Prioritizing phylogenetic diversity captures functional diversity unreliably

Mazel, Florent, Pennell, Matthew W., Cadotte, Marc W., Diaz, Sandra, Dalla Riva, Giulio Valentino, Grenyer, Richard, Leprieur, Fabien, Mooers, Arne O., Mouillot, David, Tucker, Caroline M., and Pearse, William D. (2018) Prioritizing phylogenetic diversity captures functional diversity unreliably. Nature Communications, 9. 2888.

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Abstract

In the face of the biodiversity crisis, it is argued that we should prioritize species in order to capture high functional diversity (FD). Because species traits often reflect shared evolutionary history, many researchers have assumed that maximizing phylogenetic diversity (PD) should indirectly capture FD, a hypothesis that we name the "phylogenetic gambit". Here, we empirically test this gambit using data on ecologically relevant traits from >15,000 vertebrate species. Specifically, we estimate a measure of surrogacy of PD for FD. We find that maximizing PD results in an average gain of 18% of FD relative to random choice. However, this average gain obscures the fact that in over one-third of the comparisons, maximum PD sets contain less FD than randomly chosen sets of species. These results suggest that, while maximizing PD protection can help to protect FD, it represents a risky conservation strategy.

Item ID: 54931
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2041-1723
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2018. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Funders: Synthesis Centre for Biodiversity Sciences (sDiv), German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Canadian Institute for Ecology and Evolution (CIEE), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
Projects and Grants: Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2018 07:35
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 100%
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