Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 909–926 | Cite as

Priority setting by sites and by species using rarity, richness and phylogenetic diversity: the case of neotropical glassfrogs (Anura: Centrolenidae)

Original Paper


The identification of priority areas and species for conservation is an urgent endeavor in view of environmental changes threatening biological diversity. New macroecological tools that take advantage of the rapid accumulation of distribution and phylogenetic data have been developed recently to tackle that challenge. Here we use the novel concept of the diversity and dispersion fields, complemented with phylogenetic information, to identify priorities for the conservation of neotropical glass frogs (Centrolenidae), both from the perspective of sites and of species. Through the novel approach used here, the priority level of species and sites could be determined by combinations of different traits based both on diversity (species richness and phylogenetic diversity) and distribution (geographic rarity and phylogenetic endemism). Patterns of diversity and distribution for Centrolenidae, such as extreme level of restrictedness, high levels of rarity and high segregation among species, were readily revealed by the use of range-diversity plots. Results were in some cases consistent with studies based on traditional analyses, but the inclusion of phylogenetic information added a historical-evolutionary perspective that further enhanced the analyses. We identified priority species (such as Rulyrana susatamai and Nymphargus griffithsi) and sites (such as the Guiana Shield) that harbor the evolutionary history of the group but that had been overlooked in prior studies. We suggest that for priority setting and gap analysis, phylogenetic information should not be treated as a full substitute for traditional measures of diversity but as a complementary tool.


Diversity field Neotropics Phylogenetic diversity Protected areas Rarity Glassfrogs 


La identificación de áreas y especies prioritarias para la conservación es una labor urgente en vista de los cambios ambientales que amenazan la diversidad biológica. Para enfrentar dichos retos, recientemente han sido desarrolladas nuevas herramientas macroecológicas que toman ventaja de la rápida acumulación de filogenias y de datos de distribución. En este trabajo usamos el nuevo concepto de campos de diversidad y dispersión, complementados con información filogenética para identificar las prioridades de conservación de las ranas de cristal (Centrolenidae) desde la perspectiva de sitios y de especies. Por medio de esta nueva aproximación, las especies y sitios prioritarios fueron determinados por la combinación de diferentes características, basadas tanto en la diversidad (riqueza de especies y diversidad filogenética) como en la distribución (rareza geográfica y endemismo filogenético). Los patrones de diversidad y distribución para Centrolenidae, tales como su alto nivel de restricción, altos niveles de rareza y alta segregación entre especies fueron rápidamente revelados al usar los gráficos de diversidad y área de distribución. En algunos casos, los resultados fueron consistentes con los estudios basados en análisis tradicionales, pero la inclusión de información filogenética vinculó una perspectiva histórico-evolutiva que fortaleció estos análisis. Además, identificamos especies prioritarias (como Rulyrana susatamai y Nymphargus griffithsi) y sitios prioritarios (como el escudo guayanés) que albergan la historia evolutiva del grupo pero que han sido subestimados en estudios pasados. Sugerimos entonces, que para la determinación de prioridades y vacíos, la información filogenética no debe ser tratada como un substituto absoluto de las medidas tradicionales de diversidad sino como una herramienta complementaria.

Palabras Clave

Campo de diversidad Neotrópico Diversidad filogenética Áreas protegidas Rareza Ranas de cristal 



A. M. Mendoza was supported by a scholarship from Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACyT, Mexico), through Posgrado de Ciencias Biológicas of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). We thank Alexander Pyron for kindly providing his phylogenetic tree of the Centrolenidae. Ella Vázquez-Domínguez, Enrique Martínez-Meyer, Luis Erasmo Letelier, Victor Arroyo, Guillermo Ibarra and several anonymous reviewers provided useful comments to previous versions of the manuscript. Samanea Foundation support in the construction of conceptual framework of this research.

Supplementary material

10531_2014_642_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 20 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorio de Macroecología, Centro de Investigaciones en EcosistemasUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMoreliaMexico

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