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Type: Journal article
Title: The sixth mass coextinction: are most endangered species parasites and mutualists?
Author: Dunn, R.
Harris, N.
Colwell, R.
Koh, L.
Sodhi, N.
Citation: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences, 2009; 276(1670):3037-3045
Publisher: Royal Soc London
Issue Date: 2009
ISSN: 0962-8452
Statement of
Robert R. Dunn, Nyeema C. Harris, Robert K. Colwell, Lian Pin Koh and Navjot S. Sodhi
Abstract: The effects of species declines and extinction on biotic interactions remain poorly understood. The loss of a species is expected to result in the loss of other species that depend on it (coextinction), leading to cascading effects across trophic levels. Such effects are likely to be most severe in mutualistic and parasitic interactions. Indeed, models suggest that coextinction may be the most common form of biodiversity loss. Paradoxically, few historical or contemporary coextinction events have actually been recorded. We review the current knowledge of coextinction by: (i) considering plausible explanations for the discrepancy between predicted and observed coextinction rates; (ii) exploring the potential consequences of coextinctions; (iii) discussing the interactions and synergies between coextinction and other drivers of species loss, particularly climate change; and (iv) suggesting the way forward for understanding the phenomenon of coextinction, which may well be the most insidious threat to global biodiversity.
Keywords: mass extinction; coextinction; chains of extinction; secondary extinctions; climate change; emerging diseases
Rights: © 2009 The Royal Society
RMID: 0020137179
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.0413
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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