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Phylogenies in EcologyA Guide to Concepts and Methods$
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Marc W. Cadotte and T. Jonathan Davies

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157689

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157689.001.0001

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Using Phylogenetic Information to Make Better Conservation Decisions

Using Phylogenetic Information to Make Better Conservation Decisions

(p.196) Chapter 9 Using Phylogenetic Information to Make Better Conservation Decisions
Phylogenies in Ecology

Marc W. Cadotte

T. Jonathan Davies

Princeton University Press

This chapter explains how phylogenetic information can be used to make better conservation decisions. Evidence shows that human-caused climate change is likely to be the dominant cause of extinction in the near future. Phylogeny can provide a powerful tool for aiding decision making in species conservation. The chapter first considers the importance of preserving evolutionary history by focusing on the tree of life, the phylogenetic tree connecting all living organisms that provides a powerful metaphor for conservation biology. It then examines phylogenetically based metrics for quantifying evolutionary history, including phylogenetic diversity for evaluating sites and evolutionary distinctiveness for comparing species. It also discusses the integration of evolutionary history with extinction probabilities for conservation prioritization using relative extinction risk to weight evolutionary distinctiveness, or EDGE (evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered). Finally, it describes how to prioritize biodiversity hotspots of evolutionary distinctiveness and how to apply metrics to conservation prioritization.

Keywords:   climate change, extinction, phylogeny, evolutionary history, tree of life, conservation biology, phylogenetic diversity, evolutionary distinctiveness, biodiversity hotspots, species conservation

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