Threatened or invasive? Species' fates identified

Jun 13, 2008

A new ecological study led by a University of Adelaide researcher should help identify species prone to extinction under environmental change, and species that are likely to become a pest.

The study, the first of its kind, was published this week online in the British Ecological Society's prestigious Journal of Ecology.

"This study provides good evidence that we can take any group of species and predict how individual species will respond to changes in the environment through events such as climate change or habitat loss," says lead author Associate Professor Corey Bradshaw, from the University of Adelaide's School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

The researchers analysed life-history and ecological traits in more than 8900 species of the legume, or the Fabaceae plant family, and found a correlation between evolved species' traits and a particular susceptibility to a species becoming threatened or invasive.

"The urgency and scale of the global biodiversity crisis means we need good generalised predictors of a species' likelihood of going extinct or becoming invasive in non-native areas," says Associate Professor Bradshaw.

"Previous studies have been limited by studying one or other of these 'fates' in isolation.

"Developing evidence-based rules of thumb for categorising poorly studied species according to their susceptibility will aid decision makers in choosing best ways to allocate finite conservation resources."

Lists of 'species to watch' - both threatened and potentially invasive - should be expanded based on ranking of 'susceptibility traits', Associate Professor Bradshaw says. Associate Professor Bradshaw is also employed by the South Australian Research and Development Institute as a senior scientist.

"Our results are particularly valuable where there is sustained habitat loss or fragmentation, especially given the predictions that climate change will simultaneously promote the expansion of invasive alien species and greater extinction rates in others," he says.

Source: University of Adelaide

Explore further: Dairy farms asked to consider breeding no-horn cows

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Report: Diversity of New England plant life threatened

7 hours ago

From picturesque coastal estuaries of Cape Cod to the soaring White Mountains, much of New England's rich native flora is fighting for survival against increasing odds, according to what conservationists call the most comprehensive ...

Recommended for you

Dairy farms asked to consider breeding no-horn cows

5 hours ago

Food manufacturers and restaurants are taking the dairy industry by the horns on an animal welfare issue that's long bothered activists but is little known to consumers: the painful removal of budding horn ...

Italian olive tree disease stumps EU

Mar 27, 2015

EU member states are divided on how to stop the spread of a disease affecting olive trees in Italy that could result in around a million being cut down, officials said Friday.

China starts relocating endangered porpoises: Xinhua

Mar 27, 2015

Chinese authorities on Friday began relocating the country's rare finless porpoise population in a bid to revive a species threatened by pollution, overfishing and heavy traffic in their Yangtze River habitat, ...

A long-standing mystery in membrane traffic solved

Mar 27, 2015

In 2013, James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman, and Thomas C. Südhof won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries of molecular machineries for vesicle trafficking, a major transport ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.