of which we have studied 51 gatherings collected in Central Africa. A taxonomic treatment of both species, including their detailed descriptions, typification of their names, a comparative table summarizing their main morphological differences, an illustration and information about their habitat and distribution are provided. A provisional IUCN Red List assessment shows that D. palustris is Endangered and D. calvescens is of Least Concern.
Tropical forests are some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, yet their functioning is threatened by anthropogenic disturbances and climate change. Global actions to conserve tropical forests could be enhanced by having local knowledge on the forestsʼ functional diversity and functional redundancy as proxies for their capacity to respond to global environmental change. Here we create estimates of plant functional diversity and redundancy across the tropics by combining a dataset of 16 morphological, chemical and photosynthetic plant traits sampled from 2,461 individual trees from 74 sites distributed across four continents together with local climate data for the past half century. Our findings suggest a strong link between climate and functional diversity and redundancy with the three trait groups responding similarly across the tropics and climate gradient. We show that drier tropical forests are overall less functionally diverse than wetter forests and that functional redundancy declines with increasing soil water and vapour pressure deficits. Areas with high functional diversity and high functional redundancy tend to better maintain ecosystem functioning, such as aboveground biomass, after extreme weather events. Our predictions suggest that the lower functional diversity and lower functional redundancy of drier tropical forests, in comparison with wetter forests, may leave them more at risk of shifting towards alternative states in face of further declines in water availability across tropical regions.
DNA contained in animal scat provides a wealth of information about the animal, and DNA metabarcoding of scat collections can provide key information about animal populations and communities. Next‐generation DNA sequencing technologies and DNA metabarcoding provide an efficient means for obtaining information available in scat samples. We used Multifaceted DNA Metabarcoding (MDM) of noninvasively collected bat guano pellets from a Myotis lucifugus colony on Fort Drum Military Installation, New York, USA, and from two mixed‐species bat roosts on Fort Huachuca Military Installation, Arizona, USA, to identify attributes such as bat species composition, sex ratios, diet, and the presence of pathogens and parasites. We successfully identified bat species for nearly 98% of samples from Fort Drum and 90% of samples from Fort Huachuca, and identified the sex for 84% and 67% of samples from these same locations, respectively. Species and sex identification matched expectations based on prior censuses of bat populations utilizing those roosts, though samples from some species were more or less common than anticipated within Fort Huachuca roosts. Nearly 62% of guano samples from Fort Drum contained DNA from Pseudogymnoascus destructans, where bats with wing damage from White‐nose Syndrome (WNS) were commonly observed. Putative dietary items were detected in a majority of samples from insectivorous bats on Fort Drum (81%) and Fort Huachuca (63%). A minority of guano samples identified as the nectarivorous Leptonycteris yerbabuenae (28%) provided DNA sequences from putative forage plant species. Finally, DNA sequences from both putative ecto‐ and endoparasite taxa were detected in 35% and 56% of samples from Fort Drum and Fort Huachuca, respectively. This study demonstrates that the combination of noninvasive sampling, DNA metabarcoding, and sample and locus multiplexing provide a wide array of data that are otherwise difficult to obtain.
The tribe Merianieae is a strictly Neotropical group with ca. 300 species in eight genera: Adelobotrys, Axinaea, Centronia, Graffenrieda, Macrocentrum, Maguireanthus, Meriania, and Salpinga. The tribe is characterized by diplostemonous flowers, anthers with simple to complex dorsal connective appendages, lacking ventral appendages, short or absent pedoconnectives, superior or partly superior ovaries, and capsular fruits. The majority of species have terminal inflorescences, pyramidal and cuneate seeds, and subulate anther thecae, but there is a remarkable amount of variation in habit, calyx, and androecial morphology. Phylogenetic analyses have shown that Salpinga is the only monophyletic genus as currently defined, but most clades are well supported by morphology and geography. Taxonomic realignments should wait until the tribe is better sampled with a higher number of species and loci.
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106 members
Richard H Zander
  • Science and Conservation
Peter M Jørgensen
  • Science and Conservation
John C Brinda
  • Science & Conservation
Adam B Smith
  • Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development
2354 Shaw Blvd, 63110, St. Louis, MO, United States
Head of institution
Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson