Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Carnivore extinction risk determined more by biology than human population density

15.07.2004


Carnivores around the world are more at risk of extinction due to their own intrinsic biological attributes than from an increasing human population with whom they share their space, say scientists in a study published this week. Researchers looking at all 280 carnivore species around the world estimated the risk of their extinction by 2030 based on a variety of different threats.



They found that while a high human population density is associated with a high extinction risk, its importance fell as biological traits were accounted for. Four traits in particular were associated with high extinction risk in carnivores: a small geographic distribution, low population density, high trophic level (position on the food chain), and long gestation period.

Furthermore, biology is by far more important in determining risk of extinction when combined with high human population density. "When species face severe external threats, their biology becomes much more crucial," says Dr Marcel Cardillo, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Biological Sciences at Imperial, and first author of the paper.


Writing in the July issue of PLoS Biology, the authors conclude that there is no room for complacency about the security of species simply because they are not currently considered globally threatened.

"There is a strong case to be made for pre-emptive conservation of species — that live in regions of rapid human population growth and have a biology predisposing them to decline," they write. They highlight in particular the threat to African viverrids, or civets and genets, even though they are currently considered relatively safe.

The authors, from Imperial College London, University of Virginia, USA, and the Institute of Zoology, suggest action now would offset greater danger later: "Arguably, maintaining the stability of particularly susceptible species before they become threatened could be more cost-effective in the long term than postdecline attempts to rescue them from the brink of extinction," they conclude.

They suggest pre-emptive action including the establishment of population monitoring programs, or listing species under national species protection laws on the basis of potential future susceptibility.

"We need to keep an eye on species before they start declining to extinction," said Dr Cardillo. "What we think is safe now may soon go through a rapid decline. We shouldn’t be too confident about the species around us now."

"This is a preliminary study, the first to examine a global level of extinction risk at the species level and at the same time consider biology’s intrinsic influence. Now we intend to extend our methods to all 4,500 terrestrial mammals, to see if there are general predictors of extinction risk and that these rules apply between orders of animals."

In the PLoS study, the researchers took all 280 of the well-characterised carnivore species and assessed human impact on each of them using the human population density within their geographical distribution. This was tested together with a range of biological traits, to determine the most important predictors of extinction risk status, within a comparative statistical model.

As a measure of extinction risk status they took each species’ position on the IUCN-World Conservation Union Red List which rates how likely a species is to become extinct, ranked in six categories from ’Least Concern’ to ’Critically Endangered’.

The research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, Conservation International’s Center for Applied Biodiversity Science and the National Science Foundation.

Tom Miller | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.imperial.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>