Four barriers to the global understanding of biodiversity conservation: Wealth, language, geographical location and security
Global biodiversity conservation is seriously challenged by gaps and heterogeneity in the geographical coverage of existing information. Nevertheless, the key barriers to the collection and compilation of biodiversity information at a global scale have yet to be identified. We show that wealth, language, geographical location and security each play an important role in explaining spatial variations in data availability in four different types of biodiversity databases. The number of records per square kilometre is high in countries with high per capita gross domestic product (GDP), high proportion of English speakers and high security levels, and those located close to the country hosting the database; but these are not necessarily countries with high biodiversity. These factors are considered to affect data availability by impeding either the activities of scientific research or active international communications. Our results demonstrate that efforts to solve environmental problems at a global scale will gain significantly by focusing scientific education, communication, research and collaboration in low-GDP countries with fewer English speakers and located far from Western countries that host the global databases; countries that have experienced conflict may also benefit. Findings of this study may be broadly applicable to other fields that require the compilation of scientific knowledge at a global level.
Available from: Aibin Zhan
- "Biodiversity conservation and management are seriously challenged by gaps in taxonomic coverage of existing biodiversity information, or heterogeneity in geographical and/or habitat coverage . Thus far, less than 2% biodiversity on the Earth has been described (i.e. "
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ABSTRACT: Large-scale high-throughput sequencing techniques are rapidly becoming popular methods to profile complex communities and have generated deep insights into community biodiversity. However, several technical problems, especially sequencing artifacts such as nucleotide calling errors, could artificially inflate biodiversity estimates. Sequence filtering for artifact removal is a conventional method for deleting error-prone sequences from high-throughput sequencing data. As rare species represented by low-abundance sequences in datasets may be sensitive to artifact removal process, the influence of artifact removal on rare species recovery has not been well evaluated in natural complex communities. Here we employed both internal (reliable operational taxonomic units selected from communities themselves) and external (indicator species spiked into communities) references to evaluate the influence of artifact removal on rare species recovery using 454 pyrosequencing of complex plankton communities collected from both freshwater and marine habitats. Multiple analyses revealed three clear patterns: 1) rare species were eliminated during sequence filtering process at all tested filtering stringencies, 2) more rare taxa were eliminated as filtering stringencies increased, and 3) elimination of rare species intensified as biomass of a species in a community was reduced. Our results suggest that cautions be applied when processing high-throughput sequencing data, especially for rare taxa detection for conservation of species at risk and for rapid response programs targeting non-indigenous species. Establishment of both internal and external references proposed here provides a practical strategy to evaluate artifact removal process.
PLoS ONE 05/2014; 9(5):e96928. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0096928 · 3.23 Impact Factor
Available from: Gail Schofield
- ", 2002 ) . In addition , wealthy countries have been shown to exhibit a greater interest ( and will - ingness ) to invest in biodiversity conservation ( Amano and Suther - land , 2013 ; Jacobsen and Hanley , 2009 ) , whereas many developing countries still rely on sea turtles for cultural or economic purposes , such as consuming the meat and eggs , and selling them for income . ( Campbell , 1998 ; Wilson and Tisdell , 2001 ) . "
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ABSTRACT: Although the number and extent of protected areas (PAs) are continuously increasing, their coverage of global biodiversity, as well as criteria and targets that underline their selection, warrants scrutiny. As a case study, we use a global dataset of sea turtle nesting sites (n = 2991) to determine the extent to which the existing global PA network encompasses nesting habitats (beaches) that are vital for the persistence of the seven sea turtle species. The majority of nesting sites (87%) are in the tropics, and are mainly hosted by developing countries. Developing countries contain 82% nesting sites, which provide lower protection coverage compared to developed countries. PAs encompass 25% of all nesting sites, of which 78% are in marine PAs. At present, most nesting sites in PAs with IUCN ratification receive high protection. We identified the countries that provide the highest and lowest nesting site protection coverage, and detected gaps in species-level protection effort within countries. No clear trend in protection coverage was found in relation to gross domestic product, the Global Peace Index or sea turtle regional management units; however, countries in crisis (civil unrest, war or natural catastrophes) provided slightly higher protection coverage of all countries. We conclude that global sea turtle resilience against threats spanning temperate to tropical regions require representative PA coverage at the species level within countries. This work is anticipated to function as a first step towards identifying specific countries or regions that should receive higher conservation interest by national and international bodies.
Biological Conservation 05/2014; 173:17–23. DOI:10.1016/j.biocon.2014.03.005 · 3.76 Impact Factor
Available from: Wendy Foden
- "There are clear limitations to our understanding of the way climate change is likely to impact natural populations , even in well-studied populations and systems. In the tropics, we know little of the potential impacts of climate change on populations, supporting other research demonstrating that tropical species are lesswell studied and monitored (Amano & Sutherland, 2013 "
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ABSTRACT: Shifts in species' distribution and abundance in response to climate change have been well documented, but the underpinning processes are still poorly understood. We present the results of a systematic literature review and meta-analysis investigating the frequency and importance of different mechanisms by which climate has impacted natural populations. Most studies were from temperate latitudes of North America and Europe; almost half investigated bird populations. We found significantly greater support for indirect, biotic mechanisms than direct, abiotic mechanisms as mediators of the impact of climate on populations. In addition, biotic effects tended to have greater support than abiotic factors in studies of species from higher trophic levels. For primary consumers, the impact of climate was equally mediated by biotic and abiotic mechanisms, whereas for higher level consumers the mechanisms were most frequently biotic, such as predation or food availability. Biotic mechanisms were more frequently supported in studies that reported a directional trend in climate than in studies with no such climatic change, although sample sizes for this comparison were small. We call for more mechanistic studies of climate change impacts on populations, particularly in tropical systems.
Global Change Biology 03/2014; 20(7). DOI:10.1111/gcb.12559 · 8.04 Impact Factor
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