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Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 381–394 | Cite as

Pattern of evolutionarily distinct species among four classes of animals and their conservation status: a comparison using evolutionary distinctiveness scores

  • Federico MorelliEmail author
  • Anders Pape Møller
Original Paper

Abstract

The percentage of species with high evolutionary distinctiveness (ED) scores in four different classes was related to conservation concern. We considered the number of species belonging to the upper level of the distribution of ED scores, and the overall distribution of ED scores in each category of concern assigned by IUCN. Generalized linear and mixed models were used to explore the relationship between variables, separately for each animal class. Overall values of ED score were higher for Squamates, Rhynchocephalia and amphibians than mammals and birds. However, the frequency distribution of ED scores was similar among classes, with a leptokurtotic distribution. Amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals showed a markedly right skewed distribution, with a similar proportion of species in each equal category of the distribution. In all classes, the number of species with the highest ED score (positioned in the upper 20% of the frequency distribution of the variable) was very small ranging between 0.01 and 0.05%. ED score was slightly but negatively correlated with IUCN conservation status in amphibians, but unrelated in the other three classes. The bird population trend was unrelated to ED score of bird species in both USA and Europe. Also, the population’s trend for selected mammal species was unrelated to the ED score of those species. Our results provide more evidence that distribution shape of ED of animal forms is uniform among classes, with only very few species characterized by highest ED scores in each group. Surprisingly, ED score and IUCN conservation status were unrelated in the four classes examined. Finally, our study underlines that declining animals are not necessarily the most evolutionarily distinct species.

Keywords

Conservation Evolutionary distinctiveness IUCN status Species uniqueness Taxa 

Supplementary material

10531_2017_1441_MOESM1_ESM.csv (2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (CSV 2035 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Geoinformatics and Spatial Planning, Faculty of Environmental SciencesCzech University of Life Sciences PraguePrague 6Czech Republic
  2. 2.Faculty of Biological SciencesUniversity of Zielona GóraZielona GoraPoland
  3. 3.Ecologie Systématique Evolution, Université Paris-Sud, CNRS, AgroParisTechUniversité Paris-SaclayOrsay CedexFrance

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