Chapter

Biodiversity Conservation and Phylogenetic Systematics

Volume 14 of the series Topics in Biodiversity and Conservation pp 375-383

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The Future of Phylogenetic Systematics in Conservation Biology: Linking Biodiversity and Society

  • Roseli PellensAffiliated withInstitut de Systématique, Evolution, Biodiversité, ISYEB – UMR 7205 CNRS MNHN UPMC EPHE, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Sorbonne Universités Email author 
  • , Daniel P. FaithAffiliated withAMRI, The Australian Museum
  • , Philippe GrandcolasAffiliated withInstitut de Systématique, Evolution, Biodiversité, ISYEB – UMR 7205 CNRS MNHN UPMC EPHE, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Sorbonne Universités

Abstract

Phylogenetic diversity has become invaluable for conservation biology in the last decades, reflecting its link to option values and to evolutionary potential. We argue that its use will continue to grow rapidly in the next decades because of the transformation of systematics with new molecular techniques and especially metagenomics. In a near future, phylogenetic diversity typically will be the very first result at hand, and the great challenge of biodiversity sciences will be to preserve its link with natural history and the remainder of biological knowledge through species vouchers and names. The phylogeny availability and the very wide sampling allowed will facilitate obtaining detailed biodiversity information at local scale and considering the transition across scales – a fundamental need well highlighted in international conservation guidelines, and historically so difficult to achieve. All this suggests that phylogenetic diversity might be at the center of more explicit identification of conservation priorities and options. For concluding, we explore an emerging local-to-regional-to-global challenge: the possibility of defining “planetary boundaries” for biodiversity on the basis of phylogenetic diversity.

Keywords

Species molecular characterization Metagenomics Knowledge databases Option values Planetary boundaries