|Authors:||Redding, DW; Mooers, AO; Sekercioglu, CH; Collen, B|
|Journal:||Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 370 Article Link (DOI) PubMed|
|Title:||Global evolutionary isolation measures can capture key local conservation species in Nearctic and Neotropical bird communities|
|Abstract:||Understanding how to prioritize among the most deserving imperilled species has been a focus of biodiversity science for the past three decades. Though global metrics that integrate evolutionary history and likelihood of loss have been successfully implemented, conservation is typically carried out at sub-global scales on communities of species rather than among members of complete taxonomic assemblages. Whether and how global measures map to a local scale has received little scrutiny. At a local scale, conservation-relevant assemblages of species are likely to be made up of relatively few species spread across a large phylogenetic tree, and as a consequence there are potentially relatively large amounts of evolutionary history at stake. We ask to what extent global metrics of evolutionary history are useful for conservation priority setting at the community level by evaluating the extent to which three global measures of evolutionary isolation (evolutionary distinctiveness (ED), average pairwise distance (APD) and the pendant edge or unique phylogenetic diversity (PD) contribution) capture community-level phylogenetic and trait diversity for a large sample of Neotropical and Nearctic bird communities. We find that prioritizing the most ED species globally safeguards more than twice the total PD of local communities on average, but that this does not translate into increased local trait diversity. By contrast, global APD is strongly related to the APD of those same species at the community level, and prioritizing these species also safeguards local PD and trait diversity. The next step for biologists is to understand the variation in the concordance of global and local level scores and what this means for conservation priorities: we need more directed research on the use of different measures of evolutionary isolation to determine which might best capture desirable aspects of biodiversity.|
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