Welcome to Lauren and Ethan!

We are very happy to be the new academic homes of Lauren Jenkins and Ethan Abercrombie! Lauren will be working on an NSF-sponsored project comparing methods for reconstructing species’ biogeographic histories. Ethan is a grad student at Washington University in Saint Louis doing a lab rotation focusing on community thermophilizaton. Welcome, Lauren and Ethan!

An odd disjunction

Range disjunctions are common in the natural world and, in eastern North America, are thought to arise from barriers formed by the Mississippi River embayment, vicariance due to glacial flooding during the Pleistocene, colonization from separate glacial refugia, or long-distance dispersal in recent times. Led by Rebekah Mohn and Christy Edwards, our new paper in …
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How to correct for collector-specific bias when modeling species’ distributions

It is well-known that herbarium and museum specimen records provide imperfect, and often biased, snapshots of where species occur. To date, a number of bias-correction methods exist, some from the species distribution modeling (SDM) framework based on data filtering and some from the occupancy modeling (OM) framework based on collector-specific covariates. However, we don’t really …
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Thank you, Alan Graham

We are very sad to announce the passing of Alan Graham, Ph.D., a renowned paleobotanist and great supporter of the Global Change Conservation Lab here at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Alan was a thoughtful, witty, and generous person who elevated himself above his circumstances, as detailed in his autobiography. Accomplishment in science was a key …
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Battle or synergy of the “changes”? Land use/land cover change versus climate change

Historically, climate change vulnerability assessments have been just that–assessments of how species are expected to be affected by climate change. Nonetheless, even if anthropogenic climate were not occurring, Earth would still be in the throes of a human-generated mass extinction, mostly due to how we have altered land cover and used land-based resources. In our …
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Common gardens: A lens into local adaptation

We are happy to announce the publication of a review article in Journal of Ecology on the use of common gardens for understanding local adaptation, with a focus on grasslands. Interesting facts: The modal study employing common gardens used a single tree species growing in a monoculture sourced from three sites and growing at one …
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Matt Austin: Climate versus phenology on STL Public Radio

A pack of old, yellowed papers… puzzling species names… and some sleuthing led Matt and colleagues to uncover how climate change is affecting pollen transfer within and between species and perhaps inducing greater selfing over the past 80 years. Matt’s research and the wider story were recently covered by Saint Louis Public Radio!

Congratulations to Kelsey!

Kelsey has received the prestigious Shirley A. Graham Fellowship in Systematic Botany and Biogeography! She will be working this summer disentangling the relative influences of taxonomy, climate, geography, and mating system on flowering phenology of Leavenworthia. Congratulations, Kelsey!

Madagascar, and hope in conservation

What is the fate of Madagascar’s rainforest habitat, and how do you keep going emotionally, when the world is burning? Jeannie Raharimampionona and Adam recently chatted with Sarah Fenske of St Louis on the Air to talk about things far away and close to home.

rainbow: Extract weather data across a range of days/months/years from PRISM

I’m happy to announce the release of rainbow, an R package that efficiently extracts values of weather variables from the PRISM raster weather data set. Extractions can be done for multiple points using multiple daily, monthly, or annual rasters at a time and for specific windows of time (e.g., every day in a 72-day interval). …
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How well do species distribution models measure variable importance?

One of the most common applications of species distribution models is to identify important variables and measure their relative effect. Despite hundreds of papers assessing the predictive power of SDMs, there are none assessing their inferential power. Maria Santos and Adam recently completed the first such analysis! Smith, A.B. and Santos, M.J. Testing the ability …
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How to Protect Earth’s Biological Diversity Forever: Lessons from Maitreya Buddha, Pharma Bros, and Yucca Mountain

How can we protect species which have the potential to persist millions of years, given that we can drive them extinct within just a few decades? To answer this question, we need to look beyond conservation biology into fields such as religious studies, nuclear semiotics, and tsunami warnings. This was a invited talk by Adam …
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Welcome to Matthew Austin!

We’re very happy to serve as one of the new academic homes of Dr. Matthew Austin! Matthew is a postdoc with the Living Earth Collaborative studying how climate-induced flowering phenology shifts impact interspecific pollen transfer and the evolution of mating systems. Matthew is broadly interested in how pollination systems respond to environmental variability and graduated …
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Integrating different types of data to infer species’ biogeographic histories

Watch our talk given at the Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America on a novel technique for integrating pollen, DNA, and occurrence data to infer biogeographical trajectories! Based on our review which won “runner-up” in Ecography‘s E4 Award: Hoban, S., Dawson, A. Robinson, J., Smith, A.B., Strand, A. 2019. Inference of biogeographic history …
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