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The future of biodiversity abbreviated

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  • 1. The Future of Biodiversity William F. Laurance Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science James Cook University Cairns, Australia
  • 2. What is Biodiversity?
  • 3. Richness of Species
  • 4. Biomes Ecosystems Communities Species Subspecies Populations – Genetic variation – Demographic variation – Behavioral variation
  • 5. Within-species variation Tiger salamanders Anemonefish calls Amphidromus snails Crimson rosellas
  • 6. Biomes Ecosystems Communities Species Subspecies Populations – Genetic variation – Demographic variation – Behavioral variation
  • 7. Ecological interactions & co-evolution
  • 8. How Much Biodiversity?
  • 9. ?
  • 10. Terrestrial vertebrates relatively well known Scheffers, Joppa, Pimm & Laurance (2012) Trends in Ecology & Evolution
  • 11. Fungi Species (millions) 10 8 6 4 2 0 Known Lower Upper
  • 12. 30 25 Species (millions) Insects 20 15 10 5 0 Known Lower Upper
  • 13. Species (millions) Deep-sea Species 10 8 6 4 2 ? 0 Known Lower Upper
  • 14. Why So Much Confusion?
  • 15. ‘Missing’ species are different!
  • 16. Hard to find! Scheffers, Joppa, Pimm & Laurance (2012) Trends in Ecology & Evolution
  • 17. Many are restricted endemics Number of known restricted-endemic frogs in Brazil
  • 18. Many are ‘cryptic’   DNA Barcoding uses 1-2 fast-evolving genes to discriminate species  Very powerful with advances in DNA sequencing speed  Astraptes fulgerator complex Morphology often misleading 60% of species now described from cryptic complexes
  • 19. Where is the Biodiversity?
  • 20. Global diversity of higher plants Highest diversity: -wet tropics -Mediterranean regions
  • 21. Global centers of species endemism Highest endemism: -isolated & smaller -distinctive
  • 22. What is the Future of Biodiversity?
  • 23. Critical factor: Fate of the Biodiversity Hotspots >1500 endemic plants, >70% habitat loss Myers et al. (2000) Nature; Mittermeier et al. (2004) Hotspots Revisited.
  • 24. Growing Pressures on Hotspots Forest loss is fastest in hotspot nations with higher population growth and lower human development (Dja & Bawa 2006) Cincotta et al. (2000) Nature
  • 25. Another critical factor: Fate of protected areas Eastern Bolivia
  • 26. Laurance et al. (2012) Nature
  • 27. Parks are not islands Rabi Reserve, Gabon Bukit Palong National Park, Malaysia
  • 28. How much biodiversity will we lose
  • 29. Public forum Debating the Tropical Extinction Crisis National Museum of Natural History Washington, D.C. 13 February 2009
  • 30. Many ‘missing species’ will be imperiled  Concentrated in hotspots and tropical regions  Many are restricted endemics
  • 31. Functional extinctions Apex predators Big animals Old-growth trees
  • 32. Ecological distortions & biotic homogenization Opportunists Disturbance-lovers Invaders
  • 33. Great loss of genetic variation
  • 34. Biodiversity is Invaluable  TEEB Pavan Sukhdev & colleagues Myriad natural products  Germ plasm for food crops  Pharmaceuticals  Ecosystem resilience  Pollination services  Carbon storage  Tourism
  • 35. It’s not just about protecting nature -- it’s about ensuring we have a livable world
  • 36. Thank you