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Coral.jpg

 

Conservation of reef corals of the world: why phylogeny matters


Danwei Huang

Postdoctoral scholar, University of Iowa

 

Friday 18 October 11:00
Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)


One third of the world's reef-building corals are facing heightened extinction risk from anthropogenic climate change and local impacts. Extinction probabilities aside, species are not equal. Rather, evolutionary processes render each species, or species assemblage in general, unique with a distinctive history that can be characterised for conservation. My research is aimed at quantifying these patterns based on a robust understanding of the coral tree of life. In this talk, I will show that it is critical to consider species' contribution to evolutionary diversity in conjunction with their extinction risk when setting priorities to safeguard biodiversity.

 

My analyses identify the most endangered lineages that would not be given top priority on the basis of risk alone, and further demonstrate that corals susceptible to impacts such as bleaching and disease tend to be close relatives. One of Earth's most threatened reef regions, the Coral Triangle, is also famously the most biodiverse. While competing ideas are plentiful, the dynamics underlying this biogeographic pattern remain poorly understood. Phylogenetic modelling adds a valuable dimension to these explanations, and can help us uncover the evolutionary processes that have shaped coral richness in the hotspot. Indeed, conservation of the world's reef corals requires protecting the historical sources of diversity, particularly the evolutionarily distinct species and the drivers of its geographic diversity gradient.

 

For additional details on attending this or other seminars see http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/seminars-events/index.html

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One-day meeting sponsored by the QRA, QUAVER, NERC and the NHM

Wednesday 19 September 2012, 10 am – 6 pm

Flett Theatre, Natural History Museum. 

 

Confirmed speakers:

 

Tony Stuart (Durham) – Megafaunal extinction and survival, with special reference to northern Eurasia

Adrian Lister (NHM) – Mammoth extinction, refugia, and the synergy of climate and people

John Stewart (Bournemouth) & Chris Stringer (NHM) – Range shifts and extinction of Neanderthals and other human populations in the Late Quaternary

Ian Barnes (Royal Holloway) - Applying ancient DNA to Late Quaternary extinctions

Judy Allen, Yvonne Collingham & Brian Huntley (Durham) – Modelling vegetation change and  Late Quaternary extinctions

Martin Street (Neuwied) – Implications of the Western and Central European Late Upper Palaeolithic archaeological record for Late Quaternary Extinctions

Sam Turvey (ZSL) & Susanne Fritz (Frankfurt)  – The ghosts of mammals past: global patterns of mammalian extinction during the Holocene

Jennifer Crees (Imperial): Large mammal extinctions in Holocene Europe: case closed?

Kenneth Rijsdijk (Amsterdam) & the Dodo Research Programme team - Climate induced mass mortality vs. human induced extinction: an interdisciplinary analysis of a dodo mass grave on Mauritius

Ben Collen, Lucie Bland & Martina Di Fonzo (ZSL) – Wildlife in a changing world: predicting how populations decline to extinction

Kate Jones (UCL) - Current and future extinctions: windows into the past

 

For full programme details and registration (required), please go to http://qra.org.uk/meetings/70