Higher extinction rates of dasyurids on Australo-Papuan continental shelf islands and the zoogeography of New Guinea mammals

Lavery, Tyrone H., Fisher, Diana O., Flannery, Tim F. and Leung, Luke K-P (2013) Higher extinction rates of dasyurids on Australo-Papuan continental shelf islands and the zoogeography of New Guinea mammals. Journal of Biogeography, 40 4: 747-758. doi:10.1111/jbi.12072

Author Lavery, Tyrone H.
Fisher, Diana O.
Flannery, Tim F.
Leung, Luke K-P
Title Higher extinction rates of dasyurids on Australo-Papuan continental shelf islands and the zoogeography of New Guinea mammals
Journal name Journal of Biogeography   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0305-0270
Publication date 2013-04-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/jbi.12072
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 40
Issue 4
Start page 747
End page 758
Total pages 12
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Aim: Contemporary patterns of mammalian species richness on islands are influenced by well-understood biogeographical variables. Whether or not mammalian orders differ in their rates of persistence, however, remains uncertain. Our aims were to assess the persistence of four mammalian orders on Australo-Papuan continental shelf islands in relation to the faunas within adjacent zoogeographic provinces. We also aimed to define New Guinea's mammalian zoogeographic provinces quantitatively.

Location: New Guinea and 274 Australo-Papuan continental shelf islands.

Methods: We compiled 4194 distributional records for 264 of New Guinea's native mammals. Records were allocated to existing mapped bioregions. We used cluster analysis to allocate bioregions to zoogeographic provinces. Using generalized linear models, we determined the persistence of insular mammals as proportions of the species present within adjacent zoogeographic provinces. Persistence rates were calculated for four major orders (Dasyuromorphia, Diprotodontia, Peramelemorphia and Rodentia).

Results: The classification dendrogram grouped New Guinea's bioregions into three areas corresponding to the Oceanic, Tumbanan and Austral provinces. In all but two zoogeographic provinces, the proportions of Dasyuromorphia persisting on islands were lower than other orders. Overall, species of Dasyuromorphia were much less likely to persist on Australo-Papuan continental shelf islands.

Main conclusions: Unlike the other orders considered, dasyuromorphs are carnivorous and insectivorous and require large home ranges relative to body size. We suggest that the resulting low population densities might expose species in this order to higher rates of extinction on islands. Translocations of threatened mammals to predator-free islands are common, but our results suggest that insurance populations of threatened dasyurids on small islands may be less secure than translocations of other taxa. Our results support calls for insurance populations of the rapidly declining dasyurid, the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), to be established on mainland Australia rather than on islands alone.
Keyword Australia
Conservation biogeography
New Guinea
Sarcophilus harrisii
Tasmanian devil
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Official 2014 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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