Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Discoveries of the week #32

The Chinese leafhopper species of the genus Scaphoidella Vilbaste are reviewed, and one new species Scaphoidella dietrichi sp. n. is described and illustrated. Two species are recorded from China for the first time: Scaphoidella clavatella Dai & Dietrich, 2011 and Scaphoidella zhangi (Viraktamath & Mohan, 2004). A key based on the male genitalia is given to distinguish Chinese species of this genus and a map provided their geographic distribution. The type specimens of the new species is deposited in the Institute of Entomology, Guizhou University, Guiyang, China (GUGC).

This new species was named after Dr. C. H. Dietrich in recognition of his work on leafhoppers.
no DNA Barcodes

Two new species of Chimarra (Chimarrita) are described and illustrated, Chimarra (Chimarrita) mesodonta sp. n. and Chimarra (Chimarrita) anticheira sp. n. from the Chimarra (Chimarrita) rosalesi and Chimarra (Chimarrita) simpliciforma species groups, respectively. The morphological variation of Chimarra (Curgia) morio is also illustrated. Chimarra (Otarrha) odonta and Chimarra (Chimarrita) kontilos are reported to occur in the northeast region of Brazil for the first time. An updated key is provided for males and females of the all species in the subgenus Chimarrita.

Two new caddisfly species from Brazil. The name of the first one is derived from the Greek word 'meso' for middle, and 'donti' for tooth, referring to a median tooth present in the inferior appendages. The name of the second new species was also derived from the Greek. The is word anticheira, which means thumb, again referring to the shape of a diagnostic structure on the inferior appendages. 
no DNA Barcodes

The collection of the Southeast Asian tree snail genus Amphidromus Albers, 1850 at the Natural History Museum, London includes more than 100 lots of type specimens representing 85 name-bearing types, 9 paratypes and 6 paralectotypes, and one nomen nudum. Lectotypes are here designated for A. cambojiensis, A. perakensis globosus, A. columellaris gloriosa, A. maculiferus inflata, A. lepidus, A. sinistralis lutea, A. moniliferus, A. maculiferus obscura, A. sinistralis rosea and A. sinensi vicaria. In addition, the missing types of A.A. Gould were discovered and their type status is discussed. A complete catalogue of these types, including colour photographs is provided for the first time. After examining these type specimens, two new Amphidromus species, Amphidromus (Syndromus) globonevilli Sutcharit & Panha, sp. n. and Amphidromus (Syndromus) principalis Sutcharit & Panha, sp. n. were recognized and are described herein.

Again, two new species. this time some tree snails from Thailand. Number one's name is a combination of the Latin word “globous” meaning ball or sphere and the name of Dr. Geoffroy Nevill, who first recognized this as a new species. The name of the second species is derived from the Latin 'principalis' meaning leader and refers to Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand.
no DNA Barcodes

Newly obtained and previously published sequences of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene were analyzed to examine the biogeographic assembly of the caenogastropod fauna (belonging to the families Assimineidae, Cochliopidae, and Hydrobiidae) of an isolated spring along the lower Colorado River in southern Nevada (Blue Point Spring). Based on available COI clock calibrations, the three lineages that comprise this fauna are 2.78–1.42 million years old, which is roughly coeval or slightly younger than the age of Blue Point Spring (inferred from local fossil spring deposits). Two of the lineages—endemic Pyrgulopsis coloradensis and Assiminea aff. infima—are most closely related to snails in the Death Valley area (well to the west) and likely colonized Blue Point Spring by transport on birds. A single haplotype was detected in both of these snails, suggesting that they may have only recently colonized Blue Point Spring. The third lineage—endemic Tryonia infernalis, newly described herein based on morphological and molecular evidence—is most closely related to a geographically proximal species in a lower Colorado River tributary (T. clathrata); the split between these taxa may be the product of vicariance (severance of a prior drainage connection) or a separate jump dispersal event. The considerable genetic diversity in T. infernalis (three haplotypes differing by 0.6% mean sequence divergence) suggests a possibly lengthy history of local differentiation. Our findings also identify Blue Point Spring as a new micro-hotspot of groundwater-dependent biodiversity in Nevada and will assist ongoing efforts to protect and conserve these imperiled ecosystems.

The species name of this new freshwater snail species is a Latin adjective meaning hellish, and refers to the Valley of Fire, which is close to the type locality.

Cogia buena
A new species of Cogia A. Butler, 1870, is described from two localities ranging from 1470 to 2000 m elevation in the Sierra Madre del Sur of Oaxaca, Mexico; it occurs in cloud forest habitats and appears to be endemic to Mexico. Cogia buena, n. sp., is closely related to C. mala Evans, 1953 and C. aventinus (Godman & Salvin, 1894); these three species are the only known Cogia taxa whose males lack a hair tuft on the dorsal hindwing, and all have similar genitalia. 

A new species of the large skipper butterfly family. The species name is Spanish and translates to 'good Cogia'. The new species was named in consideration of' its apparent sister-species Cogia mala, which is Spanish for 'bad Cogia', although its name is was derived from the name of its country of origin, Guatemala.
no DNA Barcodes

Solanum alliariifolium, Solanum rhizomatum
Two new Bolivian species are described from the Morelloid clade of Solanum (section Solanum in the traditional sense). Solanum alliariifolium M.Nee & Särkinen, sp. nov. is found in montane forests between 1,900 and 3,200 m and is morphologically most similar to S. leptocaulon Van Heurck & Müll.Arg., also from montane forests in southern Peru and Bolivia. Solanum rhizomatum Särkinen & M.Nee, sp. nov. is found in seasonally dry forests and matorral vegetation in lower elevations between 1,300 and 2,900 m and is most similar to S. pygmaeum Cav., a species native to sub-tropical Argentina but introduced in subtropical and temperate areas worldwide.

Yet another set of newly described species of the huge genus Solanum. The first new name refers to the leaf shape which the collector likened to leafs of Alliaria petiolataSolanum rhizomatum is named for its rhizomatous underground stem.
no DNA Barcodes yet

Monday, March 30, 2015

Mapping rainforest biodiversity

Australian rainforests have been fragmented due to past climatic changes and more recently landscape change as a result of clearing for agriculture and urban spread. The subtropical rainforests of South Eastern Queensland are significantly more fragmented than the tropical World Heritage listed northern rainforests and are subject to much greater human population pressures. The Australian rainforest flora is relatively taxonomically rich at the family level, but less so at the species level. Current methods to assess biodiversity based on species numbers fail to adequately capture this richness at higher taxonomic levels.

Traditional methods of biodiversity inventory are time consuming and are dependent on the availability of taxonomic expertise, which is a resource in rapid decline. Furthermore, identification of plants in tropical rainforests in most cases remains a challenge even for experts. DNA Barcoding represents a possible alternative means of estimating species richness without high level expertise in field identification skills in much less time.

A new study just published in PLoS ONE now shows how DNA Barcoding can be used to map plant biodiversity in a rainforest thereby helping to set conservation goals for the studied region. 

We developed a DNA barcode library for the SE Queensland rainforest flora to support a methodology for biodiversity assessment that incorporates both taxonomic diversity and phylogenetic relationships. We placed our SE Queensland phylogeny based on a three marker DNA barcode within a larger international rainforest barcode library and used this to calculate phylogenetic diversity (PD). 

Phylogenetic diversity is a measure of biodiversity that estimates phylogenetic difference between species. It is defined and calculated as the minimum total length of all the branches required to span a given set of taxa on a phylogenetic tree. 

The concept of phylogenetic diversity has been rapidly adopted in conservation planning, with programs as it allows to not only by-pass species identification especially when dealing with cryptic diversity, but also provides predictions of general biodiversity patterns. Some authors claim that by measuring phylogenetic relationships between taxa which in turn reflect evolutionary history we would end up with a more relevant estimation of biodiversity.

Conservation of biodiversity is more politically successful when it is seen as providing benefits to humans. Several authors have suggested that conserving PD may be an efficient way to capture a diversity of attributes which may prove useful. Dan Janzen argued that DNA barcoding should be adopted into the inventory to assess and document tropical rainforest biodiversity. This study demonstrates an application for biodiversity assessment and conservation planning that has benefited from this approach. Costion et al. showed how barcodes can determine species numbers accurately and so can be used to supplement rainforest inventory data and methods. The additional data gained on phylogenetic relatedness adds value to this approach especially where taxonomy is not well defined or field identification tools limited. This study identified the areas of highest priority for biodiversity conservation and utilised phylogenetic diversity as well as species richness to ensure greater capture of biodiversity incorporating higher order phylogenetic sampling of biodiversity.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Climate change in disturbed ecosystems

Climate change poses a serious challenge for science as researchers have to develop new concepts for research and modelling to provide better and more realistic answers and predictions of what the impacts will be. INCREASE is an EU-funded infrastructure of seven large-scale climate change experiments in shrublands, which was created in 2009 to meet these challenges by further developing non-intrusive technologies for realistic climate manipulations, by devising non destructive sampling methodologies and by creating a climate change model for shrublands. INCREASE involves scientists from several European countries and is headed by professor Inger Kappel Schmidt at the University of Copenhagen's Department of Geoscience and Natural Resources Management.

Newly published results from the experimental sites confirmed the importance of disturbance for ecosystem responses to climate change:

Here we show that vegetation (abundance, species richness and species composition) across seven European shrublands is quite resistant to moderate experimental warming and drought, and responsiveness is associated with the dynamic state of the ecosystem, with recently disturbed sites responding to treatments. Furthermore, most of these responses are not rapid (2–5 years) but emerge over a longer term (7–14 years). These results suggest that successional state influences the sensitivity of ecosystems to climate change, and that ecosystems recovering from disturbances may be sensitive to even modest climatic changes.

The study demonstrates that many ecosystems are resistant to climate fluctuations. But even small climatic changes can have lasting effects on ecosystems that are subjected to disturbances which not necessarily have to be caused by humans such as fires or insect outbreaks. The research points out that disturbance and successional stage should be considered when predicting ecosystem responses to climate change and it also shows that any research bias towards undisturbed ecosystems might lead to an underestimation of the impacts of climate change.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

News from the DNA Barcoding intro course

Posting has been light these days as there is a lot going on at the institute and because I am teaching the online DNA Barcoding Introduction course. This course is one for the record books with 44 participants from 30 nations:

Such a large international group is a great resource for information and interesting stories especially when it spreads across almost all continents. The course has a number of interactive elements such as discussion forums one of which started this week. Participants get to exchange ideas and experiences. It is great to see how wide DNA Barcoding has spread within the last 11 years and very helpful to see how it is perceived and used in other parts of the world.

We are currently setting up another offering for June/July. If you are interested or know somebody who could benefit from participating please stay tuned for the official announcement which will hopefully come out next week.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Discoveries of the week #31

The small-range millipedes Tasmaniosoma anubis sp. n., T. interfluminum sp. n. and T. nicolaus sp. n. are described, and the colour of live T. barbatulum Mesibov, 2010 is documented.

One of these tiny new millipedes (Tasmaniosoma anubis) is only known to occur within the city of Launceston, Tasmania, Australia. The 1 cm-long species was discovered in a city park by two local naturalists. Its name Anubis is taken from the jackal-headed god of ancient Egypt, and the top of the genitalia of male T. anubis have branches which resemble the snout and ears of a jackal.
no DNA Barcodes

Hallodapomimus antennatus sp. n. (Hemiptera: Heteroptera, Miridae, Phylinae, Hallodapini) is described from a macropterous female found in Eocene Baltic amber. The new species can be recognized readily from the other species of the genus, mainly due to its unusual second antennal segment. A key for the identification of all known fossil Hallodapini is presented.

Don't expect a DNA barcode anytime soon from this new hemipteran species. This is not Jurassic Park. This specimen has been discovered in a piece of amber. Its name refers to the unusual flattened and widened second antennal segment.
no DNA Barcodes

Recent molecular genetic work, combined with morphological comparisons, on Malagasy members of the bat genus Miniopterus (Family Miniopteridae), has uncovered a number of cryptic species. Based on recently collected specimens and associated tissues, we examine patterns of variation in M. aelleni, the holotype of which comes from Ankarana in northernMadagascar. Using molecular genetic (mitochondrial cytochrome b) and morphological characters we describe a new species, M. ambohitrensis sp. nov. In northern Madagascar, M. ambohitrensis and M. aelleni are allopatric, but occur in relatively close geographical contact (approximately 40 km direct line distance) with M. ambohitrensis found at Montagne d’Ambre in montane humid forest and M. aelleni sensu stricto at Ankarana in dry deciduous forest. Morphologically, this new taxon is differentiated from M. aelleni based on pelage coloration, external measurements, craniodental differences, and tragus shape. Comparisons using 725 bp of cytochrome b found a divergence of 1.1% within M. aelleni sensu stricto, 0.8% within M. ambohitrensis, and 3.3% between these two clades. The two sister species do not demonstrate acoustical differences based on recordings made in a flight cage. Miniopterus ambohitrensis is known from four localities in the northern and central portions of Madagascar, all from montane regions and across an elevational range from about 800 to 1600 m; its calculated “Extent of occurrence” is 15,143 km2 . It is possible that this species is at least partially migratory.

The species name is derived from the geographical name of the type locality, which in
Malagasy is Ambohitra. In the Malagasy language, the root word of Ambohitra is vohitra meaning mountain or highlands, also providing an ecological context as the bat occurs at higher elevations. No barcodes unfortunately as the authors decided to sequence cyt b despite the fact that about 800 species of bats already have a proper COI barcode. 
no DNA Barcodes

Macrobrachium indianum new species is described from the Pambar River, Kerala, S. India. The species shares certain characters with M. gurudeve Jayachandran & Raji, 2004, M. bombayense Almelker & Sankolli, 2006 and M. kulkarnii Almelker & Sankolli, 2006, while it differs remarkably from these three species in distinctive diagnostic characters: rostral formula 7–8/3–4 with 1 postorbital teeth, one tooth above orbit; carapace smooth with distal end of rostrum directed downwards; cephalothorax longer than rostrum; in second chelate leg, proximal cutting edge of movable finger with two weak denticles, one weak denticle in immovable finger, carpus longer than merus, merus shorter than propodus and longer than ischium; dactylus the shortest podomere. Five thick and a few thin reddish brown bands of chromatophores are seen on carapace. Pigmentation is found mid and ventro-laterally on abdominal segments, pereiopods have chromatophores at the distal part of podomeres.

A new species pf prawn named after India, the native country of both species and authors.
no DNA Barcodes

The genus Platytenerus Miyatake, 1985 (Coleoptera: Cleridae) is redescribed and classified into the subfamily Neorthopleurinae Opitz, 2009. A phylogenetic tree is supplementally provided for Platytenerus based on twenty morphological and two geographical characters. A new species of the genus, Platytenerus iriomotensis sp. n. is described from Iriomote Island, Okinawa, Japan.

A new species of checkered beetles from Japan. The genus so far had only one representative in Japan. This descritions adds another one to that. The species name is derived from its type locality, Iriomote Island.
no DNA Barcodes

Dysphania geoffreyi is described as a new species, with records in China (Xizang and Yunnan provinces) and Bhutan. It differs from morphologically similar taxa by virtue of the clustered flowers in the inflorescence, indumentum set on the perianth, terminally concave pericarp papillae, and smaller seeds 0.5–0.6 mm in diameter. In total eight native Dysphania species are identified in Himalaya and Tibet, and revised distribution patterns of D. bhutanica, D. himalaica and D. tibetica are presented. The most significant reproductive features of all native Dysphania taxa are summarized. 

A new member of the goosefoot family. The species is named after Dr. Geoffrey Harper a former developmental physiologist at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
no DNA Barcodes

Monday, March 23, 2015

DNA Barcode Conference Plenary - Louis Bernatchez

Today's DNA Barcoding conference plenary sneak preview comes from a fellow fish researcher who I know since my time as doctoral student. He came as visiting researcher to our lab in Konstanz and shared a lot of his experience in population genetics and the back then brand new methods such as AFLP

Louis Bernatchez is an evolutionary biologist specialised in genomics, conservation, and evolution of fishes in the Department of Biology at Laval University, Québec. He holds a Canadian Research Chair in genomics and conservation of aquatic resources and has received several prestigious awards, including the Prix du Québec Marie-Victorin, elected member of the Royal Society of Canada, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the E.W.R. Steacie award (NSERC), the Michel-Jurdant Award (ACFAS), and the Stevenson Lecturer of the Canadian Conference for Fisheries Research. He co-founded and is currently the chief-editor of the journal Evolutionary Applications and has also been Associate Editor with Molecular Ecology for the last 15 years. He is a co-founder of the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution and served this Society as Treasurer for its first 5 years of existence. He has published over 300 research articles, with several important contributions to DNA barcoding of North American freshwater fishes.

The majority of the research projects conducted in my laboratory is integrated into the research program of the Canada Research Chair Genomics and Conservation of Aquatic Resources.  We aim to accomplish three general objectives. The first objective is to acquire fundamental knowledge on evolutionary processes responsible for generating and maintaining genetic diversity within and among populations. This will in turn stimulate the long term economic viability and social value of aquatic species in three complementary domains of activity : recreational and commercial exploitation (fisheries), biodiversity conservation, and aquaculture. The second general objective is to foster the training of highly qualified biologists, researchers, and research professionals in areas of high priority for Canada. A third objective is to increase the public awareness of the usefulness university scientific research (both basic and applied) regarding the improvement of management and conservation practices of natural populations. The most distinctive character of our research projects lies in the integrative approach that combines the fields of quantitative and functional genomics, population genomics, bioinformatics, physiology and ecology within an evolutionary framework. The integrative nature of these projects is also reflected by the diversity of their topics. For instance, the current issues surrounding fisheries, aquaculture and biodiversity conservation are generally considered distinct with few common links between them. Such a view has most often been a source of conflict among the people that work or research these areas. In contrast, the view that we are promoting through the research chair program lies on the assumption that these three sectors are facing a common problem, which is the genetic erosion of genetic diversity, as well as incomplete knowledge of the fundamental processes that generate and maintain genetic diversity.  A main research area of our current research projects focuses on the comprehension of genotype-environment interactions, particularly in cases of reproductively isolated populations that have diverged to exploit distinct ecological resources. Our principal study systems include lacustrine fish populations (whitefish, genus Coregonus, Salmonidae) that have recently diverged and vary with respect to their level of reproductive isolation in relation to their level of specialization towards distinct ecological niches. A second main area is to comprehend the respective roles and impact of historical, contemporary and anthropogenic factors (such as exploitation, stocking, translocation, domestication and habitat disturbances) on the genetic diversity of animal populations, as well as the genetic basis of local adaptation. We have also contributed to the Canadian Barcode of Life Network initiative. A new exciting field of application that is currently being investigated pertains to the analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA) towards keeping track of biological invasion, monitor community diversity in aquatic habitats, as well as quantifying biomass in a fishery management context.

From the inbox: NEAT

Just found this letter in my email inbox and thought it is worth to be shared:

Dear colleagues and friends, 
Most of you have already heard about this new academic network on arctic terrestrial/ freshwater arthropods, which we will from now on refer to as:
NEAT – NEtwork on Arthropods of the Tundra.

It has taken a while to get back to you all. One reason for this is that CBMP – the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program asked us to form the official network on invertebrates for the CBMP and I have been discussing this with colleagues for the past weeks.

While it makes sense for our network to contribute to such processes as the CBMP, I have decided to propose that we start out as an independent network and work towards our own goals of learning about each other’s study organisms, sites, methods and results with no formal obligations and expectations. This can obviously be changed at a later date.

With this e-mail I would like to ask you to provide input to a short survey, so we can add information to the web site we are about to construct.

We are also planning a newsletter to be sent out twice a year (probably in May and October). Tentatively, the newsletter will include information about field work and meetings taking place as well as a way to distribute job adverts etc. The newsletter would also be an outlet for requests for sample or data collection at multiple sites. Finally, we are considering highlighting recent findings in the research field.

We hope you will take an active role in the network and please send us any suggestions or ideas for ways to make the most of it.
Please pass on this e-mail to others who you think could be interested.

Best wishes to you all,
Toke T. Høye
on behalf of the steering group:
Derek Sikes, Chris Buddle, Terry Wheeler, Steve Coulson, Peter Convey, Tomas Roslin, Joe Bowden, Toke T. Høye

h/t Torbjørn Ekrem

Friday, March 20, 2015

DNA Barcode Conference Plenary - Bridget Stutchbury

Today another guest post by a conference plenary speaker:

Bridget Stutchbury is an ornithologist and professor in the Department of Biology at York University, Toronto. Bridget completed her M.Sc. at Queen’s University and her Ph.D. at Yale, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution where she studied the ‘winter’ ecology of migrants in the tropics. As a Canada Research Chair at York U, Bridget studied migratory songbirds to investigate extra-pair mating systems, off-territory movements, and demographics in fragmented landscapes. She also published a series of papers, and a book, on the behavioural ecology of tropical birds and why it differs from typical temperate zone models. Her current research focusses on tracking the incredible long distance migration journeys of songbirds to understand their migration strategies and population declines. She serves on the board of Wildlife Preservation Canada and is the author of Silence of the Songbirds (2007) and The Bird Detective (2010).

Making the connection between Wood Thrush declines and tropical deforestation

Wood Thrushes are seldom seen but their flute-like song is bold, beautiful, and full of life. Summer evenings can bring a refreshing and ringing dusk chorus of “ee-oh-lay” from the thrushes in nearby forests but this once common bird is well on its way to becoming a rarity. According to the Breeding Bird Survey this species has declined by over 50% since the late 1960s. The Wood Thrush is an ambassador for the forest birds of eastern North America, and a modern day ‘canary in the coal mine’. 

I first wrote about the demise of the Wood Thrush in Silence of the Songbirds (2007) and began a large research project to track the migration of individual birds and map out their core wintering sites in Central America. My students and I used newly miniaturized tracking devices called ‘geolocators’ which the birds carry as a little backpack, and which must be retrieved and downloaded when the bird returns back to its breeding site the next year.  

In May 2008, my graduate students caught the very first Wood Thrush to be tracked for its entire migration. The migration  maps showed that at the same time that its breeding site in Pennsylvania had been buried under 18 inches of fresh snow, the Wood Thrush had been in Nicaragua and completely at home in a world of strangler figs, howler monkeys, and toucans.  I was stunned to see that in spring this bird had flown 3,700 kilometers in only two weeks, including a non-stop flight across the Gulf of Mexico. We have now tracked over 70 Wood Thrushes that bred in the central- and northeastern US, or Ontario, and discovered that the vast majority travel to E. Honduras, Nicaragua or western Costa Rica to escape winter.

This part of Central America is a Wood Thrush hotspot, but the tragedy is that it is also a deforestation hotspot and is losing its tropical forests at one of the highest rates in the world. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization 2011 State of the World’s Forests report, since 1990 Honduras has lost 27% of its forest, and Nicaragua 31%, to agriculture.  It should come as no surprise, then, that Wood Thrushes who depend on those forests are disappearing quickly. 

What can the average person do to make sure that our Wood Thrushes, and other forest songbirds, remain common and serenade future generations for years to come? We must support organizations that work to protect migratory birds, like Bird Studies Canada. But we can also help every morning by drinking coffee that was grown in a forest-like habitat. Bird Friendly® certified shade coffee farms provide tropical forest habitat for dozens of species of migratory songbirds, as well as tropical birds that there live year round.  Saving the traditional heavily shaded coffee farms throughout this region of Central America would protect tens of thousands of hectares of habitat for Wood Thrush and other migrants. But coffee farmers need your help and support!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

New Barcode Bulletin

Our newest edition of the iBOL Barcode Bulletin is out. Lots of very interesting and good reads:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The cost to avoid extinction

Falco punctatus
It seems to me that today every discussion on biodiversity or conservation revolves around costs and monetary benefits. The question is if we can put realistic values on biodiversity, e.g. can we put a price tag on, lets say, the efforts to save a species from becoming extinct? 

An international team of researchers was asking this question and they were able to calculate such a value for a subset of species. They computed the cost of, and opportunities for, conserving 841 species of mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians listed by the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) as restricted to single sites and categorized as Endangered or Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

The  colleagues developed a "conservation opportunity index" using measurable indicators to quantify the possibility of achieving successful conservation of a species, both in its natural habitat and by establishing insurance populations in zoos. 

The total cost: only $1.3 billion per year to safeguard all 841 species, which translates into $1.3 million per species per year, but only if conservation efforts are put in place immediately to ensure habitat protection and management. Of the total, a little over $1.1 billion per year would go towards conserving the species in their natural habitats and the rest for complementary management in zoos. 

Although the cost seems high, safeguarding these species is essential if we want to reduce the extinction rate by 2020. When compared to global government spending on other sectors (such as U.S. defense spending, which is more than 500 times greater), an investment in protecting high biodiversity value sites is minor.

While the study indicated that 39 % of the species scored high for conservation opportunities, it also showed that at least 15 of the species are in imminent danger of extinction given their low conservation opportunity index. This low index is due to one or a combination of different factors such as: high probability of its habitat becoming urbanized, political instability in the site and/or high costs of habitat protection and management. Additionally, the opportunity of establishing an insurance population in zoos for these 15 species is low, either due to high costs or lack of breeding expertise for the species.

Conservation opportunity evaluations like ours show the urgency of implementing management actions before it is too late. It is imperative to rationally determine actions for species that we found to have the lowest chances of successful habitat and zoo conservation actions.

The question is not one of protecting a species in the wild or in zoos. The One Plan approach - effective integration of planning, and the optimal use of limited resources, across the spectrum of management from wild to zoo - is essential if we are to have a hope of achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Discoveries of the week #30

Diancta macrostoma
The minute (adult size 1.3–4.8 mm) land snail species of the family Diplommatinidae in the Fiji archipelago are revised based on historical material and modern (1998–99) collections targeting limestone outcrops on the largest island, Viti Levu, and several smaller islands in the Lau group. The forty-two species (including 30 new species) belong to the genera Moussonia Semper, 1865, Palaina Semper, 1865 and Diancta Martens, 1867, which are briefly characterized and keyed. The diagnostic structure of the inner lamellar system of each species is illustrated. All species except one are endemic to Fiji. In Viti Levu, the 12 localities surveyed each had 1–13 (average 5) species of Diplommatinidae; ten species were each found at a single site only. In the Lau islands, five islands were visited, with 1–4 species per island; four species are known from single islands. The number of historically known species not recollected in 1998–99 (7 species), the number of single-site occurrences (14 species), and the numerous islands — including limestone islands — that have not been surveyed at all, indicate that the 42 species of Diplommatinidae currently known from Fiji represent perhaps only half of the Fiji diplommatinid fauna. Such numbers approach the diplommatinid diversity of Palau (39 described and more than 60 undescribed species), and surpasses by far the diversity of other South Pacific archipelagos of comparable land area (New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Samoa).

Lots of new species of microsnails and all of them from Fiji. Given their size and limited dispersal capabilities many of these species are likely endemics.
no DNA Barcodes

We describe Scolopocryptops troglocaudatus sp. n., a new troglobitic scolopocryptopine centipede species. The species was found in a remarkable siliciclastic karst area of Eastern Brazil, in three caves of the Chapada da Diamantina, in the state of Bahia. S. troglocaudatus sp. n. is close to S. miersii Newport, 1845 and S. ferrugineus macrodon (Kraepelin, 1903) but differs from them by troglomorphic features, such as depigmentation, long appendages and a thin cuticle. This new species is the second troglobitic scolopocryptopine described and is the first discovered in Brazil.
This is a newly discovered blind centipede living in caves in Brazil. The species name is in allusion to the fact that the species lives in caves and that it has the longest ultimate legs in its subfamily. The name is derived from Latin troglo, meaning “cave”, and caudatus, meaning “with a tail”.
no DNA Barcodes

Six species of the genus Mocyta Mulsant & Rey are reported from Canada: Mocyta amblystegii (Brundin), M. breviuscula (Mäklin), M. discreta (Casey), M. fungi (Gravenhorst), M. luteola (Erichson), and M. sphagnorum Klimaszewski & Webster, sp. n. New provincial and state records include: M. breviuscula – Saskatchewan and Oregon; M. discreta – Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan; M. luteola – New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Massachusetts and Minnesota; and M. fungi – Saskatchewan. Mocyta sphagnorum is described from eastern Canada from specimens captured in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. Mocyta negligens Mulsant and Rey, a native European species suspected of occurring in Canada, is excluded from the Nearctic fauna based on comparison of European types with similarly coloured Canadian specimens, which are now identified as M. luteola. The European species, Mocyta gilvicollis (Scheerpeltz), is synonymized with another European nominal species, M. negligens, based on examination of type material of the two species. Lectotypes are designated for Eurypronota discreta Casey, Atheta gilvicollis Scheerpeltz, Homalota luteola Erichson, Colpodota negligens Mulsant and Rey, Acrotona prudens Casey and Dolosota redundans Casey. The latter species is here synonymized with M. luteola. A review of the six Nearctic species is provided, including keys to species and closely related genera, colour habitus images, images of genitalia, biological information and maps of their distributions in Canada.

It is always nice to be able to report newly found species a little closer to home. Most of what I report here in this column usually comes from some tropical regions or elsewhere far away. The only thing that is a little disappointing is that no DNA Barcodes have been generated for this. It is very likely that most of these species (even the new one) have been collected as part of our National Park Malaiseprogram activities. Too bad we can't match the types to anything. The species name of the new member refers to a dominant plant species in the habitat the beetle was collected.
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The gobiid genus Trimma currently contains 75 valid species, with another 20–30 known but undescribed species. There are 29 species in Australian waters (six undescribed). This paper describes the six new species, and provides redescriptions of most of the 23 previously described species known from the region, as well as a key for all the species. The six new species are: T. insularum (endemic to Cocos (Keeling) Islands), T. kitrinum (Fiji to Great Barrier Reef), T. meristum (Cape York to the Bismark Archipelago and Fiji), T. pentherum (Great Barrier Reef to Fiji and the South-West Islands of Palau), T. readerae (Australia to Japan), and T. xanthum (Palau to Fiji, Great Barrier Reef to Christmas Island). The following 23 species have been recorded from Australian waters, and most are redescribed here: T. anaima (Comores to Fiji), T. annosum (Maldives to the Phoenix Islands, Taiwan to the southern Great Barrier Reef), T. benjamini (southern Vietnam to the Marshall Islands, Samoa and southern Barrier Reef), T. caesiura (Ryukyus through the Marshall Islands to Samoa and Elizabeth Reef on the Lord Howe Rise), T. capostriatum (New Caledonia to eastern Australia and Papua New Guinea), T. maiandros (Java to the Ryukyus, Marshalls to Great Barrier Reef), T. emeryi (Comores to Ryukyus and Samoa), T. fangi (western South China Sea through to the Solomons), T. flavatrum (Ryukyu Islands to Western Australia and Samoa), T. hoesei (Chagos Archipelago, central Indian Ocean to Palau and Solomons), T. lantana (Australia, Solomons, northern New Guinea, South-West Islands of Palau), T. macrophthalmus (Ryukyu Islands to Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Samoa), T. milta (Taiwan to Western Australia, Society Islands and Hawaii), T. nasa (Sumbawa, Indonesia to Fiji), T. necopinum (northern tip of Cape York to Sydney), T. nomurai (Japan to northern Australia and New Caledonia), T. okinawae (western Thailand to Japan and the Phoenix Islands, north-west Australia to the Great Barrier Reef), T. preclarum (Palau to Fiji, Great Barrier Reef), T. stobbsi (Maldives to New Caledonia), T. striatum (Maldives to Palau, to northern Australia), T. taylori (Red Sea to Hawaii and Society Islands), T. tevegae (Red Sea to Ryukyu Islands, Marshall Islands to Samoa), and T. unisquame (Comores to Hawaii and Easter Island).

A 100 page volume on about a third of the known species of the genus Trimma. These are small often very colorful gobies. Earlier barcoding studies have shown that this genus is perhaps much more speciouse than previously found. This publication can therefore just be the beginning of a series of new descriptions.

 Solanum amorimii
Two additions and four new species are described from Brazil for the large Geminata clade (Solanum: Solanaceae) bringing the total diversity in the group to 149 species, with 44 of these occurring in Brazil. New species are described from Brazil: S. amorimii S.Knapp & Giacomin, sp. nov. from Bahia and adjacent Minas Gerais states, S. filirhachis Giacomin & Stehmann, sp. nov. from Espirito Santo, S. psilophyllum Stehmann & Giacomin, sp. nov. from Minas Gerais and S. verticillatum S.Knapp & Stehmann, sp. nov. from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais. Modern character-rich descriptions and lectotypifications are provided for S. apiahyense Witasek and Solanum lacteum Vell. All are illustrated, mapped and assessed for conservation status. We also provide a brief analysis of the diversity and endemism of the Geminata clade in Brazil and a key to all 44 Brazilian species.

Solanum is another one of those huge plant genera including about 1400 known species, one of which is the famous Solanum tuberosum, better known as potato.  However, there actually about 180 species of what is currently thought of being potatoes and their relatives. The new species here are only remotely related to potatoes.
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During the preparation of the Vascular Flora of the Marquesas Islands a new endemic species of Heliotropium L. (Boraginaceae) has come to light and is described herein: Heliotropium perlmanii Lorence & W. L. Wagner. It is known only from the island of Eiao and appears most closely related to H. marchionicum Decne., also endemic to the Marquesas and known from Nuku Hiva. An amended description of H. marchionicum and key to separate the Marquesan species are given and their differences discussed.

The new species is named in honor of the botanist Steven P. Perlman (National Tropical Botanical Garden) who collected the type specimen.
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Monday, March 16, 2015

DNA Barcode Conference Plenary - Brock Fenton

Today is another day with a guest post by a plenary speaker at the 6th International Barcode of Life Conference

Brock Fenton received his Ph.D. in 1969 for work in the ecology and behaviour of bats. Since then he has held academic positions at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada 1969 to 1986), York University (Toronto, Canada 1986 to 2003) and the University of Western Ontario (2003 to present). He has published over 200 papers in refereed journals (most of them about bats), as well as numerous nontechnical contributions.  He has written four books about bats intended for a general audience (Just bats 1983, University of Toronto Press; Bats 1992 – revised edition 2001 Facts On File Inc; and The bat: wings in the night sky 1998, Key Porter Press; Fenton and Simmons 2015 Bats: a world of science and mystery Univ of Chicago press). He continues his research on the ecology and behaviour of bats, with special emphasis on echolocation and evolution. He currently is an Emeritus Professor of Biology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. He was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC) in November 2014.

Among mammals, the ~1260 living species of bats places them second only to rodents in diversity. In terms of trophic roles, bats are arguably among the most diverse of mammals, with species that eat insects, plant products, blood, and other vertebrates.  By the Middle Eocene there were at least 10 families of bats, many of them persisting today. The results of DNA barcode analysis have shed light on the diversity of bats, the specifics of their diets, as well as the trophic roles they play in ecosystems.  These data bases open our eyes to new possibilities about the origin and diversification of bats.

One important unanswered question is the possible role of competitive interactions among sympatric species of bats. Results from DNA barcode analysis reveals a great diversity of species eaten by bats. The results also reveal little overlap in diet among sympatric species, even those gleaning prey in the same areas at the same time.  This could mean that in the past there was competition among sympatric species, but it also could imply that the diversity of insects translates into an abundance of food.  Knowing the species of insects a bat has eaten in turn allows us to assess the effectiveness of insects’ hearing-based defenses directed against bats. 

The precision of DNA barcode analyses also has revealed that some bats previously thought to be nectar-feeders (for example) are more broadly connected in the ecosystem, reflecting a diet that includes fruit and insects.  In field observations and experiments also provide evidence of previously undescribed plant structures that attract bats to flowers with nectar. 

In short, DNA barcode analyses have provided people who study many aspects of bat biology with new data sets and new avenues for research.  

Friday, March 13, 2015

Not that many fungi

Fungi play major roles in ecosystem processes, but the determinants of fungal diversity and biogeographic patterns remain poorly understood. Using DNA metabarcoding data from hundreds of globally distributed soil samples, we demonstrate that fungal richness is decoupled from plant diversity. The plant-to-fungus richness ratio declines exponentially toward the poles.

This is part of an abstract of a new study published in Science and led by the researchers of the University of Tartu Natural History Museum. Together with 35 research institutions they discovered that the most species-rich fungal communities occur in tropical rainforests. The estimated global species richness of fungi, 1.5-5.1 million species, however, seems to be a vast overestimation, according to their data.

The team collected approximately 15,000 soil samples from various areas across the world. The samples were analysed using next generation sequencing of smaller ITS (fungi barcode standard) fragments. When analyzing the soil samples, the colleagues found more than 45,000 species which is about half of the described fungal diversity on Earth. 

One of the main messages of this study is the finding that species richness patterns of fungi in general follow these of plants and animals, i.e. the species richness is the highest in tropical rainforests. In the past, it was also commonly held that general rules of biogeography do not apply to microorganisms in other words all forms are present everywhere only separated by substrate. The researchers could show that endemism is also very common among fungi. 

In addition to the finding that fungi might be much less diverse than previously thought the researchers also made some more alarming observations:

Climatic variables explained the greatest proportion of richness and community composition in fungal groups by exhibiting both direct and indirect effects through altered soil and floristic variables. The strong driving climatic forces identified here open up concerns regarding the impact of climate change on the spread of disease and the functional consequences of altered soil microorganism communities. The observed abrupt functional differences between fungal communities in forested and treeless ecosystems, despite spatial juxtaposition, suggests that plant life form and mycorrhizal associations determine soil biochemical processes more than plant species per se. Loss of tree cover and shrub encroachment resulting from drying and warming may thus have a marked impact on ecosystem functioning both above- and belowground.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

What if an “Alien” Is Actually a Native?

Documenting whether a biotic taxon is native or alien to an ecosystem has theoretical value for ecological and evolutionary studies, and has practical value because it can potentially identify a taxon as a desirable component of an ecosystem or target it for removal.

It is not always clear if a species discovered in a new range is actually really alien or even invasive. We have to rely on observational records but these are not always available, often sketchy and by no means a source of accurate information on past biogeography. However, we need to be able to react swiftly to new invasions of non-native species but it is not always clear where they've originated or if they had been in the region long before but not encountered. A good example is the invasion of the Great Lakes by the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) which is usually considered an invader introduced from the Atlantic Ocean. This species clearly threatens a lot of the other native species in the lakes and management programs are long underway. However, results from some studies indicate that the sea lampreys are either natives of Lake Ontario or what we call an invasion is actually part of a natural migration from the Saint Lawrence River

A new study just published in PLoS ONE focuses on the case of the Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens) which is thought to be introduced to the Adirondack uplands during the last century or so. This region in the northeastern part of the state of New York in the U.S. comprises of about 3000 lakes and ponds and the assumed alien status influences fisheries management policy. Yellow perch are widely distributed in the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada but historical records did not document any native occurrence in the Adirondack region which led to the believe that the species is invasive.

The colleagues from the Paul Smith's College in New York state tried to trace the history of yellow perch in the region by analyzing eDNA specific for yellow perch in sediment core samples. Such eDNA can remain suspended in lakes long after being shed or following decomposition, and has been shown to persist as "paleo-DNA" for centuries to millennia in aquatic sediments.

A 124 base pair portion of the mitochondrial (mt) DNA cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (CO1) gene was chosen as a species-specific barcode marker for yellow perch [28]. This traditional DNA barcode region is approximately 650 base pairs, but a smaller amplicon size was selected because DNA degradation may have interfered with detection of the full-length barcode region and because small amplicons within the CO1 gene have been shown to be effective in species identification of fishes.

Their findings clearly show that this species is not an invader but a fish with a rather long regional history:

Yellow perch DNA in a 2200-year sediment record reveals a long-term native status for these supposedly alien fish and challenges assumptions that they necessarily exclude native trout from upland lakes.

They conclude:

In light of the historical and paleo-DNA evidence which document the native status of yellow perch in the Adirondack uplands as well as the unique genetic composition of subpopulations of this species in the adjacent Champlain basin we suggest that a more nuanced approach to the management and conservation of this species may be advisable. Similar use of paleo-DNA holds great potential to address other unresolved questions in aquatic ecology as well, including the evolution and dispersal of taxa, the relative effects of "top-down" and "bottom-up" trophic cascades on lake productivity, and the contribution of acid deposition to the distribution of fishless lakes in acid-sensitive regions.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

DNA Barcode Conference Plenary - Rod Page

We continue in the series of guest posts by plenary speakers of the 6th International Barcode of Life Conference. Today we have Rod Page introducing some of his work which is also very relevant to DNA barcoding.

Rod is perhaps best known as the author of the phylogenetic visualisation program “TreeView”, and more recently his “iPhylo” blog, He started out as a crustacean taxonomist, before being swept up in the debates on panbiogeography and vicariance biogeography that raged in the 1980’s and 90’s. After gaining a PhD at Auckland University, New Zealand, he worked as a post doc at the Amercian Museum of Natural History in New York, and The Natural History Museum in London, before taking up a lectureship at the University of Oxford. Since 1995 Rod has been at the University of Glasgow, where he is Professor of Taxonomy. A past editor of Systematic Biology, he is currently Chair of the GBIF Science Committee. His current work focuses on linking together biodiversity data from diverse sources:

One of the things I'm most interested in is the challenge of linking together diverse source of biodiversity data into a "biodiversity knowledge graph". I've explored aspects of this problem on my blog iPhylo, and here I've picked out some posts on iPhylo that are most relevant to DNA barcoding.

"Dark taxa" are taxa on GenBank that lack full scientific names, and as I showed in 2011 (Dark taxa: GenBank in a post-taxonomic world) they are becoming more common in GenBank, thanks in no small part to the increase in DNA barcoding sequences being deposited in that database. Dark taxa make it problematic to link biodiversity data using taxonomic names alone, so much so that GenBank has ended up suppressing some barcodes (see Dark taxa even darker: NCBI pulls (some) DNA barcodes from GenBank). 

The dark taxa problem illustrates the difficulties in integrating data from different sources, particularly if the sources have different ways of handling the "same" data. Another example is the recent addition of sequence data to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). There is enormous scope for cross-linking the BOLD, GenBank, and GBIF databases, but there are some challenges to resolve when doing this. Although some 4 million geotagged DNA sequences have been added to GBIF (many of which are DNA barcodes), this does not represent 4 million unique observations of where organisms are distributed. Many sequences in GenBank come from the same specimen, for example a museum voucher may be sequenced for a DNA barcode, as well as other mitochondrial and nuclear genes. In extreme cases, shotgun  sequencing projects can generate hundreds of thousands of sequences from the same specimen. Indeed, GBIF now has 551,919 records for the dwarf beech Betula nana which correspond to shotgun sequences from a single specimen of that plant collected in Scotland! A major challenge will be aggregating sequences from the same samples into single occurrence records that can be integrated into GBIF.

In Displaying a million DNA barcodes on Google Maps using CouchDB I describe a method for making an interactive map of DNA barcodes using Google Maps and the BOLD API. The result is live at http://iphylo.org/~rpage/bold-map. The dots on the map are clickable, so you can get more details on the barcodes found at any point on the planet. In response to user feedback I've added the ability to filter the barcodes by taxonomic group.

I've long been interested in the visualisation of biodiversity data, and recently have started playing with putting molecular phylogenies onto web-based maps by converting trees into a data format called "GeoJSON", which is widely used by web-based mapping tools (see GeoJSON and geophylogenies). Because most DNA barcodes come with known latitudes and longitudes, they are a great source of data for this method. For example, below is a "geophylogeny" for barcodes from Proechimys guyannensis and its relatives. Sequences from the same BIN have the same colour, which helps make visible the phylogeographic structure in the data.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Discoveries of the week #29

A new soft scale (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Coccidae) species, Pulvinaria caballeroramosae Tanaka & Kondo, sp. n., is described from specimens collected on twigs of Ficus soatensis Dugand (Moraceae) in Bogota, Colombia. The new species resembles P. drymiswinteri Kondo & Gullan, described from Chile on Drimys winteri J.R. Forst. & G. Forst. (Winteraceae), but differs in the distribution of preopercular pores on the dorsum, the presence of dorsal tubular ducts, dorsal microducts, and reticulation on the anal plates; and in its feeding habits, i.e., P. caballeroramosae feeds on the twigs whereas P. drymiswinteri feeds on the leaves of its host. A key to the Colombian species of Pulvinaria Targioni Tozzetti is provided.

This new species of scale insect is named after Dr. Andrea Amalia Ramos Portilla and Mr. Alejandro Caballero who originally discovered it on the streets of Bogota, Colombia.
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Three new species of Epicephala Meyrick, 1880 are described based on specimens reared from fruits of Phyllanthus microcarpus (Benth.): Epicephala microcarpa sp. n. and E. laeviclada sp. n. from Guangxi and Hainan, and Epicephala tertiaria sp. n. from Guangdong and Guangxi. Photographs of adults and illustrations of genital structures are provided.

The first of these new lepidoptera species is named after its host plant (Phyllanthus microcarpus), the second was named for the same relationship but this time the species name is a combination of the Latin words laevis for smooth and cladus for branch referring to some host plant features. The third species was also found on the same host species and since it was the third discovered its species name is derived from the Latin word tertiarius which means the third.
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90 species of Euplectrus are treated: 55 newly described, all from Area de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG), and 35 previously described species, of which 20 occur in ACG. Three of the previously described species (E. brasiliensis Ashmead, E. hircinus (Say), E. ronnai (Brèthes)) have unknown status, owing to missing or severely damaged type material. The new species, all authored by C. Hansson, are: Euplectrus alejandrovalerioi, E. alexsmithi, E. alvarowillei, E. andybennetti, E. andydeansi, E. annettewalkerae, E. billbrowni, E. bobwhartoni, E. carlosarmientoi, E. carlrettenmeyeri, E. charlesmicheneri, E. charlesporteri, E. chrisdarlingi, E. chrisgrinteri, E. corriemoreauae, E. daveroubiki, E. davesmithi, E. davidwahli, E. dianariasae, E. donquickei, E. eowilsoni, E. garygibsoni, E. gavinbroadi, E. gerarddelvarei, E. henrytownesi, E. howelldalyi, E. hugokonsi, E. iangauldi, E. jacklonginoi, E. jesusugaldei, E. jimwhitfieldi, E. jjrodriguezae, E. johnheratyi, E. johnlasallei, E. johnnoyesi, E. josefernandezi, E. lubomirmasneri, E. markshawi, E. mikegatesi, E. mikeschauffi, E. mikesharkeyi, E. ninazitaniae, E. pammitchellae, E. paulhansoni, E. paulheberti, E. paulhurdi, E. philwardi, E. robbinthorpi, E. ronaldzunigai, E. roysnellingi, E. scottshawi, E. sondrawardae, E. sydneycameronae, E. victoriapookae, E. wonyoungchoi. The species are described or redescribed, and thoroughly and uniformly illustrated, and included in two identification keys, one for females and one for males. Lectotypes are designated for eight species: Euplectrus catocalae Howard (♂), E. junctus Gahan (♀), E. leucotrophis Howard (♂), E. marginatus Ashmead (♀), E. pachyscaphus Girault (♀), E. platyhypenae Howard (♂), E. semimarginatus Girault (♀), Heteroscapus ronnai Brèthes (♂). One synonym is established: Euplectrus walteri Schauff is a junior synonym of E. testaceipes (Cameron). Brief image notes and host records are provided on the natural history of the wasps as well as the details of their morphology. Hosts are known for 74 Euplectrus species.

A huge number of new species for an interesting genus within the hymenoptera. Larvae of these species are living as ectoparasitoids on caterpillars. This big step forward in the taxonomy of the group is the result of the tremendous DNA barcoding efforts in Costa Rica driven by the tireless Dan Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs. I am not commenting on the species names because there are so many of them but you might find some familiar sounding names among them.

Cyanea konahuanuiensis
Cyanea konahuanuiensis Sporck-Koehler, M. Waite, A.M. Williams, sp. nov., a recently documented, narrowly endemic species from the Hawaiian Island of O‘ahu, is described and illustrated with photographs from the field. The closest likely relatives to the species, current conservation needs, and management future are discussed. It is currently known from 20 mature plants from two subpopulations and is restricted to a drainage below the Kōnāhua-nui summit (K1), the highest summit of the Ko‘olau Mountains, located on Windward O‘ahu. It differs from all other Cyanea species by its combination of densely pubescent leaves, petioles, and flowers; sparsely pubescent to glabrous stems, long calyx lobes, and staminal column being adnate to the corolla.
The species name pays homage to the twin-peaked Kōnāhua-nui Pu‘u, the tallest peaks in the Ko‘olau Mountain range on east O‘ahu, Hawaii. After seeking counsel with Hawaiian cultural practitioners the authors propose to give the species the Hawaiian name Hāhā mili‘ohu, meaning “The Cyanea that is caressed by the mist”.
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Syzygium pyneei
A new species of Syzygium Gaertn. (Myrtaceae), S. pyneei Byng, V. Florens & Baider, is described from Mondrain Reserve on the island of Mauritius. This species is endemic to the island and differs from any other species by its combination of cauliflory, relatively large flowers, light green to cream hypanthium, light pink stamens, short thick petioles, coriaceous leaves and round, cuneate or sub-cordate to cordate leaf bases. Syzygium pyneei Byng, V. Florens & Baider is known from only two individuals from the type locality and merits the conservation status of Critically Endangered (CR C2a(i,ii); D).

This new species of a large genus within the Myrtaceae is named after a prominent botanist from the island of Mauritius, Kersley Pynee. He also co-collected the type specimens.
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Chionolaena barclayae
A new species and a new record for Chionolaena are recorded from Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia adding to the two species of the genus already known from that mountain complex.

And the third new plant species for this week. This one is known only from a single collection dating back to 1959. The species name honors one of the collectors Harriet G Barclay.
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