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Pouteau R.,Institute Agronomique Neo Caledonien IAC | Meyer J.-Y.,Delegation a la Recherche | Blanchard P.,Delegation a la Recherche | Blanchard P.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | And 3 more authors.
Climatic Change | Year: 2016

Inherent characteristics of island species make them particularly susceptible to anthropogenic changes and need to be assessed to implement appropriate conservation strategies. The impacts of climate change are increasingly being investigated along elevational gradients since they provide natural laboratories to study how species respond to climatic variation. Ferns are particularly sensitive to air humidity and temperature and are therefore potentially useful as bio-indicators. This study addresses the question of whether the distributions of fern species richness and abundance have climatic correlates along an elevational gradient on the tropical volcanic island of Tahiti (French Polynesia). Analyses were conducted on two datasets: island-wide richness was estimated using published data on species elevational ranges, and local richness and abundance were addressed through a transect survey. Correlations with water availability, temperature, area availability, and a randomly-generated species richness pattern were investigated. Results showed that both diversity and abundance varied in association with climate. Rainfall was collinear with diversity in the lower half of the elevational gradient (R2 = 0.97), while temperature was the most important climatic correlate for diversity in the upper half (R2 = 0.98). The number of terrestrial fern individuals and epiphytic fern cover were both correlated with temperature (R2 = 0.86 and 0.81, respectively). Our results imply that impacts of climate change on ferns on Tahiti might include change in diversity and abundance, and increased extinction risk due to low overlap between current and projected species distributions. Ferns represent important indicator organisms that can be used to study species distributional responses to climate change in island ecosystems. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht Source


Isnard S.,IRD Montpellier | L'huillier L.,Institute Agronomique Neo Caledonien IAC | Rigault F.,IRD Montpellier | Jaffre T.,IRD Montpellier
Plant and Soil | Year: 2016

Background: New Caledonia is renowned as one of the world’s most significant biodiversity hotpots. The nutrient-deficiency and cations imbalances of ultramafic soils, which cover a third of the island, harbor a disproportionally high proportion of the plant diversity and endemism of New Caledonia. Scope: This review explores how ultramafic soils have influenced the exceptional endemism and richness of New Caledonia trough the concomitant occurrences of habitat patchiness, climatic instability, environmental gradient, and edaphic heterogeneity of ultramafic soils. We focus on the unique ‘maquis’ vegetation where selective pressures by nutrient deficiency and trace element surplus are at their acme. We aim to synthesize our current understanding of diversification and speciation of lineages that have been phylogenetically studied to date. Conclusions: Fragmentation of the peridotite mantle in isolated massifs, and as such spatial heterogeneity of ultramafic soils types, appear to promote plant endemism and speciation. Repeated independent dispersal events of pre-adapted species and persistence of paleo-endemic lineages have contributed to the phylogenetic diversity and the endemism of the ultramafic flora. Finally, historical climatic instability has caused shifts of rain forest species in refugia thereby favoring the extension of maquis species. © 2016, Springer International Publishing Switzerland. Source


Dowle E.J.,Massey University | Dowle E.J.,Kansas State University | Morgan-Richards M.,Massey University | Brescia F.,Institute Agronomique Neo Caledonien IAC | Trewick S.A.,Massey University
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2015

The giant edible Placostylus snails of New Caledonia occur across a wide range of environmental conditions, from the dry southwest to the wetter central and northeastern regions. In large, slow-moving animals such as Placostylus, speciation could be assumed to be largely driven by allopatry and genetic drift as opposed to natural selection. We examined variation in shell morphology using geometric morphometrics and genetic structure within two species of Placostylus (P. fibratus, P. porphyrostomus), to determine the drivers of diversity in this group. Despite the current patchy distribution of snails on New Caledonia, both mtDNA and nuclear SNP data sets (>3000 loci) showed weak admixing between populations and species. Shell morphology was concordant with the genetic clusters we identified and had a strong relationship with local environment. The genetic data, in contrast to the morphological data, did not show concordance with climatic conditions, suggesting the snails are not limited in their ability to adapt to different environments. In sympatry, P. fibratus and P. porphyrostomus maintained genetic and morphological differences, suggesting a genetic basis of phenotypic variation. Convergence of shell shape was observed in two adjacent populations that are genetically isolated but experience similar habitat and climatic conditions. Conversely, some populations in contrasting environments were morphologically distinct although genetically indistinguishable. We infer that morphological divergence in the Placostylus snails of New Caledonia is mediated by adaptation to the local environment. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source


Engelthaler D.M.,Translational Genomics Research Institute | Hicks N.D.,Translational Genomics Research Institute | Gillece J.D.,Translational Genomics Research Institute | Roe C.C.,Translational Genomics Research Institute | And 28 more authors.
mBio | Year: 2014

The emergence of distinct populations of Cryptococcus gattii in the temperate North American Pacific Northwest (PNW) was surprising, as this species was previously thought to be confined to tropical and semitropical regions. Beyond a new habitat niche, the dominant emergent population displayed increased virulence and caused primary pulmonary disease, as opposed to the predominantly neurologic disease seen previously elsewhere. Whole-genome sequencing was performed on 118 C. gattii isolates, including the PNW subtypes and the global diversity of molecular type VGII, to better ascertain the natural source and genomic adaptations leading to the emergence of infection in the PNW. Overall, the VGII population was highly diverse, demonstrating large numbers of mutational and recombinational events; however, the three dominant subtypes from the PNW were of low diversity and were completely clonal. Although strains of VGII were found on at least five continents, all genetic subpopulations were represented or were most closely related to strains from South America. The phylogenetic data are consistent with multiple dispersal events from South America to North America and elsewhere. Numerous gene content differences were identified between the emergent clones and other VGII lineages, including genes potentially related to habitat adaptation, virulence, and pathology. Evidence was also found for possible gene introgression from Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii that is rarely seen in global C. gattii but that was present in all PNW populations. These findings provide greater.IMPORTANCE Cryptococcus gattii emerged in the temperate North American Pacific Northwest (PNW) in the late 1990s. Beyond a new environmental niche, these emergent populations displayed increased virulence and resulted in a different pattern of clinical disease. In particular, severe pulmonary infections predominated in contrast to presentation with neurologic disease as seen previously elsewhere. We employed population-level whole-genome sequencing and analysis to explore the genetic relationships and gene content of the PNW C. gattii populations. We provide evidence that the PNW strains originated from South America and identified numerous genes potentially related to habitat adaptation, virulence expression, and clinical presentation. Characterization of these genetic features may lead to improved diagnostics and therapies for such fungal infections. The data indicate that there were multiple recent introductions of C. gattii into the PNW. Public health vigilance is warranted for emergence in regions where C. gattii is not thought to be endemic. © 2014 Engelthaler et al. Source


Van Der Ent A.,University of Queensland | Jaffre T.,IRD Montpellier | L'Huillier L.,Institute Agronomique Neo Caledonien IAC | Gibson N.,Bentley Delivery Center
Australian Journal of Botany | Year: 2015

In the Australia-Pacific Region ultramafic outcrops are both widespread and extensive, covering thousands of km2. Soils derived from ultramafic bedrock impose edaphic challenges and are widely known to host highly distinctive floras with high levels of endemism. In the Australia-Pacific Region, the ultramafics of the island of New Caledonia are famed for harbouring 2150 species of vascular plants of which 83% are endemic. Although the ultramafic outcrops in Western Australia are also extensive and harbour 1355 taxa, only 14 species are known to be endemic or have distributions centred on ultramafics. The ultramafic outcrops in New Zealand and Tasmania are small and relatively species-poor. The ultramafic outcrops in Queensland are much larger and host 553 species of which 18 (or possibly 21) species are endemic. Although New Caledonia has a high concentration of Ni hyperaccumulator species (65), only one species from Western Australia and two species from Queensland have so far been found. No Ni hyperaccumulator species are known from Tasmania and New Zealand. Habitat destruction due to forest clearing, uncontrolled fires and nickel mining in New Caledonia impacts on the plant species restricted to ultramafic soils there. In comparison with the nearby floras of New Guinea and South-east Asia, the flora of the Australia-Pacific Region is relatively well studied through the collection of a large number of herbarium specimens. However, there is a need for studies on the evolution of plant lineages on ultramafic soils especially regarding their distinctive morphological characteristics and in relation to hyperaccumulation. © CSIRO 2015. Source

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