Get access

Estimates of species extinctions from species–area relationships strongly depend on ecological context

Authors

  • Miguel G. Matias,

    1. Inst. des Sciences de l'Evolution, UMR 5554, CNRS, Univ. Montpellier 2, CC 065, Place Eugène Bataillon, FR-34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Dominique Gravel,

    1. Inst. des Sciences de l'Evolution, UMR 5554, CNRS, Univ. Montpellier 2, CC 065, Place Eugène Bataillon, FR-34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • François Guilhaumon,

    1. Inst. des Sciences de l'Evolution, UMR 5554, CNRS, Univ. Montpellier 2, CC 065, Place Eugène Bataillon, FR-34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Philippe Desjardins-Proulx,

    1. Inst. des Sciences de l'Evolution, UMR 5554, CNRS, Univ. Montpellier 2, CC 065, Place Eugène Bataillon, FR-34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Michel Loreau,

    1. Inst. des Sciences de l'Evolution, UMR 5554, CNRS, Univ. Montpellier 2, CC 065, Place Eugène Bataillon, FR-34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Tamara Münkemüller,

    1. Inst. des Sciences de l'Evolution, UMR 5554, CNRS, Univ. Montpellier 2, CC 065, Place Eugène Bataillon, FR-34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Nicolas Mouquet

    1. Inst. des Sciences de l'Evolution, UMR 5554, CNRS, Univ. Montpellier 2, CC 065, Place Eugène Bataillon, FR-34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France.
    Search for more papers by this author

  • The review and decision to publish this paper has been taken by the above noted SE.

    The decision by the handling SE was shared by a second SE.

M. G. Matias, Inst. des Sciences de l'Evolution, UMR 5554, CNRS, Univ. Montpellier 2, CC 065, Place Eugène Bataillon, FR-34095 Montpellier Cedex 05, France. ‘Rui Nabeiro’ Biodiversity Chair, CIBIO, Univ. de Evora, Casa Cordovil, Rua Doutor Joaquim Henrique da Fonseca, PT-7000-890 Evora, Portugal. Present address: Laboratoire Ecologie des Systèmes Marins Côtiers UMR 5119, CNRS, IRD, IFREMER, UM2, UM1, Montpellier Cedex 5, France. E-mail: mail.miguelmatias@gmail.com

Abstract

Species–area (SAR) and endemics–area (EAR) relationships are amongst the most common methods used to forecast species loss resulting from habitat loss. One critical, albeit often ignored, limitation of these area-based estimates is their disregard of the ecological context that shapes species distributions. In this study, we estimate species loss using a spatially explicit mechanistic simulation model to evaluate three important aspects of ecological context: coexistence mechanisms (e.g. species sorting, competition–colonization tradeoffs and neutral dynamics), spatial distribution of environmental conditions, and spatial pattern of habitat loss. We found that 1) area-based estimates of extinctions are sensitive to coexistence mechanisms as well as to the pattern of environmental heterogeneity; 2) there is a strong interaction between coexistence mechanisms and the pattern of habitat loss; 3) SARs always yield higher estimates of species loss than do EARs; and 4) SARs and EARs consistently underestimate the realized species loss. Our results highlight the need to integrate ecological mechanisms in area-estimates of species loss.

Ancillary