Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First Global Bird Map Provides New Clues To Future Extinctions

Date:
June 20, 2006
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
The first global survey of bird diversity could play a key role in identifying species most vulnerable to extinction, researchers report today in the journal PLoS Biology.

The first global survey of bird diversity could play a key role in identifying species most vulnerable to extinction, researchers report today in the journal PLoS Biology.

The study reveals a direct link, previously theorised but never proven on a global scale, between the size of the geographical range that a species inhabits and regional variations in extinction risk and biodiversity. The international team hopes this new ability to plot patterns on a global scale will enable conservationists to predict and even slow or reverse future extinctions.

The new data provides the first strong evidence that species' range areas are smallest in the tropics and larger in temperate and polar regions. A smaller range area means that many different types of creature can be accommodated in the same space, explaining why regions such as the Amazon Basin contain such a rich variety of species. Conversely, temperate areas contain a smaller number of different species since large range areas mean fewer species can co-exist.

This in turn has important implications for extinction risks. The team has shown that species with a smaller range size are at a greater risk of extinction, probably due to their increased vulnerability to events that could change or destroy their habitat. A larger range size, on the other hand, means fewer species but larger populations of those that exist, making it less likely that the whole population can be wiped out by events such as tornados. Lead researcher Professor Ian Owens of Imperial College London's Division of Biology says:

"There are marked variations in biodiversity and extinction rates in different parts of the world, and why this should be has been a big area of research and debate. Theories have pretty much all rested on the core assumption that range size is the key, but until now tests have proved inconclusive due to a lack of global data. This is really a huge step forward in understanding ecology on a world-wide level and hopefully will allow real results in protecting species that we are in danger of losing."

Researchers have previously thought that range size varied on a latitudinal basis, declining from the largest in the northern hemisphere to the smallest in the southern. The team's work has revealed a much more complex situation, says Professor Owens, with different patterns emerging globally. He adds:

"We've found that the patterns seen in the well-studied northern regions can't be assumed to apply to the rest of the world - a global perspective is needed. This means that conservation can't be planned on a one-size-fits-all basis and we will have to properly understand how different micro-ecologies work in order to really make a difference. Our next task is to test whether our findings in birds are replicated in other types of organism."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Imperial College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "First Global Bird Map Provides New Clues To Future Extinctions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 June 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060620082637.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2006, June 20). First Global Bird Map Provides New Clues To Future Extinctions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060620082637.htm
Imperial College London. "First Global Bird Map Provides New Clues To Future Extinctions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060620082637.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins