Diversity 2014, 6(1), 43-71; doi:10.3390/d6010043
Article

Extinction Resilience of Island Species: An Amphibian Case and a Predictive Model

1,2
Received: 21 November 2013; in revised form: 4 December 2013 / Accepted: 4 December 2013 / Published: 8 January 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biogeography and Biodiversity Conservation)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1228 KB, uploaded 8 January 2014]
Abstract: Extreme 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.
Keywords: Alytes; biological invasions; biogeography; conservation priorities; dispersal; exotic invasive species; experimental design; extinction; insularity syndrome; islands
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Export to BibTeX |
EndNote


MDPI and ACS Style

Altaba, C.R. Extinction Resilience of Island Species: An Amphibian Case and a Predictive Model. Diversity 2014, 6, 43-71.

AMA Style

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.

Diversity EISSN 1424-2818 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert