sCAP - Testing the conservation value of phylogenetic diversity

2nd date: 02.-05.05.2017

PIs: Arne Mooers; Caroline M. Tucker

The academic interest in using phylogenetic diversity (PD) as a metric of conservation prioritization has been increasing exponentially since its inception, and has been the focus of recent high impact papers (e.g. in 2014 alone in Science and in Current Biology). However, adoption by practitioners has been slow, likely due to the lack of strong conceptual and empirical links between phylogenetic diversity and more traditional aspects of biodiversity humanity considers valuable. One verbal argument for the conservation value of PD is based on the assumption that higher PD (as measured on a phylogeny) leads to higher total trait diversity. This greater trait diversity then supposedly produces increased biological goods and ecosystem services for direct use, increased option value (i.e. biological goods useful in the future), or the raw material for future biodiversity production via evolution. These arguments have either failed limited tests or, in the case of evolutionary potential, have never been tested at all. The second-order connection between ecosystem function and PD has been demonstrated only a few times and at local scales. We propose to rigorously test these arguments for conserving PD, using simulated and empirical phylogenetic and trait data at large temporal and spatial scales.

The sCap project is co supported by the CIEE / ICEE - Canadian Institute of Ecology and Evolution / Institut canadien d’écologie et d’évolution

Arne Mooers (Simon Fraser University); Caroline Tucker (University of Colorado); Tracy Aze (University of Leeds) Juan Lopez Cantalapiedra (Museum für Naturkunde); Marc Cadotte (University of Toronto); Chelsea Chisholm (University of Copenhagen); Sandra Diaz (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba); Rich Grenyer (Oxford University); Danwei Huang (National University of Singapore); Florent Mazel (Alpine Ecology Lab); Will Pearse (Utah State University); Giulio Valentino Dalla Riva (University of British Columbia); Marten Winter (iDiv)

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