, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 367-375

How Diverse is Aquatic Biodiversity Research?

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Abstract

The use of the term ‘biodiversity’ in the aquatic bibliography has expanded during the last 10 years at an almost exponential rate. A quantitative analysis of the bibliography addressing the issue of biodiversity showed that it is mainly dominated by reviews or policy-oriented articles rather than articles referring to field data or models. The scientific effort is largely biased in terms of geographic distribution of the areas studied, country of origin of the first author and the biota studied. The number of institutions using the term ‘biodiversity’ in their title also increased dramatically with time after 1992. The proportion of references using molecular or genetic approaches to study aquatic biodiversity changed little during the last decade and ranged between 4 and 10% of the total. Our current perception of the earth’s aquatic biodiversity has been formed mainly from research carried out in the developed countries of the Northern Hemisphere. Most publications refer to commercial, charismatic or large size species, as well as to taxa of well known taxonomy; this is perhaps more compatible with traditional views of conservation of K-selection species rather than with concepts linking biodiversity to ecosystem function.