A Global Trend towards the Loss of Evolutionarily Unique Species in Mangrove Ecosystems

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Abstract

The mangrove biome stands out as a distinct forest type at the interface between terrestrial, estuarine, and near-shore marine ecosystems. However, mangrove species are increasingly threatened and experiencing range contraction across the globe that requires urgent conservation action. Here, we assess the spatial distribution of mangrove species richness and evolutionary diversity, and evaluate potential predictors of global declines and risk of extinction. We found that human pressure, measured as the number of different uses associated with mangroves, correlated strongly, but negatively, with extinction probability, whereas species ages were the best predictor of global decline, explaining 15% of variation in extinction risk. Although the majority of mangrove species are categorised by the IUCN as Least Concern, our finding that the more threatened species also tend to be those that are more evolutionarily unique is of concern because their extinction would result in a greater loss of phylogenetic diversity. Finally, we identified biogeographic r egions that are relatively species-poor but rich in evolutionary history, and suggest these regions deserve greater conservation priority. Our study provides phylogenetic information that is important for developing a unified management plan for mangrove ecosystems worldwide. © 2013 Daru et al.

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Daru, B. H., Yessoufou, K., Mankga, L. T., & Davies, T. J. (2013). A Global Trend towards the Loss of Evolutionarily Unique Species in Mangrove Ecosystems. PLoS ONE, 8(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0066686

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