Transport networks are ubiquitous in both social and biological systems. Robust network performance involves a complex trade-off involving cost, transport efficiency, and fault tolerance. Biological networks have been honed by many cycles of evolutionary selection pressure and are likely to yield reasonable solutions to such combinatorial optimization problems. Furthermore, they develop without centralized control and may represent a readily scalable solution for growing networks in general. We show that the slime mold Physarum polycephalum forms networks with comparable efficiency, fault tolerance, and cost to those of real-world infrastructure networks--in this case, the Tokyo rail system. The core mechanisms needed for adaptive network formation can be captured in a biologically inspired mathematical model that may be useful to guide network construction in other domains.
Aim To describe the patterns and trends in the spread of crop pests and pathogens around the world, and determine the socioeconomic, environmental and biological factors underlying the rate and degree of redistribution of crop-destroying organisms.Location Global.Methods Current country-and state-level distributions of 1901 pests and pathogens and historical observation dates for 424 species were compared with potential distributions based upon distributions of host crops. The degree of 'saturation' , i.e. the fraction of the potential distribution occupied, was related to pest type, host range, crop production, climate and socioeconomic variables using linear models.Results More than one-tenth of all pests have reached more than half the countries that grow their hosts. If current trends continue, many important cropproducing countries will be fully saturated with pests by the middle of the century. While dispersal increases with host range overall, fungi have the narrowest host range but are the most widely dispersed group. The global dispersal of some pests has been rapid, but pest assemblages remain strongly regionalized and follow the distributions of their hosts. Pest assemblages are significantly correlated with socioeconomics, climate and latitude. Tropical staple crops, with restricted latitudinal ranges, tend to be more saturated with pests and pathogens than temperate staples with broad latitudinal ranges. We list the pests likely to be the most invasive in coming years.Main conclusions Despite ongoing dispersal of crop pests and pathogens, the degree of biotic homogenization of the globe remains moderate and regionally constrained, but is growing. Fungal pathogens lead the global invasion of agriculture, despite their more restricted host range. Climate change is likely to influence future distributions. Improved surveillance would reveal greater levels of invasion, particularly in developing countries.
Despite the importance of species discovery, the processes including collecting, recognizing, and describing new species are poorly understood. Data are presented for flowering plants, measuring quantitatively the lag between the date a specimen of a new species was collected for the first time and when it was subsequently described and published. The data from our sample of new species published between 1970 and 2010 show that only 16% were described within five years of being collected for the first time. The description of the remaining 84% involved much older specimens, with nearly one-quarter of new species descriptions involving specimens >50 y old. Extrapolation of these results suggest that, of the estimated 70,000 species still to be described, more than half already have been collected and are stored in herbaria. Effort, funding, and research focus should, therefore, be directed as much to examining extant herbarium material as collecting new material in the field.herbarium specimen | monograph | taxonomy A ccurate species recognition underpins our knowledge of global biodiversity (1-3). In recent years, the lack of taxono mic activity has led to increased political (4) and scientific calls (3) to invest in the science of taxonomy, which is fundamental for what we know about species-level diversity. The assumptions behind these demands are that increased resources would necessarily lead to increased taxonomic productivity and accuracy. Given finite resources, it is essential that scientifically sound criteria regarding where funds should most usefully be targeted are used to determine priorities for taxonomic research. It is therefore surprising that the processes of collecting, recognizing, and describing species are poorly understood and only rarely discussed (5-7) and that there is little research focused on the processes that result in the recognition of new species. Many groups of organisms are so poorly known that measuring any aspect of the discovery process suffers from lack of data. In terms of completing the species-level "inventory of life," the flowering plants are viewed as an attainable priority research target because they are already relatively well known and the final inventory is estimated to be only 10-20% from completion (8). Furthermore, plants are pivotal organisms for monitoring and measuring global biodiversity because they comprise a species-rich component of almost all habitats on earth (9). An enhanced scientific understanding of the discovery process for flowering plants could help define specific priorities for funding agencies and facilitate the meeting of global biodiversity targets. Here, we focus on the temporal dynamics of the lag between the collection of flowering plant specimens and their subsequent recognition and description as new species (7). For a representative dataset, the discovery time (I) between the date of the earliest specimen collected (C) and date the description was published (D) was calculated for each species (Fig. 1). ResultsDiscovery I ranged fro...
Crop pests and pathogens (CPPs) present a growing threat to food security and ecosystem management. The interactions between plants and their natural enemies are influenced by environmental conditions and thus global warming and climate change could affect CPP ranges and impact. Observations of changing CPP distributions over the twentieth century suggest that growing agricultural production and trade have been most important in disseminating CPPs, but there is some evidence for a latitudinal bias in range shifts that indicates a global warming signal. Species distribution models using climatic variables as drivers suggest that ranges will shift latitudinally in the future. The rapid spread of the Colorado potato beetle across Eurasia illustrates the importance of evolutionary adaptation, host distribution, and migration patterns in affecting the predictions of climate-based species distribution models. Understanding species range shifts in the framework of ecological niche theory may help to direct future research needs.
A common approach to estimating the total number of extant species in a taxonomic group is to extrapolate from the temporal pattern of known species descriptions. A formal statistical approach to this problem is provided. The approach is applied to a number of global datasets for birds, ants, mosses, lycophytes, monilophytes (ferns and horsetails), gymnosperms and also to New World grasses and UK flowering plants. Overall, our results suggest that unless the inventory of a group is nearly complete, estimating the total number of species is associated with very large margins of error. The strong influence of unpredictable variations in the discovery process on species accumulation curves makes these data unreliable in estimating total species numbers.
scite is a Brooklyn-based startup that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students and researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.
334 Leonard St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Copyright © 2023 scite Inc. All rights reserved.
Made with 💙 for researchers