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Projected losses of global mammal and bird ecological strategies

Projected losses of global mammal and bird ecological strategies
Projected losses of global mammal and bird ecological strategies
Species, and their ecological strategies, are disappearing. Here we use species traits to quantify the current and projected future ecological strategy diversity for 15,484 land mammals and birds. We reveal an ecological strategy surface, structured by life-history (fast-slow) and body mass (small-large) as one major axis, and diet (invertivore-herbivore) and habitat breadth (generalist-specialist) as the other. We also find that of all possible trait combinations, only 9% are currently realized. Based on species’ extinction probabilities we predict this limited set of viable strategies will shrink further over the next 100 years, shifting the mammal and bird species pool towards small, fast-lived, highly fecund, insect-eating, generalists. In fact, our results show that this projected decline in ecological strategy diversity is much greater than if species were simply lost at random. Thus, halting the disproportionate loss of ecological strategies associated with highly threatened animals represents a key challenge for conservation.
2041-1723
Cooke, Robert, Scott Charles
25919276-1693-4663-a306-a90e2db2a91f
Eigenbrod, Felix
43efc6ae-b129-45a2-8a34-e489b5f05827
Bates, Amanda E
a96e267d-6d22-4232-b7ed-ce4e448a2a34
Cooke, Robert, Scott Charles
25919276-1693-4663-a306-a90e2db2a91f
Eigenbrod, Felix
43efc6ae-b129-45a2-8a34-e489b5f05827
Bates, Amanda E
a96e267d-6d22-4232-b7ed-ce4e448a2a34

Cooke, Robert, Scott Charles, Eigenbrod, Felix and Bates, Amanda E (2019) Projected losses of global mammal and bird ecological strategies. Nature Communications, 10, [2279]. (doi:10.1038/s41467-019-10284-z).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Species, and their ecological strategies, are disappearing. Here we use species traits to quantify the current and projected future ecological strategy diversity for 15,484 land mammals and birds. We reveal an ecological strategy surface, structured by life-history (fast-slow) and body mass (small-large) as one major axis, and diet (invertivore-herbivore) and habitat breadth (generalist-specialist) as the other. We also find that of all possible trait combinations, only 9% are currently realized. Based on species’ extinction probabilities we predict this limited set of viable strategies will shrink further over the next 100 years, shifting the mammal and bird species pool towards small, fast-lived, highly fecund, insect-eating, generalists. In fact, our results show that this projected decline in ecological strategy diversity is much greater than if species were simply lost at random. Thus, halting the disproportionate loss of ecological strategies associated with highly threatened animals represents a key challenge for conservation.

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Accepted/In Press date: 2 May 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 23 May 2019
Published date: 23 May 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 431108
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/431108
ISSN: 2041-1723
PURE UUID: a6397611-cc1f-4a2c-9bf1-d090b21d9efa
ORCID for Felix Eigenbrod: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8982-824X

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Date deposited: 23 May 2019 16:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 01:58

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