How humans drive speciation as well as extinction

Bull, J. W. and Maron, M. (2016) How humans drive speciation as well as extinction. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 283 1833: . doi:10.1098/rspb.2016.0600


Author Bull, J. W.
Maron, M.
Title How humans drive speciation as well as extinction
Journal name Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1471-2954
0962-8452
Publication date 2016-06-29
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1098/rspb.2016.0600
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 283
Issue 1833
Total pages 10
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher The Royal Society Publishing
Language eng
Subject 1300 Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
2400 Immunology and Microbiology
2300 Environmental Science
1100 Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Abstract A central topic for conservation science is evaluating how human activities influence global species diversity. Humanity exacerbates extinction rates. But by what mechanisms does humanity drive the emergence of new species? We review human-mediated speciation, compare speciation and known extinctions, and discuss the challenges of using net species diversity as a conservation objective. Humans drive rapid evolution through relocation, domestication, hunting and novel ecosystem creation—and emerging technologies could eventually provide additional mechanisms. The number of species relocated, domesticated and hunted during the Holocene is of comparable magnitude to the number of observed extinctions. While instances of human-mediated speciation are known, the overall effect these mechanisms have upon speciation rates has not yet been quantified. We also explore the importance of anthropogenic influence upon divergence in microorganisms. Even if human activities resulted in no net loss of species diversity by balancing speciation and extinction rates, this would probably be deemed unacceptable. We discuss why, based upon ‘no net loss’ conservation literature— considering phylogenetic diversity and other metrics, risk aversion, taboo trade-offs and spatial heterogeneity. We conclude that evaluating speciation alongside extinction could result in more nuanced understanding of biosphere trends, clarifying what it is we actually value about biodiversity.
Formatted abstract
A central topic for conservation science is evaluating how human activities influence global species diversity. Humanity exacerbates extinction rates. But by what mechanisms does humanity drive the emergence of new species? We review human-mediated speciation, compare speciation and known extinctions, and discuss the challenges of using net species diversity as a conservation objective. Humans drive rapid evolution through relocation, domestication, hunting and novel ecosystem creation—and emerging technologies could eventually provide additional mechanisms. The number of species relocated, domesticated and hunted during the Holocene is of comparable magnitude to the number of observed extinctions. While instances of human-mediated speciation are known, the overall effect these mechanisms have upon speciation rates has not yet been quantified. We also explore the importance of anthropogenic influence upon divergence in microorganisms. Even if human activities resulted in no net loss of species diversity by balancing speciation and extinction rates, this would probably be deemed unacceptable. We discuss why, based upon ‘no net loss’ conservation literature— considering phylogenetic diversity and other metrics, risk aversion, taboo trade-offs and spatial heterogeneity. We conclude that evaluating speciation alongside extinction could result in more nuanced understanding of biosphere trends, clarifying what it is we actually value about biodiversity.
Keyword Conservation
Diversification
Holocene
No net loss
Species
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
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