Prioritizing phylogenetic diversity captures functional diversity unreliably

Type Article
Date 2018-07
Language English
Author(s) Mazel FlorentORCID1, 2, 3, Pennell Matthew W.3, 4, Cadotte Marc W.5, 6, Diaz Sandra7, 8, Dalla Riva Giulio ValentinoORCID9, Grenyer Richard10, Leprieur Fabien11, Mooers Arne O.1, Mouillot David11, 12, Tucker Caroline M.13, Pearse William D.14, 15
Affiliation(s) 1 : Simon Fraser Univ, Dept Biol Sci, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada.
2 : Univ British Columbia, Dept Bot, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.
3 : Univ British Columbia, Biodivers Res Ctr, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.
4 : Univ British Columbia, Dept Zool, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.
5 : Univ Toronto Scarborough, Biol Sci, Scarborough, ON M1C 1A4, Canada.
6 : Univ Toronto, Ecol & Evolutionary Biol, Toronto, ON M5S 3B2, Canada.
7 : Consejo Nacl Invest Cient & Tecn, Inst Multidisciplinario Biol Vegetal, Casilla Correo 495, RA-5000 Cordoba, Argentina.
8 : Univ Nacl Cordoba, FECFyN, Casilla Correo 495, RA-5000 Cordoba, Argentina.
9 : Univ British Columbia, Dept Stat, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.
10 : Univ Oxford, Sch Geog & Environm, Oxford OX1 3QY, England.
11 : Univ Montpellier, Marine Biodivers Exploitat & Conservat MARBEC, UMR 9190, F-34095 Montpellier, France.
12 : James Cook Univ, Australian Res Council, Ctr Excellence Coral Reef Studies, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia.
13 : Univ N Carolina, Dept Biol, CB 3280, Chapel Hill, NC 27599 USA.
14 : Utah State Univ, Ecol Ctr, Logan, UT 84322 USA.
15 : Utah State Univ, Dept Biol, Logan, UT 84322 USA.
Source Nature Communications (2041-1723) (Nature Publishing Group), 2018-07 , Vol. 9 , N. 2888 , P. 9p.
DOI 10.1038/s41467-018-05126-3
WOS© Times Cited 116

In the face of the biodiversity crisis, it is argued that we should prioritize species in order to capture high functional diversity (FD). Because species traits often reflect shared evolutionary history, many researchers have assumed that maximizing phylogenetic diversity (PD) should indirectly capture FD, a hypothesis that we name the "phylogenetic gambit". Here, we empirically test this gambit using data on ecologically relevant traits from >15,000 vertebrate species. Specifically, we estimate a measure of surrogacy of PD for FD. We find that maximizing PD results in an average gain of 18% of FD relative to random choice. However, this average gain obscures the fact that in over one-third of the comparisons, maximum PD sets contain less FD than randomly chosen sets of species. These results suggest that, while maximizing PD protection can help to protect FD, it represents a risky conservation strategy.

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Mazel Florent, Pennell Matthew W., Cadotte Marc W., Diaz Sandra, Dalla Riva Giulio Valentino, Grenyer Richard, Leprieur Fabien, Mooers Arne O., Mouillot David, Tucker Caroline M., Pearse William D. (2018). Prioritizing phylogenetic diversity captures functional diversity unreliably. Nature Communications, 9(2888), 9p. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :