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Extinction Resilience of Island Species: An Amphibian Case and a Predictive Model
AbstractExtreme overall divergence and high extinction rates are typical of insular endemics. Thus, detecting and understanding nativeness is critical on islands. Resilience to extinction is explored through a mechanistic approach focusing on midwife toads (Anura: Alytidae: Alytinae), an ancient lineage that includes continental and insular species. All alytines need urgent conservation action, including control of emerging diseases and spatially explicit reserve design aimed at ensuring ecosystem health and connectivity. The only extant insular alytine is additionally affected by an introduced continental predator. This alien species acts as a driver of the prey’s near-extinction and has not elicited any evolutionary response. Both IUCN criteria and EDGE scores show that alytines are top conservation priorities. However, there is a need for also considering phenotypic and ecological uniqueness in the assessment of conservation status and urgency. The reason is that phenotypes render ecosystems functional and insular ones uniquely so. In contrast, phylogenetic relatedness is just a constraint upon, not a motor of, evolutionary novelty. Insular species are indeed particularly susceptible, but can be similarly endangered as continental ones. This paradox may be solved by recognizing the insularity syndrome in any isolated or nearly-insular ecosystem, as a function of evolutionary and dispersal potentials. This predictive model may be useful for island biogeography, invasion biology and conservation planning.
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Altaba, C.R. Extinction Resilience of Island Species: An Amphibian Case and a Predictive Model. Diversity 2014, 6, 43-71.View more citation formats
Altaba CR. Extinction Resilience of Island Species: An Amphibian Case and a Predictive Model. Diversity. 2014; 6(1):43-71.Chicago/Turabian Style
Altaba, Cristian R. 2014. "Extinction Resilience of Island Species: An Amphibian Case and a Predictive Model." Diversity 6, no. 1: 43-71.