Out in Nature this week: “The future of hyperdiverse tropical ecosystems”. We were happy to contribute to a broad review of the importance of the hyperdiverse tropics to global biodiversity, ongoing threats to tropical biodiversity, as well as strategies to help mediate those threats. Particularly pleased to see ants being used as an exemplar taxon alongside birds and mammals and the rest, a main goal of our (and many others’) efforts over these last years. This stunning photo was taken by the late Rodrigo Baleia.
New paper out on Prenolepis genus group in the Indo-Pacific published in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. The study is a collaboration between many of the usual Pacific ants suspects, and was led by our longtime collaborator Milan Janda and his (now former) student Pavel Matos-Maravi. They deftly used complex set of analyses to test a series interesting biogeographic hypotheses. Nice work Pavel and Milan!
A new paper on global macro-invasion dynamics led by Hanno Seebens, Franz Essl, and the GLONAF group has just come out in PNAS. We were happy to contribute our GABI data on alien ant emergence and spread over time. Main punch line is that emergence of new invaders comes from expansion of trade networks and environmental change into new source pools and this keeps the rate of new emergence high. Check it out!
A new paper from the lab was published today in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society focusing on aberrant spinescent phenotypes in Pheidole (including the famous dragon ants). We look at spinescence from a number of angles including phylogenetic, ecological, geographic, and 3D morphology. This study sheds light on the complexity of the issue of spine phenotype evolution. There are a number of open questions and some big mysteries. For starters, why the heck has spinescence evolved so many times in the Indo-Pacific, but no spiny Pheidole in New World? Check out the paper here!
We have a new paper out today Nature Ecology and Evolution, comparing hotspots of alien species richness around the globe (writeup here on BBC). We were happy to include our GABI/antmaps data as part of a broader effort to compare alien species richness patterns across taxonomic groups. Ants and reptiles turned out to be quite correlated for some reason, although it is not clear why.