The global distribution of tetrapods reveals a need for targeted reptile conservation

Roll, Uri and Feldman, Anat and Novosolov, Maria and Allison, Allen and Bauer, Aaron M. and Bernard, Rodolphe and Böhm, Monika and Castro-Herrera, Fernando and Chirio, Laurent and Collen, Ben and Colli, Guarino R. and Dabool, Lital and Das, Indraneil and Doan, Tiffany M. and Grismer, Lee L. and Hoogmoed, Marinus and Itescu, Yuval and Kraus, Fred and LeBreton, Matthew and Lewin, Amir and Martins, Marcio and Maza, Erez and Meirte, Danny and Nagy, Zoltán T. and de C. Nogueira, Cristiano and Pauwels, Olivier S. G. and Pincheira-Donoso, Daniel and Powney, Gary D. and Sindaco, Roberto and Tallowin, Oliver J. S. and Torres-Carvajal, Omar and Trape, Jean-François and Vidan, Enav and Uetz, Peter and Wagner, Philipp and Wang, Yuezhao and Orme, C. David L. and Grenyer, Richard and Meiri, Shai (2017) The global distribution of tetrapods reveals a need for targeted reptile conservation. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1 (11). pp. 1677-1682. ISSN 2397-334X

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Abstract

The distributions of amphibians, birds and mammals have underpinned global and local conservation priorities, and have been fundamental to our understanding of the determinants of global biodiversity. In contrast, the global distributions of reptiles, representing a third of terrestrial vertebrate diversity, have been unavailable. This prevented the incorporation of reptiles into conservation planning and biased our understanding of the underlying processes governing global vertebrate biodiversity. Here, we present and analyse the global distribution of 10,064 reptile species (99% of extant terrestrial species). We show that richness patterns of the other three tetrapod classes are good spatial surrogates for species richness of all reptiles combined and of snakes, but characterize diversity patterns of lizards and turtles poorly. Hotspots of total and endemic lizard richness overlap very little with those of other taxa. Moreover, existing protected areas, sites of biodiversity significance and global conservation schemes represent birds and mammals better than reptiles. We show that additional conservation actions are needed to effectively protect reptiles, particularly lizards and turtles. Adding reptile knowledge to a global complementarity conservation priority scheme identifies many locations that consequently become important. Notably, investing resources in some of the world’s arid, grassland and savannah habitats might be necessary to represent all terrestrial vertebrates efficiently.

Keywords:Conservation
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C180 Ecology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:30006
Deposited On:15 Dec 2017 15:44

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