Diverging diversity patterns in species-rich taxa – Implications for biodiversity conservation
1 UCL Department of Geography, University College London
in Biodiversity Hotspots
11.01.2015, 15:15-15:30, H 22, RW II
Priority areas for biodiversity conservation are commonly identified based on higher plant and vertebrate species - groups that represent only a small fraction of the global species pool. This is based on the assumption that plant diversity in particular is a strong indicator of overall species richness, since plants form the basis of food-chains, strongly influence habitat structure and often govern microclimatic conditions. Nonetheless, comparisons of spatial diversity patterns in vascular plants, macro-moths and ground beetles across a wide range of temperate and tropical ecosystems indicate that the species richness of highly diverse insect taxa is only weakly related to plant diversity and vegetation structure. While different insect taxa also display widely independent diversity patterns, climatic conditions form a key common driver of changes in their diversity. This indicates that plant-based conservation priority areas like Biodiversity Hotspots are potentially poorly suited to safeguard overall biodiversity and that we have potentially strongly underestimate the threat climate change presents for the global species pool.
Keywords: Biodiversity indicators, climate change, insects, vegetation
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