Edeline Gagnon (University of Guelph, Canada)
Joe Miller (Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), Denmark)
Jens Ringelberg (University of Edinburgh, UK)

The Occurrence Data Working Group aims to promote the use of legume occurrence data in scientific studies. Our main output is a webpage (https://www.legumedata.org/working-groups/occurrences/) on the Legume Data Portal, where we provide information and resources about the assembly and cleaning of occurrence data, and an up-to-date list of published studies with publicly-available quality-controlled legume occurrence datasets. We will publish a new version of this webpage version soon and would welcome feedback and input, especially if you know of any available legume occurrence datasets that we forgot to add to the list.

Like last year, here we give an update on recently-published and on-going studies that use legume occurrence datasets.

Francisco Velásquez-Puentes (German Centre for Integrative Biodiverstiy Research (iDiv), Germany), Renske Onstein (Naturalis Biodiversity Center, the Netherlands) and colleagues published an exciting study on trait evolution in Swartzia (Papilionoideae). Using occurrence data from circa 3,700 curated herbarium specimens for 156 Swartzia taxa, phylogenies, and various trait measurements, Francisco et al. looked for correlations between bioclimatic niche and trait measurements. They found strong links between climate and leaflet and petal sizes, but no association between niche and fruit size.

An international group led by Oyetola Oyebanji (University of Louisiana, U.S.A.)and Ting-Shuang Yi (Kunming Institute of Botany, China) studied drivers of diversity in the global Millettioid/Phaseoloid clade (Papilionoideae), which has over 3,000 species in 161 genera. Using a dataset of over 116,000 occurrence points, they found a strong overall latitudinal richness gradient, but also distinctive patterns across the multiple tribes that make up the Millettioid/Phaseoloid clade.

Advances in Legume Systematics 14 part 2, edited by Anne Bruneau (Université de Montréal, Canada), Luciano de Queiroz (Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana, Brazil), and Jens Ringelberg (University of Edinburgh, UK), and with contributions from a large number of collaborators, is currently in press in the journal PhytoKeys. This special issue will feature a new tribal and clade-based classification and full generic synopsis of the entire subfamily, as well as distribution maps of all 163 Caesalpinioideae genera and species and genus richness maps of the subfamily, based on a dataset of over 548,000 occurrence points. Occurrence data of non-mimosoid Caesalpinioideae were contributed by Juliana Rando (Universidade Federal do Oeste da Bahia, Brazil), Guilherme Sousa (Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil), Haroldo de Lima (Instituto de Pesquisas Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Isau Huamantupa-Chuquimaco (Universidad Nacional Amazónica de Madre de Dios, Peru), and Domingos Cardoso (Universidade Federal do Bahia & Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).

Finally, Jens Ringelberg, Erik Koenen (University of Brussels, Belgium), and Colin Hughes (University of Zurich, Switzerland) and colleagues published a study on the drivers of turnover across space and time in the pantropical Mimosoid clade (Caesalpinioideae). This clade contains circa 3,500 species in 100 genera and occurs across the tropics, and Jens et al. assembled an occurrence dataset of over 424,000 occurrence points, covering all genera and 93% of Mimosoid species. Various analyses, such as ancestral niche reconstruction and phylogenetic regionalisation (see figure), show that water availability across the tropics is the main driver of taxonomic and phylogenetic turnover.

Phylogenetic regionalisation of Mimosoid legumes (separate per continent) by Ringelberg et al. (2023).

This year’s 8th International Legume Conference in Pirenópolis, Brazil, also allowed us to catch a glimpse of several exciting upcoming studies that employ legume occurrence data. Moabe Fernandes and Toby Pennington (University of Exeter, UK) have compiled an impressive occurrence dataset for all New World legumes, which they are using to assess phylogenetic niche conservatism and biome switching across the Americas. Charlotte Hagelstam-Renshaw (Université de Montréal, Canada), Anne Bruneau and Warren Cardinal-McTeague (University of British Columbia, Canada) are studying biogeographic patterns and biome evolution across the pantropical Cercidoideae subfamily. There are also multiple upcoming studies focusing on the Mimosoid clade (Caesalpinioideae): Rachel Ferreira (iDiv, Germany) and Renske Onstein study the evolution and spatial distribution of herbivore defense traits in this pantropical clade, while Ryan Folk and Carolina Siniscalchi (University of Mississippi, USA) analyse niche shifts and the biogeography of nitrogen fixation in multiple ongoing studies.

In conclusion, 2023 has been a vibrant and productive year for studies generating and employing legume occurrence datasets, with much more to follow in the near future.


Oyebanji OO, Onditi KO, Azevedo JAR, Rahaingoson FR, Nneji LM, Adeleye MA, Stull GW, Zhang R, Yi T (2023) Biogeographic patterns and environmental drivers of species richness in the globally distributed Millettioid/Phaseoloid clade (Fabaceae, subfamily Papilionoideae). Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 11: 1231553. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2023.1231553

Ringelberg JJ, Koenen EJM, Sauter B, Aebli A, Rando JG, Iganci JR, de Queiroz LP, Murphy DJ, Gaudeul M, Bruneau A, Luckow M, Lewis GP, Miller JT, Simon MF, Jordão LSB, Morales M, Bailey CD, Nageswara-Rao M, Nicholls JA, Loiseau O, Pennington RT, Dexter KG, Zimmermann NE, Hughes CE (2023) Precipitation is the main axis of tropical plant phylogenetic turnover across space and time. Science advances 9: eade4954. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.ade4954

Velásquez-Puentes FJ, Torke BM, Barratt CD, Dexter KG, Pennington T, Pezzini FF, Zizka A, Onstein RE (2023) Pre-adaptation and adaptation shape trait-environment matching in the Neotropics. Global Ecology and Biogeography 32: 1760–1772. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.13730