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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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.

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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GORP (genetics-occurrence-rhizosphere-phenotype)

We are very happy to partner with collaborators at Kansas State University and the University of Kansas to study the interdependence between the occurrence, phenotype, genotype, and rhizosphere (soil microbes) of a dominant tallgrass prairie plant, Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)! This is a project funded by the US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food …
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Shortlisted on The Wildlife Society’s 2020 Wildlife Publication Awards!

Our paper on spatially-varying controls of pika distributions was shortlisted (of 5 papers) by The Wildlife Society! This is a triennial award with a record number of submissions, so we’re honored, regardless of the final outcome. Smith, A.B., Beever, E.A., Kessler, A.E., Johnston, A.N., Ray, C., Epps, C.W., Lanier, H.C., Klinger, R.C., Rodhouse, T.J., Varner, …
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The decimation of Madagascar’s rainforest habitat

It is honestly with sadness that I announce our new publication on the fate of Madagscar’s rainforest habitat in Nature Climate Change. Modeling deforestation assuming the lowest rate of deforestation across the period 2000-2014, I could only get the rainforest to last to the 2070s… and the highest rate of loss occurred in 2018, outside …
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Runner-up in Ecography’s E4 Award!

Our article on formal integration of different lines of biogeographic evidence (genetic, pollen, occurrence) won runner-up in annual Ecography’s E4 Award! Hoban, S., Dawson, A. Robinson, J., Smith, A.B., Strand, A. 2019. Inference of biogeographic history by formally integrating distinct lines of evidence: genetic, environmental niche, and fossil. Ecography 42:1991-2011. (open access)