Saturday, January 27, 2018

[Ichthyology • 2018] Conserving the Evolutionary History of Sharks, Rays and Chimaeras (Chondrichthyes)


A representative taxon-complete tree with phylogenetic distribution of molecular data coverage.

Stein, Mull, Kuhn, et al. 2018.  

Abstract
In an era of accelerated biodiversity loss and limited conservation resources, systematic prioritization of species and places is essential. In terrestrial vertebrates, evolutionary distinctness has been used to identify species and locations that embody the greatest share of evolutionary history. We estimate evolutionary distinctness for a large marine vertebrate radiation on a dated taxon-complete tree for all 1,192 chondrichthyan fishes (sharks, rays and chimaeras) by augmenting a new 610-species molecular phylogeny using taxonomic constraints. Chondrichthyans are by far the most evolutionarily distinct of all major radiations of jawed vertebrates—the average species embodies 26 million years of unique evolutionary history. With this metric, we identify 21 countries with the highest richness, endemism and evolutionary distinctness of threatened species as targets for conservation prioritization. On average, threatened chondrichthyans are more evolutionarily distinct—further motivating improved conservation, fisheries management and trade regulation to avoid significant pruning of the chondrichthyan tree of life.


A representative taxon-complete tree with phylogenetic distribution of molecular data coverage. Clades are shaded according to molecular data coverage within each order, and those species with molecular data are indicated by outer ticks. Red dots highlight nodes defining orders, with the paraphyletic order Rhinopristiformes delimited by two highly supported nodes. 


R. William Stein, Christopher G. Mull, Tyler S. Kuhn, Neil C. Aschliman, Lindsay N. K. Davidson, Jeffrey B. Joy, Gordon J. Smith, Nicholas K. Dulvy and Arne O. Mooers. 2018. Global Priorities for Conserving the Evolutionary History of Sharks, Rays and Chimaeras. Nature Ecology & Evolution. 2; 288–298. DOI: 10.1038/s41559-017-0448-4

Saving sharks with trees: researchers aim to save key branches of shark and ray tree of life phy.so/436013572   @physorg_com

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