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Priority wetland invertebrates as conservation surrogates

Ormerod, Stephen James, Durance, Isabelle, Terrier, Aurelie and Swanson, Alisa M. 2010. Priority wetland invertebrates as conservation surrogates. Conservation Biology 24 (2) , pp. 573-582. 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01352.x

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Invertebrates are important functionally in most ecosystems, but seldom appraised as surrogate indicators of biological diversity. Priority species might be good candidates; thus, here we evaluated whether three freshwater invertebrates listed in the U.K. Biodiversity Action Plan indicated the richness, composition, and conservation importance of associated wetland organisms as defined respectively by their alpha diversity, beta diversity, and threat status. Sites occupied by each of the gastropods Segmentina nitida, Anisus vorticulus, and Valvata macrostoma had greater species richness of gastropods and greater conservation importance than other sites. Each also characterized species assemblages associated with significant variations between locations in alpha or beta diversity among other mollusks and aquatic macrophytes. Because of their distinct resource requirements, conserving the three priority species extended the range of wetland types under management for nature conservation by 18% and the associated gastropod niche-space by around 33%. Although nonpriority species indicated variations in richness, composition, and conservation importance among other organisms as effectively as priority species, none characterized such a wide range of high-quality wetland types. We conclude that priority invertebrates are no more effective than nonpriority species as indicators of alpha and beta diversity or conservation importance among associated organisms. Nevertheless, conserving priority species can extend the array of distinct environments that are protected for their specialized biodiversity and environmental quality. We suggest that this is a key role for priority species and conservation surrogates more generally, and, on our evidence, can best be delivered through multiple species with contrasting habitat requirements.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Uncontrolled Keywords: conservation; freshwater; gastropods; snails; surrogate species; umbrella species
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0888-8892
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 02:06

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