[MARMAM] new paper on cetacean conservation

Laura J. May-Collado lmaycollado at gmail.com
Fri Jul 29 16:53:51 PDT 2011


We would like to share with the marmam community our latest paper on marine
mammal conservation based on a phylogenetic analysis. The paper can be
freely downloaded at: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0022562
For those that might be interested here is the abstract of the paper.
<http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0022562> Phylogenetic Analysis of
Conservation Priorities for Aquatic Mammals and Their Terrestrial Relatives,
with a Comparison of Methods

Laura J. May-Collado1<http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0022562#aff1>
,2<http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0022562#aff2>
*<http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0022562#cor1>
, Ingi Agnarsson1<http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0022562#aff1>

*1* Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto
Rico, *2*Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, George Mason
University, Fairfax, Virginia, United States of America
 Abstract  Background

Habitat loss and overexploitation are among the primary factors threatening
populations of many mammal species. Recently, aquatic mammals have been
highlighted as particularly vulnerable. Here we test (1) if aquatic mammals
emerge as more phylogenetically urgent conservation priorities than their
terrestrial relatives, and (2) if high priority species are receiving
sufficient conservation effort. We also compare results among some
phylogenetic conservation methods.
 Methodology/Principal Findings

A phylogenetic analysis of conservation priorities for all 620 species of
Cetartiodactyla and Carnivora, including most aquatic mammals. Conservation
priority ranking of aquatic versus terrestrial species is approximately
proportional to their diversity. However, nearly all obligated freshwater
cetartiodactylans are among the top conservation priority species. Further,
~74% and 40% of fully aquatic cetartiodactylans and carnivores,
respectively, are either threatened or data deficient, more so than their
terrestrial relatives. Strikingly, only 3% of all ‘high priority’ species
are thought to be stable. An overwhelming 97% of these species thus either
show decreasing population trends (87%) or are insufficiently known (10%).
Furthermore, a disproportional number of highly evolutionarily distinct
species are experiencing population decline, thus, such species should be
closely monitored even if not currently threatened. Comparison among methods
reveals that exact species ranking differs considerably among methods,
nevertheless, most top priority species consistently rank high under any
method. While we here favor one approach, we also suggest that a consensus
approach may be useful when methods disagree.
 Conclusions/Significance

These results reinforce prior findings, suggesting there is an urgent need
to gather basic conservation data for aquatic mammals, and special
conservation focus is needed on those confined to freshwater. That
evolutionarily distinct—and thus ‘biodiverse’—species are faring relatively
poorly is alarming and requires further study. Our results offer a detailed
guide to phylogeny-based conservation prioritization for these two orders.

*Citation: *May-Collado LJ, Agnarsson I (2011) Phylogenetic Analysis of
Conservation Priorities for Aquatic Mammals and Their Terrestrial Relatives,
with a Comparison of Methods. PLoS ONE 6(7): e22562.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022562


-- 
Laura J. May-Collado, Ph.D.
Associate Researcher & Adjunct Professor
Universidad de Puerto Rico
Facultad de Ciencias Naturales
Departmento de Biologia
University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras
POBox 70377
Puerto Rico, 00936-8377
Office CN326
Phone:1-787-7640000 Ext2584
Email: lmaycollado at gmail.com
Personal Home Page: LAURAMAY-COLLADO.COM

Affiliate Assistant Professor
Department of Environmental Science & Policy; George Mason University
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