Document Detail

How taxonomic diversity, community structure, and sample size determine the reliability of higher taxon surrogates.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23967587     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Process    
Ecologists and paleontologists often rely on higher taxon surrogates instead of complete inventories of biological diversity. Despite their intrinsic appeal, the performance of these surrogates has been markedly inconsistent across empirical studies, to the extent that there is no consensus on appropriate taxonomic resolution (i.e., whether genus- or family-level categories are more appropriate) or their overall usefulness. A framework linking the reliability of higher taxon surrogates to biogeographic setting would allow for the interpretation of previously published work and provide some needed guidance regarding the actual application of these surrogates in biodiversity assessments, conservation planning, and the interpretation of the fossil record. We developed a mathematical model to show how taxonomic diversity, community structure, and sampling effort together affect three measures of higher taxon performance: the correlation between species and higher taxon richness, the relative shapes and asymptotes of species and higher taxon accumulation curves, and the efficiency of higher taxa in a complementarity-based reserve-selection algorithm. In our model, higher taxon surrogates performed well in communities in which a few common species were most abundant, and less well in communities with many equally abundant species. Furthermore, higher taxon surrogates performed well when there was a small mean and variance in the number of species per higher taxa. We also show that empirically measured species-higher-taxon correlations can be partly spurious (i.e., a mathematical artifact), except when the species accumulation curve has reached an asymptote. This particular result is of considerable practical interest given the widespread use of rapid survey methods in biodiversity assessment and the application of higher taxon methods to taxa in which species accumulation curves rarely reach an asymptote, e.g., insects.
Thomas M Neeson; Itai Van Rijn; Yael Mandelik
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America     Volume:  23     ISSN:  1051-0761     ISO Abbreviation:  Ecol Appl     Publication Date:  2013 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-08-23     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9889808     Medline TA:  Ecol Appl     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1216-25     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Entomology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, P.O. Box 12, Rehovot 76100, Israel.
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