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Are rare species rare or just overlooked? Assessing the distribution of the freshwater bryozoan, Lophopus crystallinus

Hill, S. L. L., Sayer, C. D., Hammond, P. M., Rimmer, V. K., Davidson, T. A., Hoare, D. J., Burgess, A. and Okamura, B. (2007) Are rare species rare or just overlooked? Assessing the distribution of the freshwater bryozoan, Lophopus crystallinus. Biological Conservation, 135 (2). pp. 223-234. ISSN 0006-3207

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2006.10.023


Given the widespread degradation of freshwater habitats, assessing the distributions of species that may be negatively or positively impacted should be of general interest. However, determining distributions of freshwater organisms that are small and patchily distributed and attached or sedentary is particularly problematic, as it is time consuming, inaccurate, and nearly impossible when the focal species is rare. Here we illustrate the use of indirect sampling approaches to survey the distribution of the rare freshwater bryozoan Lophopus crystallinus, a priority species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan [Anonymous, 1999. UK Biodiversity Group Tranche 2 Action Plans. Invertebrates, Vol. 4. Environment Agency, Peterborough, pp. 437-439.1. By utilising two complementary methods for sampling bryozoan propagules (statoblasts), namely the collection of debris samples and sediment cores, we achieved an efficient and integrative sampling of habitats across spatial and temporal scales. Analysis of 154 debris samples, encompassing 62 rivers and lakes, identified at least 16 new populations while analysis of 26 sediment cores provided evidence of current or very recent (in the last 10-20 years) occurrence in a further six localities. These results represent a more than 10-fold increase in the current recorded distribution of the species in the UK. Logistic regression analysis provided evidence that L. crystallinus is generally found in lowland sites and is tolerant of eutrophication. Our study exemplifies how integrative and indirect sampling approaches can greatly aid in assessing the conservation status of rare aquatic species and reveals, in this case, that the focal species is less rare than previously appreciated. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
ID Code:10014
Uncontrolled Keywords:conservation, statoblast, debris sampling, sediment cores, SHALLOW LAKE, ECOLOGY, CONSERVATION, ECTOPROCTA, MICHIGAN, BIOLOGY, SAMPLES, POLLEN, CRISIS

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