Uni-Bayreuth Uni-Augsburg Uni-Würzburg Elitenetzwerk Bayern



Old and new challanges in using species diversity for assessing biodiversity
Chiarucci Alessandro

Although the maintenance of diversity of living systems is critical for ecosystem functioning, the accelerating pace of global change is threatening its preservation. Needed are standardized methods for biodiversity assessment and monitoring. Species diversity is one of the most widely adopted metrics for assessing patterns and processes of biodiversity at both ecological and biogeographical scales. However, those perspectives differ because of the types of data that can be feasibly collected, resulting in differences in the questions that can be addressed. Despite a theoretical consensus on diversity metrics, standardized methods for its measurement are lacking, especially at the scales needed to monitor biodiversity for conservation and management purposes.
In this talk, I will review the conceptual framework for species diversity, examine common metrics, and explore their use for biodiversity conservation and management. Key differences in diversity measures at ecological and biogeographic scales are the completeness of species lists and the ability to include information on species abundances. I will  analyse the major pitfalls and problems with quantitative measurement of species diversity, look at the use of weighting measures by phylogenetic distance, discuss potential solutions, and propose a research agenda to solve the major existing problems.

last modified 2011-03-09