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R Soc Open Sci 2021 Apr 14;84:201983. doi: 10.1098/rsos.201983.
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Natural history collections recapitulate 200 years of faunal change.

Ewers-Saucedo C , Allspach A , Barilaro C , Bick A , Brandt A , Fiege D , Füting S , Hausdorf B , Hayer S , Husemann M , Joger U , Kamcke C , Küster M , Lohrmann V , Martin I , Michalik P , Reinicke GB , Schwentner M , Stiller M , Brandis D .

Changing species assemblages represent major challenges to ecosystems around the world. Retracing these changes is limited by our knowledge of past biodiversity. Natural history collections represent archives of biodiversity and are therefore an unparalleled source to study biodiversity changes. In the present study, we tested the value of natural history collections for reconstructing changes in the abundance and presence of species over time. In total, we scrutinized 17 080 quality-checked records for 242 epibenthic invertebrate species from the North and Baltic Seas collected throughout the last 200 years. Our approaches identified eight previously reported species introductions, 10 range expansions, six of which are new to science, as well as the long-term decline of 51 marine invertebrate species. The cross-validation of our results with published accounts of endangered species and neozoa of the area confirmed the results for two of the approaches for 49 to 55% of the identified species, and contradicted our results for 9 to 10%. The results based on relative record trends were less validated. We conclude that, with the proper approaches, natural history collections are an unmatched resource for recovering early species introductions and declines.

PubMed ID: 33996123
PMC ID: PMC8059531
Article link: R Soc Open Sci

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