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New PDF release: Biodiversity Dynamics: Turnover of Populations, Taxa, and

By Michael L. McKinney, James A. Drake

How will styles of human interplay with the earth's eco-system effect on biodiversity loss over the lengthy term--not within the subsequent ten or perhaps fifty years, yet at the substantial temporal scale be handled by means of earth scientists? This quantity brings jointly facts from inhabitants biology, neighborhood ecology, comparative biology, and paleontology to reply to this query.

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Thus, a key to understanding differences in diversity among groups of related species, in Darwin’s mind, was to be found in the nature of their geographic ranges. In what follows, we pursue Darwin’s insights by examining how geographic range structure might relate to the likelihood of extinction. We argue that certain kinds of geographic range attributes increase the likelihood of extinction for any species possessing them, and that these characteristics are related to the ecology of a species. We base our argument on descriptions of the degree of fragmentation of a number of species of North American birds, and we use this to infer which kinds of species are likely to experience higher rates of extinction.

56). About 60 percent of all known living species are spatangoids (Ghiold 1988), and the two most species-rich families of all living irregular echinoids (Brissidae, Schizasteridae) are also spatangoids. Ricklefs (1995) notes that the increasing species-to-genus ratios of negative taxonomic allometries reflect “relatively high rates of speciation and more recent derivation” of superdiverse genera (see also chapter 5). Negative taxonomic allometry conforms to the previously stated predictions that the biosphere tends to accumulate extinction-resistant species through time, and these species differently accumulate in superdiverse, low-turnover taxa and subtaxa.

However, I have argued that this is untrue; in both ecological and evolutionary time, metapopulations have a variety of structures, not all of which require or imply an extinction– colonization balance. Important alternative ways to persist include having refugia, in which certain populations never go extinct (Jablonski 1991; Vermeij 1993); and nonequilibrium dynamics, in which the species or taxon shifts its geographic distribution in response to changing availability of habitat, and there is no tendency toward a steady-state distribution.

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