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Setting evolutionary-based conservation priorities for a phylogenetically data-poor taxonomic group (Scleractinia)

Curnick, DJ; Redding, DW; Head, CEI; Gollock, M; Jones, R; Koldewey, HJ; Wren, S; ... Turner, JR; + view all (2015) Setting evolutionary-based conservation priorities for a phylogenetically data-poor taxonomic group (Scleractinia). Animal Conservation , 18 (4) pp. 303-312. 10.1111/acv.12185. Green open access

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Abstract

Given the current extinction crisis coupled with the shortfall in funding, there is a pressing need to establish species conservation priorities. The prioritization of phylogenetic diversity and evolutionary distinctiveness is one approach; however, taking such an approach requires more phylogenetic data than are currently available for most taxa. Here, we investigate the effects of increased phylogenetic knowledge on the accuracy of evolutionary distinctiveness (ED) scores over time using scleractinian corals as a case study. ED scores were calculated from four molecular-based phylogenies from 2008 to 2013, each one representing a chronological step of increased phylogenetic knowledge for scleractinian corals, finally resulting in a full species-level phylogeny which is used here as the reference dataset. As expected, the most complete and up-to-date phylogenies performed well at predicting scores taken from a recent, full-coverage species-level phylogeny of scleractinian corals. Surprisingly, however, older phylogenies and scores derived from expert opinion also performed well. More unexpectedly, the expert opinion-led scores, when used as a basis for imputing scores for missing species, achieved a close second in terms of prediction accuracy compared with the most recent and largest tree, which had nearly 10 times more taxonomic coverage. We recommend, once tested further, that ED score imputation be considered for assessing the conservation priorities for other poorly studied groups.

Type: Article
Title: Setting evolutionary-based conservation priorities for a phylogenetically data-poor taxonomic group (Scleractinia)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/acv.12185
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/acv.12185
Language: English
Additional information: © 2015 The Authors. Animal Conservation published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The Zoological Society of London. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
UCL classification: UCL
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: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1470855
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