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The Importance of Systematic Biology in Defining Units of Conservation

Authors

  • Walter Wheaton Dimmick,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology , University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, U.S.A.
    2. Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center , Dyche Hall, University of Kansas, Lawrence,
      KS 66045, U.S.A.
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  • Michael J. Ghedotti,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology , University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, U.S.A.
    2. Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center , Dyche Hall, University of Kansas, Lawrence,
      KS 66045, U.S.A.
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  • Michael J. Grose,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology , University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, U.S.A.
    2. Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center , Dyche Hall, University of Kansas, Lawrence,
      KS 66045, U.S.A.
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  • Anne M. Maglia,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology , University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, U.S.A.
    2. Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center , Dyche Hall, University of Kansas, Lawrence,
      KS 66045, U.S.A.
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  • Daniel J. Meinhardt,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology , University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, U.S.A.
    2. Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center , Dyche Hall, University of Kansas, Lawrence,
      KS 66045, U.S.A.
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  • David S. Pennock

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology , University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, U.S.A.
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‡ email Walterd@kuhub.cc.ukans.edu

Abstract

Abstract: Conservation biology is linked inextricably with systematic biology. The principles of systematic biology, however, have not been integrated completely into the practice and principles of conservation biology. Systematists have recognized for some time that a number of evolutionary processes lead to the diversification of lineages. Yet some present units of conservation, such as the evolutionarily significant unit (Waples 1991), primarily emphasize only one of these processes, adaptation. Allopatric speciation produces biodiversity without requiring any adaptive shift (and consequent adaptive differences between daughter species), so definitions of conservation units that emphasize adaptation may underestimate biodiversity. We estimated the frequency of different modes of speciation for three groups of vertebrates. The frequency of allopatric speciation varies among these groups, but is an important type of speciation in two of the three groups studied. Our results, and the results of other published studies of the frequency of modes of speciation, demonstrate that any unit of conservation defined solely in terms of adaptation is likely to underestimate biological diversity.

Abstract

Resumen: La biología de la conservación esta ligada inextricablemente a la biología sistemática, sin embargo, los principios de la biología sistemática no han sido integrados completamente a la prática y principios de la biología de la conservación. Los sistematistas han reconocido por algún tiempo que un número de procesos evolutivos conducen a la diversificación de linajes. Algunas unidades de conservación, como son las unidades evolutivas significativas ( Waples 1991), enfatizan principamente sólo uno de estos procesos, adaptación. La especiación alopátrica produce biodiversidad sin requerir de ningún giro adapatativo (y diferencias adaptativas consecuentes entre la especie hija), por ello las definiciones de unidades de conservación que hacen énfasis en la adaptación pueden subestimar la biodiversidad. Estimamos la frecuencia de diferentes modos de especiación para tres grupos de vertebrados. La frecuencia de especiación alopátrica varía entre estos grupos, pero es un tipo importante de especiación en dos de los tres grupos estudiados. Nuestros resultados y los resultados de otros estudios publicados sobre la frecuencia de modos de especiación demuestran que cualquier unidad de conservación definida únicamente en términos de adaptación podrían subestimar la diversidad biológica.

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