Phylogenetic patterns of extinction risk in the Eastern Arc Ecosystems, an African biodiversity hotspot
- Authors: Yessoufou, Kowiyou , Daru, Barnabas H. , Davies, T. Jonathan
- Date: 2012
- Subjects: African biodiversity , Biodiversity , Ecosystems , Climate change , Phylogenetics , Eatern Arc Mountains
- Type: Article
- Identifier: uj:5853 , ISSN 1932-6203 , http://hdl.handle.net/10210/7950
- Description: There is an urgent need to reduce drastically the rate at which biodiversity is declining worldwide. Phylogenetic methods are increasingly being recognised as providing a useful framework for predicting future losses, and guiding efforts for preemptive conservation actions. In this study, we used a reconstructed phylogenetic tree of angiosperm species of the Eastern Arc Mountains – an important African biodiversity hotspot – and described the distribution of extinction risk across taxonomic ranks and phylogeny. We provide evidence for both taxonomic and phylogenetic selectivity in extinction risk. However, we found that selectivity varies with IUCN extinction risk category. Vulnerable species are more closely related than expected by chance, whereas endangered and critically endangered species are not significantly clustered on the phylogeny. We suggest that the general observation for taxonomic and phylogenetic selectivity (i.e. phylogenetic signal, the tendency of closely related species to share similar traits) in extinction risks is therefore largely driven by vulnerable species, and not necessarily the most highly threatened. We also used information on altitudinal distribution and climate to generate a predictive model of at-risk species richness, and found that greater threatened species richness is found at higher altitude, allowing for more informed conservation decision making. Our results indicate that evolutionary history can help predict plant susceptibility to extinction threats in the hyper-diverse but woefully-understudied Eastern Arc Mountains, and illustrate the contribution of phylogenetic approaches in conserving African floristic biodiversity where detailed ecological and evolutionary data are often lacking.
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A global trend towards the loss of evolutionarily unique species in mangrove ecosystems
- Authors: Daru, Barnabas H. , Yessoufou, Kowiyou , Mankga, Ledile T. , Davies, T. Jonathan
- Date: 2013
- Subjects: Mangrove ecology , Threatened species , Biodiversity conservation
- Type: Article
- Identifier: uj:5984 , http://hdl.handle.net/10210/8604
- Description: The mangrove biome stands out as a distinct forest type at the interface between terrestrial, estuarine, and near-shore marine ecosystems. However, mangrove species are increasingly threatened and experiencing range contraction across the globe that requires urgent conservation action. Here, we assess the spatial distribution of mangrove species richness and evolutionary diversity, and evaluate potential predictors of global declines and risk of extinction. We found that human pressure, measured as the number of different uses associated with mangroves, correlated strongly, but negatively, with extinction probability, whereas species ages were the best predictor of global decline, explaining 15% of variation in extinction risk. Although the majority of mangrove species are categorised by the IUCN as Least Concern, our finding that the more threatened species also tend to be those that are more evolutionarily unique is of concern because their extinction would result in a greater loss of phylogenetic diversity. Finally, we identified biogeographic regions that are relatively species-poor but rich in evolutionary history, and suggest these regions deserve greater conservation priority. Our study provides phylogenetic information that is important for developing a unified management plan for mangrove ecosystems worldwide.
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