Spatial Predictions of Phylogenetic Diversity in Conservation Decision Making

Authors

  • DOROTHEA V. PIO,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolution, Biophore, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
    2. Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Quartier Sorge, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
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  • OLIVIER BROENNIMANN,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolution, Biophore, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
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  • TIMOTHY G. BARRACLOUGH,

    1. Division of Biology and NERC Centre for Population Biology, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7PY, United Kingdom
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  • GAIL REEVES,

    1. Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew TW9 3DS, United Kingdom
    2. Protea Atlas Project, South African National Biodiversity Institute, P/Bag X7, Claremont 7735, Cape Town, South Africa
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  • ANTHONY G. REBELO,

    1. Protea Atlas Project, South African National Biodiversity Institute, P/Bag X7, Claremont 7735, Cape Town, South Africa
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  • WILFRIED THUILLER,

    1. Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine, CNRS, Université Joseph Fourier, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France
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  • ANTOINE GUISAN,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecology and Evolution, Biophore, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
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  • NICOLAS SALAMIN

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecology and Evolution, Biophore, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
    2. Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Quartier Sorge, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
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N. Salamin, email nicolas.salamin@unil.ch

These authors contributed jointly to this work.

Abstract

Abstract: Considering genetic relatedness among species has long been argued as an important step toward measuring biological diversity more accurately, rather than relying solely on species richness. Some researchers have correlated measures of phylogenetic diversity and species richness across a series of sites and suggest that values of phylogenetic diversity do not differ enough from those of species richness to justify their inclusion in conservation planning. We compared predictions of species richness and 10 measures of phylogenetic diversity by creating distribution models for 168 individual species of a species-rich plant family, the Cape Proteaceae. When we used average amounts of land set aside for conservation to compare areas selected on the basis of species richness with areas selected on the basis of phylogenetic diversity, correlations between species richness and different measures of phylogenetic diversity varied considerably. Correlations between species richness and measures that were based on the length of phylogenetic tree branches and tree shape were weaker than those that were based on tree shape alone. Elevation explained up to 31% of the segregation of species rich versus phylogenetically rich areas. Given these results, the increased availability of molecular data, and the known ecological effect of phylogenetically rich communities, consideration of phylogenetic diversity in conservation decision making may be feasible and informative.

Abstract

Resumen: Durante mucho tiempo se ha argumentado que la consideración de las relaciones genéticas entre especies es un paso importante hacia la medición más precisa de la diversidad biológica, en lugar de solo basarse en la riqueza de especies. Algunos investigadores han correlacionado medidas de la diversidad filogenética y de la riqueza de especies en una serie de sitios y sugieren que los valores de la diversidad filogenética no difieren suficientemente de los valores de riqueza de especies para justificar su inclusión en la planificación de la conservación. Comparamos las predicciones de riqueza de especies y 10 medidas de diversidad filogenética mediante la creación de modelos de distribución de 168 especies de una familia de plantas muy rica en especies, Proteaceae. Cuando utilizamos cantidades promedio de terrenos protegidos para comparar áreas seleccionadas con base en la riqueza de especies con áreas seleccionadas con base en la diversidad filogenética, las correlaciones entre riqueza de especies y las diferentes medidas de diversidad filogenética variaron considerablemente. Las correlaciones entre riqueza de especies y medidas que se basaron en la longitud de las ramas de los árboles filogenéticos y la forma del árbol fueron más débiles que las que se basaron solamente en la forma del árbol. La elevación explicó hasta 31% de la segregación de áreas ricas en especies versus las áreas filogenéticamente ricas. Dados estos resultados, la mayor disponibilidad de datos moleculares, y el efecto ecológico conocido de las comunidades filogenéticamente ricas, la consideración de la diversidad filogenética en la toma de decisiones de conservación puede ser factible e informativa.

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