The comparative method in conservation biology

Fisher, Diana O. and Owens, Ian P. F. (2004) The comparative method in conservation biology. Trends In Ecology & Evolution, 19 7: 391-398. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2004.05.004


Author Fisher, Diana O.
Owens, Ian P. F.
Title The comparative method in conservation biology
Journal name Trends In Ecology & Evolution   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0169-5347
Publication date 2004-07-01
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1016/j.tree.2004.05.004
Volume 19
Issue 7
Start page 391
End page 398
Total pages 8
Place of publication London
Publisher Elsevier Science London
Language eng
Subject 270501 Animal Systematics, Taxonomy and Phylogeny
270503 Animal Anatomy and Histology
Abstract The phylogenetic comparative approach is a statistical method for analyzing correlations between traits across species. Whilst it has revolutionized evolutionary biology, can it work for conservation biology? Although it is correlative, advocates of the comparative method hope that it will reveal general mechanisms in conservation, provide shortcuts for prioritizing conservation research, and enable us to predict which species will experience (or create) problems in the future. Here, we ask whether these stated management goals are being achieved. We conclude that comparative methods are stimulating research into the ecological mechanisms underlying conservation, and are providing information for preemptive screening of problem species. But comparative analyses of extinction risk to date have tended to be too broad in scope to provide shortcuts to conserving particular endangered species. Correlates of vulnerability to conservation problems are often taxon, region and threat specific, so models must be narrowly focused to be of maximum practical use.
Keyword Ecology
Evolutionary Biology
Genetics & Heredity
Phylogenetically Independent Contrasts
Extinction Risk
Life-history
Sexual Selection
Australian Marsupials
Establishment Success
Mammal Extinctions
Ecological Basis
Global Avifauna
Land Birds
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown
Additional Notes This document is a journal review.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: School of Biological Sciences Publications
Ecology Centre Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 168 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 169 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sat, 26 Jan 2008, 02:17:40 EST