Natural history collections and tropical tree diversity are both treasure troves of biological and evolutionary information, but their accessibility for scientific study is impeded by a number of properties. DNA in historical specimens is generally highly fragmented, complicating the recovery of high-grade genetic material. Furthermore, our understanding of hyperdiverse, wide-spread tree assemblages is obstructed by extensive species ranges, fragmented knowledge of tropical tree diversity and phenology, and a widespread lack of species-level diagnostic characters, prohibiting the collecting of readily identifiable specimens which can be used to build, revise or strengthen taxonomic frameworks. This, in turn, delays the application of downstream conservation action. A sizable component of botanical collections are sterile-thus eluding identification and are slowing down progress in systematic treatments of tropical biodiversity. With rapid advances in genomics and bioinformatic approaches to biodiversity research, museomics is emerging as a new field breathing life into natural collections that have been built up over centuries. Using MIGseq (multiplexed ISSR genotyping by sequencing), we generated 10,000s of short loci, for both freshly collected materials and museum specimens (aged >100 years) of Lithocarpus-a widespread tropical tree genus endemic to the Asian tropics. Loci recovery from historical and recently collected samples was not affected by sample age and preservation history of the study material, underscoring the reliability and flexibility of the MIGseq approach. Phylogenomic inference and biogeographic reconstruction across insular Asia, highlights repeated migration and diversification patterns between continental regions and islands. Results indicate that co-occurring insular species at the extremity of the distribution range are not monophyletic, raising the possibility of multiple independent dispersals along the outer edge of Wallacea. This suggests that dispersal of large seeded tree genera throughout Malesia and across Wallacea may have been less affected by large geographic distances and the presence of marine barriers than generally assumed. We demonstrate the utility of MIGseq in museomic studies using non-model taxa, presenting the first range-wide genomic assessment of Lithocarpus and tropical Fagaceae as a proof-of-concept. Our study shows the potential for developing innovative genomic approaches to improve the capture of novel evolutionary signals using valuable natural history collections of hyperdiverse taxa.
Biochar production from invasive species biomass discarded as waste was studied in a fixed bed reactor pyrolysis system under different temperature conditions for value-added applications. Prior to pyrolysis, the biomass feedstock was characterized by proximate, ultimate, and heating value analyses, while the biomass decomposition behavior was examined by thermogravimetric analysis. The heating values of the feedstock biomass ranged from 18.65 to 20.65 MJ/kg, whereas the volatile matter, fixed carbon, and ash content were 61.54-72.04 wt %, 19.27-26.61 wt % and 1.51-1.86 wt %, respectively. The elemental composition of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in the samples was reported to be in the range of 47.41-48.47 wt %, 5.50-5.88 wt % and 46.10-45.18 wt %, respectively, while the nitrogen and sulphur content in the biomass samples were at very low concentrations, making it more useful for valorization from environmental aspects. The biochar yields were reported in the range of 45.36-58.35 wt %, 28.63-44.38 wt % and 22.68-29.42 wt % at a pyrolysis temperature of 400 °C, 500 °C, and 600 °C, respectively. The biochars were characterized from ultimate analysis, heating value, energy densification ratio, energy yield, pH, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM and EDX), to evaluate their potential for value-added applications. The carbon content, heating value, energy densification ratio, and the porosity of the biochars improved with the increase in pyrolysis temperature, while the energy yield, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen content of the biochars decreased. This study revealed the potential of the valorization of underutilized discarded biomass of invasive species via a pyrolysis process to produce biochar for value-added applications.
Less than half of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions remain in the atmosphere. While carbon balance models imply large carbon uptake in tropical forests, direct on-the-ground observations are still lacking in Southeast Asia. Here, using long-term plot monitoring records of up to half a century, we find that intact forests in Borneo gained 0.43 Mg C ha-1 per year (95% CI 0.14-0.72, mean period 1988-2010) above-ground live biomass. These results closely match those from African and Amazonian plot networks, suggesting that the world's remaining intact tropical forests are now en masse out-of-equilibrium. Although both pan-tropical and long-term, the sink in remaining intact forests appears vulnerable to climate and land use changes. Across Borneo the 1997-1998 El Niño drought temporarily halted the carbon sink by increasing tree mortality, while fragmentation persistently offset the sink and turned many edge-affected forests into a carbon source to the atmosphere.
The original version of this Article contained an error in the third sentence of the abstract and incorrectly read "Here, using long-term plot monitoring records of up to half a century, we find that intact forests in Borneo gained 0.43 Mg C ha-1 year-1 (95% CI 0.14-0.72, mean period 1988-2010) above-ground live biomass", rather than the correct "Here, using long-term plot monitoring records of up to half a century, we find that intact forests in Borneo gained 0.43 Mg C ha-1 year-1 (95% CI 0.14-0.72, mean period 1988-2010) in above-ground live biomass carbon". This has now been corrected in both the PDF and HTML versions of the Article.