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Type: Journal article
Title: Reconstructing past species assemblages reveals the changing patterns and drivers of extinction through time
Author: Bromham, L.
Lanfear, R.
Cassey, P.
Gibb, G.
Cardillo, M.
Citation: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences, 2012; 279(1744):4024-4032
Publisher: Royal Soc London
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 0962-8452
Statement of
Lindell Bromham, Robert Lanfear, Phillip Cassey, Gillian Gibb and Marcel Cardillo
Abstract: Predicting future species extinctions from patterns of past extinctions or current threat status relies on the assumption that the taxonomic and biological selectivity of extinction is consistent through time. If the driving forces of extinction change through time, this assumption may be unrealistic. Testing the consistency of extinction patterns between the past and the present has been difficult, because the phylogenetically explicit methods used to model present-day extinction risk typically cannot be applied to the data from the fossil record. However, the detailed historical and fossil records of the New Zealand avifauna provide a unique opportunity to reconstruct a complete, large faunal assemblage for different periods in the past. Using the first complete phylogeny of all known native New Zealand bird species, both extant and extinct, we show how the taxonomic and phylogenetic selectivity of extinction, and biological correlates of extinction, change from the pre-human period through Polynesian and European occupation, to the present. These changes can be explained both by changes in primary threatening processes, and by the operation of extinction filter effects. The variable patterns of extinction through time may confound attempts to identify risk factors that apply across time periods, and to infer future species declines from past extinction patterns and current threat status.
Keywords: Extinction filter; extinction risk; macroecology; comparative method; New Zealand; birds
Rights: © 2012 The Royal Society
RMID: 0020121809
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.1437
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications
Environment Institute Leaders publications

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