Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Endangered species list more bleak than originally thought

10.09.2004


The global extinction crisis ignores thousands of affiliated species that are also at risk of being wiped out, making the list of endangered species much larger and more serious than originally thought, says a study produced in part at the University of Alberta.



"What we found is that with the extinction of a bird, or a mammal or a plant, you aren’t just necessarily wiping out just one, single species," said Dr. Heather Proctor from the U of A’s Department of Biological Sciences. "We’re also allowing all these unsung dependent species to be wiped out as well."

Proctor and a research team lead by Lian Pin Koh of the National University of Singapore and Robert Dunn from the University of Tennessee, calculated the expected levels of co-extinction across a diverse selection of host and associate systems. Their research is published in the current edition of the prestigious journal, "Science."


The team first compiled a list of 12,200 plants and animals currently listed as threatened or endangered. They then looked at the diverse selection of insects, mites, fungi and other organisms that are uniquely adapted to the threatened host. The researchers found that at least 200 affiliate species have already been lost through co-extinction and that a further 6300 should be classified as "co-endangered."

"What we wanted to learn was, if the host goes extinct, how many other species will go with it," said Proctor. "It would be easy if there were always a one-to-one relationship with a host and its affiliate; however, not all parasites, for example, are restricted to a single host species. The trick was in trying to determine how many other species could act as hosts and factoring that degree of dependence into the study."

The researchers believe these processes have been largely overlooked in the past because some of the most susceptible organisms are uncharismatic parasites, but other more popular animals are also at stake.

Proctor cites a host plant vine that became locally extinct in Singapore, taking along with it a species of butterfly, Parantica aspasia, that was dependent on the vine for survival. "When we lose this vine, this beautiful butterfly dies off with it, and we’ll never see it again except in photographs at museums," said Proctor. "And when that happens, it can never be recovered."

While this new research has implications for theoreticians who calculate endangered species, the moral issue is even more significant and should suggest more efforts to maintain the original species, said Proctor. The loss of species through co-extinction represents the loss of irreplaceable evolution and co-evolutionary history, say the researchers, and should have immediate implications for local conservation and management decisions.

Phoebe Dey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>