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Human activity is altering the world’s zoogeographical regions

Bernardo-Madrid, R., Calatayud, J., Gonzalez-Suarez, M., Rosvall, M., Lucas, P.M., Rueda, M., Antonelli, A. and Revilla, E. (2019) Human activity is altering the world’s zoogeographical regions. Ecology Letters. ISSN 1461-0248

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/ele.13321

Abstract/Summary

Zoogeographical regions, or zooregions, are areas of the Earth defined by species pools that reflect ecological, historical, and evolutionary processes acting over millions of years. Consequently, researchers have assumed that zooregions are robust and unlikely to change on a human timescale. However, the increasing number of human-mediated introductions and extinctions can challenge this assumption. By delineating zooregions with a network-based algorithm, here we show that introductions and extinctions are altering the zooregions we know today. Introductions are homogenising the Eurasian and African mammal zooregions and also triggering less intuitive effects in birds and amphibians, such as dividing and redefining zooregions representing the Old and New World. Furthermore, these Old and New World amphibian zooregions are no longer detected when considering introductions plus extinctions of the most threatened species. Our findings highlight the profound and far-reaching impact of human activity and call for identifying and protecting the uniqueness of biotic assemblages.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:84049
Publisher:Wiley

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