The sensitivity of tropical forest carbon to climate is a key uncertainty in predicting global climate change. Although short-term drying and warming are known to affect forests, it is unknown if such effects translate into long-term responses. Here, we analyze 590 permanent plots measured across the tropics to derive the equilibrium climate controls on forest carbon. Maximum temperature is the most important predictor of aboveground biomass (−9.1 megagrams of carbon per hectare per degree Celsius), primarily by reducing woody productivity, and has a greater impact per °C in the hottest forests (>32.2°C). Our results nevertheless reveal greater thermal resilience than observations of short-term variation imply. To realize the long-term climate adaptation potential of tropical forests requires both protecting them and stabilizing Earth’s climate.
Species distribution models (SDMs) are widely used in ecology and conservation. Presence-only SDMs such as MaxEnt frequently use natural history collections (NHCs) as occurrence data, given their huge numbers and accessibility. NHCs are often spatially biased which may generate inaccuracies in SDMs. Here, we test how the distribution of NHCs and MaxEnt predictions relates to a spatial abundance model, based on a large plot dataset for Amazonian tree species, using inverse distance weighting (IDW). We also propose a new pipeline to deal with inconsistencies in NHCs and to limit the area of occupancy of the species. We found a significant but weak positive relationship between the distribution of NHCs and IDW for 66% of the species. The relationship between SDMs and IDW was also significant but weakly positive for 95% of the species, and sensitivity for both analyses was high. Furthermore, the pipeline removed half of the NHCs records. Presence-only SDM applications should consider this limitation, especially for large biodiversity assessments projects, when they are automatically generated without subsequent checking. Our pipeline provides a conservative estimate of a species’ area of occupancy, within an area slightly larger than its extent of occurrence, compatible to e.g. IUCN red list assessments.
The historical course of evolutionary diversification shapes the current distribution of biodiversity, but the main forces constraining diversification are still a subject of debate. We unveil the evolutionary structure of tree species assemblages across the Americas to assess whether an inability to move or an inability to evolve is the predominant constraint in plant diversification and biogeography. We find a fundamental divide in tree lineage composition between tropical and extratropical environments, defined by the absence versus presence of freezing temperatures. Within the Neotropics, we uncover a further evolutionary split between moist and dry forests. Our results demonstrate that American tree lineages tend to retain their ancestral environmental relationships and that phylogenetic niche conservatism is the primary force structuring the distribution of tree biodiversity. Our study establishes the pervasive importance of niche conservatism to community assembly even at intercontinental scales.
Background Brazil became the epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic in a brief period of a few months after the first officially registered case. The knowledge of the epidemiological/clinical profile and the risk factors of Brazilian COVID-19 patients can assist in the decision making of physicians in the implementation of early and most appropriate measures for poor prognosis patients. However, these reports are missing. Here we present a comprehensive study that addresses this demand. Methods This data-driven study was based on the Brazilian Ministry of Health Database (SIVEP-Gripe) regarding notified cases of hospitalized COVID-19 patients during the period from February 26th to August 10th, 2020. Demographic data, clinical symptoms, comorbidities and other additional information of patients were analyzed. Results The hospitalization rate was higher for male gender (56.56%) and for older age patients of both sexes. Overall, the lethality rate was quite high (41.28%) among hospitalized patients, especially those over 60 years of age. Most prevalent symptoms were cough, dyspnoea, fever, low oxygen saturation and respiratory distress. Cardiac disease, diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, neurological disease, and pneumopathy were the most prevalent comorbidities. A high prevalence of hospitalized COVID-19 patients with cardiac disease (65.7%) and diabetes (53.55%) and with a high lethality rate of around 50% was observed. The intensive care unit (ICU) admission rate was 39.37% and of these 62.4% died. 24.4% of patients required invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV), with high mortality among them (82.98%). The main mortality risk predictors were older age and IMV requirement. In addition, socioeconomic conditions have been shown to significantly influence the disease outcome, regardless of age and comorbidities. Conclusion Our study provides a comprehensive overview of the hospitalized Brazilian COVID-19 patients profile and the mortality risk factors. The analysis also evidenced that the disease outcome is influenced by multiple factors, as unequally affects different segments of population.
Global patterns of species and evolutionary diversity in plants are primarily determined by a temperature gradient, but precipitation gradients may be more important within the tropics, where plant species richness is positively associated with the amount of rainfall. The impact of precipitation on the distribution of evolutionary diversity, however, is largely unexplored. Here we detail how evolutionary diversity varies along precipitation gradients by bringing together a comprehensive database on the composition of angiosperm tree communities across lowland tropical South America (2,025 inventories from wet to arid biomes), and a new, large-scale phylogenetic hypothesis for the genera that occur in these ecosystems. We find a marked reduction in the evolutionary diversity of communities at low precipitation. However, unlike species richness, evolutionary diversity does not continually increase with rainfall. Rather, our results show that the greatest evolutionary diversity is found in intermediate precipitation regimes, and that there is a decline in evolutionary diversity above 1,490 mm of mean annual rainfall. If conservation is to prioritise evolutionary diversity, areas of intermediate precipitation that are found in the South American 'arc of deforestation', but which have been neglected in the design of protected area networks in the tropics, merit increased conservation attention.Given predictions of increased temperature and precipitation extremes 1 , it is imperative to understand the mechanisms driving the distribution of biodiversity along climatic gradients. Recent macroecological studies 2,3 have shown that the inability of most plant lineages to survive regular frost may underlie the latitudinal diversity gradient for flowering plants (angiosperms), which are most species-rich and evolutionarily diverse in the tropics 3-9 .
The world is experiencing the worst global health crisis in recent decades since December/2019 due to a new pandemic coronavirus. The COVID-19 disease, caused by SARS-CoV-2, has resulted in more than 30 million cases and 950 thousand deaths worldwide as of September 21, 2020. Determining the extent of the virus on public surfaces is critical for understanding the potential risk of infection in these areas. In this study, we investigated the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA on public surfaces in a densely populated urban area in Brazil. Forty-nine of 933 samples tested positive (5.25%) for SARS-CoV-2 RNA, including samples collected from distinct material surfaces, including metal and concrete, and distinct places, mainly around hospital care units and public squares. Our data indicated the contamination of public surfaces by SARS-CoV-2, suggesting the circulation of infected patients and the risk of infection for the population. Constant monitoring of the virus in urban areas is required as a strategy to fight the pandemic and prevent further infections.
Lineages tend to retain ecological characteristics of their ancestors through time. However, for some traits, selection during evolutionary history may have also played a role in determining trait values. To address the relative importance of these processes requires large-scale quantification of traits and evolutionary relationships among species. The Amazonian tree flora comprises a high diversity of angiosperm lineages and species with widely differing life-history characteristics, providing an excellent system to investigate the combined influences of evolutionary heritage and selection in determining trait variation. We used trait data related to the major axes of life-history variation among tropical trees (e.g. growth and mortality rates) from 577 inventory plots in closed-canopy forest, mapped onto a phylogenetic hypothesis spanning more than 300 genera including all major angiosperm clades to test for evolutionary constraints on traits. We found significant phylogenetic signal (PS) for all traits, consistent with evolutionarily related genera having more similar characteristics than expected by chance. Although there is also evidence for repeated evolution of pioneer and shade tolerant life-history strategies within independent lineages, the existence of significant PS allows clearer predictions of the links between evolutionary diversity, ecosystem function and the response of tropical forests to global change.
Tropical forests are known for their high diversity. Yet, forest patches do occur in the tropics where a single tree species is dominant. Such “monodominant” forests are known from all of the main tropical regions. For Amazonia, we sampled the occurrence of monodominance in a massive, basin-wide database of forest-inventory plots from the Amazon Tree Diversity Network (ATDN). Utilizing a simple defining metric of at least half of the trees ≥ 10 cm diameter belonging to one species, we found only a few occurrences of monodominance in Amazonia, and the phenomenon was not significantly linked to previously hypothesized life history traits such wood density, seed mass, ectomycorrhizal associations, or Rhizobium nodulation. In our analysis, coppicing (the formation of sprouts at the base of the tree or on roots) was the only trait significantly linked to monodominance. While at specific locales coppicing or ectomycorrhizal associations may confer a considerable advantage to a tree species and lead to its monodominance, very few species have these traits. Mining of the ATDN dataset suggests that monodominance is quite rare in Amazonia, and may be linked primarily to edaphic factors.
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