Potential Distribution and Niche Differentiation of Spodoptera frugiperda in Africa.
ABSTRACT: The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) is a serious agricultural pest. The species originates from the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas and has now become established in many countries. Its strong migratory ability is the key factor in the rapidly expanding range of S. frugiperda in Africa, where food security faces unprecedented challenges. Exploring potential distributions and niche differentiation of S. frugiperda could provide new insights into the nature of climate niche shifts and our ability to anticipate further invasions. In this study, the occurrence population records (native, source, global, and African) and environmental variables of S. frugiperda were selected to fit ecological niche models (ENMs), with an evaluation of niche conservatism during its invasion of Africa. The results showed that the potential distributions of S. frugiperda are mainly in tropical and subtropical areas in Africa. The climate spaces occupied by its native population and introduced African population broadly overlap. Although, climate niches were conserved during invasion of Africa, many climate spaces were unoccupied, suggesting a high remaining invasion potential in Africa. The selection of the biogeographic realm is an important factor in model construction, and has a great influence on the transferability of the models. Indeed, the global model produced the best performance, following the source and native models.
Project description:Determining the spread and potential geographical distribution of invasive species is integral to making invasion biology a predictive science. We assembled a dataset of over 1000 occurrences of the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile), one of the world's worst invasive alien species. Native to central South America, Argentine ants are now found in many Mediterranean and subtropical climates around the world. We used this dataset to assess the species' potential geographical and ecological distribution, and to examine changes in its distributional potential associated with global climate change, using techniques for ecological niche modelling. Models developed were highly predictive of the species' overall range, including both the native distributional area and invaded areas worldwide. Despite its already widespread occurrence, L. humile has potential for further spread, with tropical coastal Africa and southeast Asia apparently vulnerable to invasion. Projecting ecological niche models onto four general circulation model scenarios of future (2050s) climates provided scenarios of the species' potential for distributional expansion with warming climates: generally, the species was predicted to retract its range in tropical regions, but to expand at higher latitude areas.
Project description:Lantana camara, a native plant from tropical America, is considered one of the most harmful invasive species worldwide. Several studies have identified potentially invasible areas under scenarios of global change, on the assumption that niche is conserved during the invasion process. Recent studies, however, suggest that many invasive plants do not conserve their niches. Using Principal Components Analyses (PCA), we tested the hypothesis of niche conservatism for L. camara by comparing its native niche in South America with its expressed niche in Africa, Australia and India. Using MaxEnt, the estimated niche for the native region was projected onto each invaded region to generate potential distributions there. Our results demonstrate that while L. camara occupied subsets of its original native niche in Africa and Australia, in India its niche shifted significantly. There, 34% of the occurrences were detected in warmer habitats nonexistent in its native range. The estimated niche for India was also projected onto Africa and Australia to identify other vulnerable areas predicted from the observed niche shift detected in India. As a result, new potentially invasible areas were identified in central Africa and southern Australia. Our findings do not support the hypothesis of niche conservatism for the invasion of L. camara. The mechanisms that allow this species to expand its niche need to be investigated in order to improve our capacity to predict long-term geographic changes in the face of global climatic changes.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Schistosomiasis is a snail-borne parasitic disease and is endemic in many tropical and subtropical countries. Biomphalaria straminea, an intermediate host for Schistosoma mansoni, is native to the southeastern part of South America and has established in other regions of South America, Central America and southern China during the last decades. S. mansoni is endemic in Africa, the Middle East, South America and the Caribbean. Knowledge of the potential global distribution of this snail is essential for risk assessment, monitoring, disease prevention and control.<h4>Methods and findings</h4>A comprehensive database of cross-continental occurrence for B. straminea was compiled to construct ecological models. We used several approaches to investigate the distribution of B. straminea, including direct comparison of climatic conditions, principal component analysis and niche overlap analyses to detect niche shifts. We also investigated the impacts of bioclimatic and human factors, and then used the bioclimatic and footprint layers to predict the potential distribution of B. straminea at global scale. We detected niche shifts accompanying the invasions of B. straminea in the Americas and China. The introduced populations had enlarged its habitats to subtropical regions where annual mean temperature is relatively low. Annual mean temperature, isothermality and temperature seasonality were identified as most important climatic features for the occurrence of B. straminea. Additionally, human factors improved the model prediction (P<0.001). Our model showed that under current climate conditions the snail should mostly be confined to the tropic and subtropic regions, including South America, Central America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our results confirmed that niche shifts took place in the invasions of B. straminea, in which bioclimatic and human factors played an important role. Our model predicted the global distribution of B. straminea based on habitat suitability, which would help for prioritizing monitoring and management efforts for B. straminea control in the context of ongoing climate change and human disturbances.
Project description:The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, a moth originating from tropical and subtropical America, has recently become a serious pest of cereals in sub-Saharan Africa. Biological control offers an economically and environmentally safer alternative to synthetic insecticides that are being used for the management of this pest. Consequently, various biological control options are being considered, including the introduction of Telenomus remus, the main egg parasitoid of S. frugiperda in the Americas, where it is already used in augmentative biological control programmes. During surveys in South, West, and East Africa, parasitized egg masses of S. frugiperda were collected, and the emerged parasitoids were identified through morphological observations and molecular analyses as T. remus. The presence of T. remus in Africa in at least five countries provides a great opportunity to develop augmentative biological control methods and register the parasitoid against S. frugiperda. Surveys should be carried out throughout Africa to assess the present distribution of T. remus on the continent, and the parasitoid could be re-distributed in the regions where it is absent, following national and international regulations. Classical biological control should focus on the importation of larval parasitoids from the Americas.
Project description:Mexican sunflower, Tithonia diversifolia (Asteraceae), is an invasive tropical plant species native to Central America. It has spread in more than 70 countries across Asia, Africa and Australia. In Africa, this species is known to disturb native crops and plant communities, but its negative impacts remain underestimated. Moreover, its potential invasion risk has not been investigated so far. A fundamental aspect in the identification and prediction of habitats susceptible to biological invasions lies in the ability of an organism to conserve or change its ecological niche as part of the invasion process. Here, we compared the realised climatic niche of T. diversifolia between its Central American and African ranges. In addition, reciprocal distribution models were calibrated on its native and invaded ranges. Models were combined and projected to current and future climatic conditions in Africa to estimate the potential distribution of this species. Niche overlap given by Schoner's D index was low (0.23), equivalency and similarity tests suggested that the climatic niche of T. diversifolia is not similar in both ranges. However the low expansion (U = 0.09) and very high stability (S = 0.92) indices support climatic niche conservatism for this species in Africa, although it has not filled its entire niche so far. Our combined reciprocal models highlight highly suitable areas for this species in humid regions throughout East, Central and West Africa, then in some parts of South Africa and Madagascar. Future projections indicated that the distribution of climatically suitable habitats will likely remain stable.
Project description:Invasive alien species represent one of the major factors of global loss of biodiversity and disruption of natural ecosystems. The small Indian mongoose, Urva auropunctata, is considered one of the wild carnivore species with the greatest negative impact on global biodiversity. Understanding of the factors underpinning the species' distribution and potential dispersion in a context of climate change thus appears crucial in the conservation of native ecosystems. Here we modelled the current and future climatically favourable areas for the small Indian mongoose using Ecological Niche Modelling based on data sets filtrated in environmental spaces. Projections from these models show extensive current favourable geographical areas, covering continental and insular regions within tropical and sub-tropical latitudes. Moreover, predictions for 2050 reveal that climate change is likely to expand current favourable areas north of the current favourable spaces, particularly in Eastern Europe. This climate-induced expansion is particularly worrisome given that the species is already spreading in the Balkan region. Our projections suggest that it is very likely that the small Indian mongoose will have an increasing influence on ecosystems and biodiversity in Europe by 2050.
Project description:One of the topics currently under discussion in biological invasions is whether the species' climatic niche has been conserved or, alternatively, has diverged during invasions. Here, we explore niche dynamic processes using the complex invasion history model of Lilium lancifolium, which is the first tested case of a native species (Korea) with two hypothesized spatial (regional and intercontinental) and temporal arrivals: (1) as an archaeophyte in East Asia (before AD 1500); and (2) as a neophyte in Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand (after AD 1500). Following a niche examination through both environmental and geographical spaces, the species in the archaeophyte range has apparently filled the ancestral native niche and, rather, would have increased it considerably. The species as a neophyte shows a closer climatic match with the archaeophyte range than with the native one. This pattern of niche similarity suggests that the neophyte range was probably colonized by a subset of archaeophyte propagules adapted to local climate that promoted the species' establishment. Overall, niche conservatism is proposed at each colonization step, from native to archaeophyte, and from archaeophyte to neophyte ranges. We detected signals of an advanced invasion stage within the archaeophyte range and traces of an early introduction stage in neophyte ranges.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys (Stål) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), native to Asia, is becoming an invasive species with a rapidly expanding range in North America and Europe. In the US, it is a household pest and also caused unprecedented damage to agriculture crops. Exploring its climatic limits and estimating its potential geographic distribution can provide critical information for management strategies. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPALS: We used direct climate comparisons to explore the climatic niche occupied by native and invasive populations of BMSB. Ecological niche modelings based on the native range were used to anticipate the potential distribution of BMSB worldwide. Conversely, niche models based on the introduced range were used to locate the original invasive propagates in Asia. Areas with high invasion potential were identified by two niche modeling algorithms (i.e., Maxent and GARP). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Reduced dimensionality of environmental space improves native model transferability in the invade area. Projecting models from invasive population back to native distributional areas offers valuable information on the potential source regions of the invasive populations. Our models anticipated successfully the current disjunct distribution of BMSB in the US. The original propagates are hypothesized to have come from northern Japan or western Korea. High climate suitable areas at risk of invasion include latitudes between 30°-50° including northern Europe, northeastern North America, southern Australia and the North Island of New Zealand. Angola in Africa and Uruguay in South America also showed high climate suitability.
Project description:The Triatominae are vectors for Trypanosoma cruzi, the aetiological agent of the neglected tropical Chagas disease. Their distribution stretches across Latin America, with some species occurring outside of the Americas. In particular, the cosmopolitan vector, Triatoma rubrofasciata, has already been detected in many Asian and African countries. We applied an ensemble forecasting niche modelling approach to project the climatic suitability of 11 triatomine species under current climate conditions on a global scale. Our results revealed potential hotspots of triatomine species diversity in tropical and subtropical regions between 21°N and 24°S latitude. We also determined the climatic suitability of two temperate species (T. infestans, T. sordida) in Europe, western Australia and New Zealand. Triatoma rubrofasciata has been projected to find climatically suitable conditions in large parts of coastal areas throughout Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia, emphasising the importance of an international vector surveillance program in these regions.
Project description:The geographic distribution of arboviruses has received considerable attention after several dramatic emergence events around the world. Bluetongue virus (BTV) is classified among category "A" diseases notifiable to the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE), and is transmitted among ruminants by biting midges of the genus Culicoides. Here, we developed a comprehensive occurrence data set to map the current distribution, estimate the ecological niche, and explore the future potential distribution of BTV globally using ecological niche modeling and based on diverse future climate scenarios from general circulation models (GCMs) for four representative concentration pathways (RCPs). The broad ecological niche and potential geographic distribution of BTV under present-day conditions reflected the disease's current distribution across the world in tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions. All model predictions were significantly better than random expectations. As a further evaluation of model robustness, we compared our model predictions to 331 independent records from most recent outbreaks from the Food and Agriculture Organization Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases Information System (EMPRES-i); all were successfully anticipated by the BTV model. Finally, we tested ecological niche similarity among possible vectors and BTV, and could not reject hypotheses of niche similarity. Under future-climate conditions, the potential distribution of BTV was predicted to broaden, especially in central Africa, United States, and western Russia.