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Comparison of diversity centers for small-ranged vertebrates with the 25 original Myers biodiversity hotspots and the 34 hotspots from Hotspots Revisited. From Jenkins CN et al. PNAS 2013. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1302251110

It’s Friday, and that means that it’s time for our Friday link dump, where we highlight some recent papers that we found interesting but didn’t have the time to write an entire post about. If you think there’s a paper we missed, or have something to say about one we caught, sound off in the comments section!

Part of our mission here at BioDiverse Perspectives is to sharpen the science communication skills of our community of budding scientists. Therefore, I was intrigued to come across this post by Dr. Holly Menninger that describes the emphasis on promoting science communication: “Engage. Communicate. Reach Out.” at last week’s ESA meeting. She’s frustrated that a lot of effort surrounding this mantra already exists, and it was being ignored–she leads an awesome site devoted to performing and communicating biodiversity science with and for the public. Her entry ends with a list of progressive suggestions for ways to acknowledge the science communication that is already happening, and to help take it to the next level. Her editorial and Your Wild Life are both worth checking out. – Hillary Burgess

I’m a total sucker for colorful maps. A recent paper in PNAS, by Clinton Jenkins and others, updates efforts to identify “biodiversity hotspots” by mapping the geographic ranges of terrestrial vertebrates, highlighting those that are threatened or have small ranges, and are thus more susceptible to extinction. These maps offer a significant improvement in resolution compared to previous ones, reducing pixel size from 100 km x 100 km to 10 km x 10 km. Finer-grained information provides a more relevant tool for conservation planning because the scale is appropriate for land-use decisions – and they make real pretty pictures. I will be even more excited when we get non-vertebrate and non-terrestrial diversity included in these maps! – Emily Grason

My recommendation for this week is a preprint in Global Ecology and Biogeography, written by J. M. Halley and colleagues, titled “Extinction debt and the species–area relationship: a neutral perspective”. In this paper, the authors formulate a simple mechanistic model using neutral theory to link extinction debt with species–area relationship (SAR). One of their main conclusions is that extinction debt is one of the main reasons for failing to observe species extinctions after habitat loss. They demonstrate that a large proportion of extinctions are delayed, and that the predictions of SARs are likely to underestimate the total number of extinctions in an area, because of this delay. Very interesting theoretical work with great implications for conservation– Vinicius Bastazini

With ESA last week, and field season still in full swing, I haven’t been reading as many articles as I’d like, so instead, I’m going to focus on a few great blog posts and videos that I came across this week. A lot of people seem to think that coexistence theory is really cool. Well this great video by the folks at Minute Earth asks whether ecological theory can explain the coexistence of microbreweries (like this one) and large breweries (like this one). Turns out that their niche differences are sufficient to overcome their enormous fitness differences. Still, I’m not totally sure where intraspecific competition fits in…

I loved this post by Anne Stine about why there isn’t a simple recipe for restoring and managing prairies.

The mathematics of manipulation sounds awesome. Especially when it involves zombie ants! Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the article and this link from AmNat doesn’t seem to work, so it might be a while until I get to see how this works. –Fletcher Halliday

A last minute update from me this week. In the traditional vein of this blog in stirring the IDH pot, Douglas Sheil and David Burslem have just published a rebuttal of Jeremy Fox’s recent TREE paper dimissing the IDH. You can find a link to their argument here! -Jon Lefcheck


August 16, 2013

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  • Hillary, agreed. I can name like 6 programs off the top of my head, at our school alone, that are already, and have been, doing these types of things for several years. The vast majority of of graduate students I know is skilled at communication in a range of media, AND engages meaningfully in it. Not to meantion the … well, broad impacts of “broader impacts”; a simple website doesn’t cut it any more for NSF, and the programs that come out of that section could constitute a second entire full-time job for a grad student. And this is only the grad student community – not to mention the ecologists who work in other sectors. This post came along on EcoLog as well, so hopefully we can recognize the people who have been working hard and succeeding in this area for a while.

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