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Uncertainty in identifying local extinctions: the distribution of missing data and its effects on biodiversity measures

Boakes, EH; Fuller, RA; McGowan, PJ; Mace, GM; (2016) Uncertainty in identifying local extinctions: the distribution of missing data and its effects on biodiversity measures. Biology Letters , 12 (3) , Article 20150824. 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0824. Green open access

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Abstract

Identifying local extinctions is integral to estimating species richness and geographic range changes and informing extinction risk assessments. However, the species occurrence records underpinning these estimates are frequently compromised by a lack of recorded species absences making it impossible to distinguish between local extinction and lack of survey effort-for a rigorously compiled database of European and Asian Galliformes, approximately 40% of half-degree cells contain records from before but not after 1980. We investigate the distribution of these cells, finding differences between the Palaearctic (forests, low mean human influence index (HII), outside protected areas (PAs)) and Indo-Malaya (grassland, high mean HII, outside PAs). Such cells also occur more in less peaceful countries. We show that different interpretations of these cells can lead to large over/under-estimations of species richness and extent of occurrences, potentially misleading prioritization and extinction risk assessment schemes. To avoid mistakes, local extinctions inferred from sightings records need to account for the history of survey effort in a locality.

Type: Article
Title: Uncertainty in identifying local extinctions: the distribution of missing data and its effects on biodiversity measures
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0824
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2015.0824
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: biodiversity monitoring, extinction inference, galliformes, local extinction, spatial bias, species occurrence data
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1482673
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