Biodiversity Conservation and Phylogenetic Systematics

Volume 14 of the series Topics in Biodiversity and Conservation pp 219-235

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Support in Area Prioritization Using Phylogenetic Information

  • Daniel Rafael Miranda-EsquivelAffiliated withEscuela de Biología, Universidad Industrial de Santander Email author 


Human activities have accelerated the level of global biodiversity loss. As we cannot preserve all species and areas, we must prioritize what to protect. Therefore, one of the most urgent goals and crucial tasks in conservation biology is to prioritize areas. We could start by calculating ecological measures as richness or endemicity, but they do not reflect the evolutionary diversity and distinctness of the species in a given area. The conservation of biodiversity must be linked to the understanding of the history of the taxa and the areas, and phylogeny give us the core for such understanding. In such phylogenetic context, evolutionary distinctiveness (ED) is a feasible way for defining a ranking of areas that takes into account the evolutionary history of each taxon that inhabits the area. As our knowledge of the distribution or the phylogeny might be incomplete, I introduce Jack-knife re-sampling in evolutionary distinctiveness prioritization analysis, as a way to evaluate the support of the ranking of the areas to modifications in the data used. In this way, some questions could be evaluated quantitatively as we could measure the confidence of the results, since deleting at random part of the information (phylogenies and/or distributions), would help to quantify the persistence of a given area in the ranking.


Phylogenetic conservation Taxonomic distinctiveness Jack-knife