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Erosion of global functional diversity across the tree of life

Carmona, C. P., Tamme, R., Partel, M., de Bello, F., Brosse, S., Capdevila, P., González-M, R., Gonzalez-Suarez, M. ORCID:, Salguero-Gómez, R., Vásquez-Valderrama, M. and Toussaint, A. (2021) Erosion of global functional diversity across the tree of life. Science Advances, 7 (13). eabf2675. ISSN 2375-2548

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abf2675


Although one-quarter of plant and vertebrate species are threatened with extinction, little is known about the potential effect of extinctions on the global diversity of ecological strategies. Using trait and phylogenetic information for more than 75,000 species of vascular plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and freshwater fish, we characterized the global functional spectra of each of these groups. Mapping extinction risk within these spectra showed that larger species with slower pace of life are universally threatened. Simulated extinction scenarios exposed extensive internal reorganizations in the global functional spectra, which were larger than expected by chance for all groups, and particularly severe for mammals and amphibians. Considering the disproportionate importance of the largest species for ecological processes, our results emphasize the importance of actions to prevent the extinction of the megabiota.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:97384
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science


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