Data Archival Data for this study are available at TreeBASE study ID: S13550 and as supporting information.
Anthropogenic extinction threats and future loss of evolutionary history in reef corals
Article first published online: 18 MAR 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Ecology and Evolution
Volume 3, Issue 5, pages 1184–1193, May 2013
How to Cite
Ecology and Evolution 2013; 3(5):1184–1193.
- Issue published online: 10 MAY 2013
- Article first published online: 18 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 FEB 2013
- Manuscript Received: 8 FEB 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 8 FEB 2013
- Wildlife Reserves Singapore
- Phylogenetic conservatism;
- phylogenetic diversity;
- tree shape
Extinction always results in loss of phylogenetic diversity (PD), but phylogenetically selective extinctions have long been thought to disproportionately reduce PD. Recent simulations show that tree shapes also play an important role in determining the magnitude of PD loss, potentially offsetting the effects of clustered extinctions. While patterns of PD loss under different extinction scenarios are becoming well characterized in model phylogenies, analyses of real clades that often have unbalanced tree shapes remain scarce, particularly for marine organisms. Here, we use a fossil-calibrated phylogeny of all living scleractinian reef corals in conjunction with IUCN data on extinction vulnerabilities to quantify how loss of species in different threat categories will affect the PD of this group. Our analyses reveal that predicted PD loss in corals varies substantially among different threats, with extinctions due to bleaching and disease having the largest negative effects on PD. In general, more phylogenetically clustered extinctions lead to larger losses of PD in corals, but there are notable exceptions; extinction of rare corals from distantly-related old and unique lineages can also result in substantial PD loss. Thus our results show that loss of PD in reef corals is dependent on both tree shape and the nature of extinction threats.