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Use of cross-taxon congruence for hotspot identification at a regional scale

, : Use of cross-taxon congruence for hotspot identification at a regional scale. Plos One 7(6): E40018-E40018

One of the most debated problems in conservation biology is the use of indicator (surrogate) taxa to predict spatial patterns in other taxa. Cross-taxon congruence in species richness patterns is of paramount importance at regional scales to disclose areas of high conservation value that are significant in a broader biogeographical context but yet placed in the finer, more practical, political context of decision making. We analysed spatial patterns of diversity in six arthropod taxa from the Turkish fauna as a regional case study relevant to global conservation of the Mediterranean basin. Although we found high congruence in cross-taxon comparisons of species richness (0.241<r<0.645), hotspots of different groups show limited overlap, generally less than 50 per cent. The ability of a given taxon to capture diversity of other taxa was usually modest (on average, 50 percent of diversity of non-target taxa), limiting the use of hotspots for effective conservation of non-target groups. Nevertheless, our study demonstrates that a given group may partially stand in for another with similar ecological needs and biogeographical histories. We therefore advocate the use of multiple sets of taxa, chosen so as to be representative of animals with different ecological needs and biogeographical histories.


PMID: 22761947

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040018

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