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A return-on-investment approach for prioritization of rigorous taxonomic research needed to inform responses to the biodiversity crisis

Melville, Jane; Chapple, David G.; Keogh, J. Scott; Sumner, Joanna; Amey, Andrew; Bowles, Phil; Brennan, Ian; Couper, Patrick; Donnellan, Stephen C.; Doughty, Paul; Edwards, Danielle L.; Ellis, Ryan J.; Esquerre, Damien; Fenker, Jessica; Gardner, Michael G.; Georges, Arthur; Haines, Margaret L.; Hoskin, Conrad J.; Hutchinson, Mark; Moritz, Craig; Nankivell, James; Oliver, Paul; Pavón-Vázquez, Carlos J.; Pepper, Mitzy; Rabosky, Daniel L.; Sanders, Kate; Shea, Glenn; Singhal, Sonal; Wilmer, Jessica Worthington; Tingley, Reid

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Global biodiversity loss is a profound consequence of human activity. Disturbingly, biodiversity loss is greater than realized because of the unknown number of undocumented species. Conservation fundamentally relies on taxonomic recognition of species, but only a fraction of biodiversity is described. Here, we provide a new quantitative approach for prioritizing rigorous taxonomic research for conservation. We implement this approach in a highly diverse vertebrate group—Australian lizards and...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorMelville, Jane
dc.contributor.authorChapple, David G.
dc.contributor.authorKeogh, J. Scott
dc.contributor.authorSumner, Joanna
dc.contributor.authorAmey, Andrew
dc.contributor.authorBowles, Phil
dc.contributor.authorBrennan, Ian
dc.contributor.authorCouper, Patrick
dc.contributor.authorDonnellan, Stephen C.
dc.contributor.authorDoughty, Paul
dc.contributor.authorEdwards, Danielle L.
dc.contributor.authorEllis, Ryan J.
dc.contributor.authorEsquerre, Damien
dc.contributor.authorFenker, Jessica
dc.contributor.authorGardner, Michael G.
dc.contributor.authorGeorges, Arthur
dc.contributor.authorHaines, Margaret L.
dc.contributor.authorHoskin, Conrad J.
dc.contributor.authorHutchinson, Mark
dc.contributor.authorMoritz, Craig
dc.contributor.authorNankivell, James
dc.contributor.authorOliver, Paul
dc.contributor.authorPavón-Vázquez, Carlos J.
dc.contributor.authorPepper, Mitzy
dc.contributor.authorRabosky, Daniel L.
dc.contributor.authorSanders, Kate
dc.contributor.authorShea, Glenn
dc.contributor.authorSinghal, Sonal
dc.contributor.authorWilmer, Jessica Worthington
dc.contributor.authorTingley, Reid
dc.date.accessioned2022-06-23T04:45:39Z
dc.date.available2022-06-23T04:45:39Z
dc.identifier.issn1545-7885
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/267495
dc.description.abstractGlobal biodiversity loss is a profound consequence of human activity. Disturbingly, biodiversity loss is greater than realized because of the unknown number of undocumented species. Conservation fundamentally relies on taxonomic recognition of species, but only a fraction of biodiversity is described. Here, we provide a new quantitative approach for prioritizing rigorous taxonomic research for conservation. We implement this approach in a highly diverse vertebrate group—Australian lizards and snakes. Of 870 species assessed, we identified 282 (32.4%) with taxonomic uncertainty, of which 17.6% likely comprise undescribed species of conservation concern. We identify 24 species in need of immediate taxonomic attention to facilitate conservation. Using a broadly applicable return-on-investment framework, we demonstrate the importance of prioritizing the fundamental work of identifying species before they are lost. In order to inform conservation effort, there is urgent need for rigorous taxonomic research to describe species under threat of extinction. Implementation of a new prioritization method identified 282 Australian reptile species needing taxonomic research, of which 17.6% represent undescribed species of conservation concern; this approach could be readily implemented across many faunal groups.
dc.description.sponsorshipJM undertook this work supported by an Australian Fulbright Commission scholarship; S.S. received funding support to undertake research that allowed assessment in the current study from the NSF (DBI-1519732).
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherPublic Library of Science
dc.rights© 2021 Melville et al.
dc.rights.urihttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
dc.sourcePLOS Biology
dc.titleA return-on-investment approach for prioritization of rigorous taxonomic research needed to inform responses to the biodiversity crisis
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from PLOS
local.identifier.citationvolume19
dc.date.issued2021-06-01
local.publisher.urlhttps://journals.plos.org/
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationKeogh, Scott, Division of Ecology & Evolution, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationBrennan, I., Division of Ecology & Evolution, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationEsquerre, D., Division of Ecology & Evolution, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationFenker, J., Division of Ecology & Evolution, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationMoritz, C., Division of Ecology & Evolution, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationDivision of Ecology & Evolution, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationDivision of Ecology & Evolution, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University
local.bibliographicCitation.issue6
local.bibliographicCitation.startpagee3001210-1
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpagee3001210-14
local.identifier.doi10.1371/journal.pbio.3001210
dc.date.updated2021-06-06T10:05:29Z
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access
dc.provenanceThis is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
dc.rights.licenseCreative Commons Attribution License
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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