Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Merced

UC Merced Previously Published Works bannerUC Merced

A return-on-investment approach for prioritization of rigorous taxonomic research needed to inform responses to the biodiversity crisis.

  • Author(s): Melville, Jane;
  • Chapple, David G;
  • Keogh, J Scott;
  • Sumner, Joanna;
  • Amey, Andrew;
  • Bowles, Phil;
  • Brennan, Ian G;
  • Couper, Patrick;
  • Donnellan, Stephen C;
  • Doughty, Paul;
  • Edwards, Danielle L;
  • Ellis, Ryan J;
  • Esquerré, Damien;
  • Fenker, Jéssica;
  • Gardner, Michael G;
  • Georges, Arthur;
  • Haines, Margaret L;
  • Hoskin, Conrad J;
  • Hutchinson, Mark;
  • Moritz, Craig;
  • Nankivell, James;
  • Oliver, Paul;
  • Pavón-Vázquez, Carlos J;
  • Pepper, Mitzy;
  • Rabosky, Daniel L;
  • Sanders, Kate;
  • Shea, Glenn;
  • Singhal, Sonal;
  • Worthington Wilmer, Jessica;
  • Tingley, Reid
  • et al.
Abstract

Global biodiversity loss is a profound consequence of human activity. Disturbingly, biodiversity loss is greater than realized because of the unknown number of undocumented species. Conservation fundamentally relies on taxonomic recognition of species, but only a fraction of biodiversity is described. Here, we provide a new quantitative approach for prioritizing rigorous taxonomic research for conservation. We implement this approach in a highly diverse vertebrate group-Australian lizards and snakes. Of 870 species assessed, we identified 282 (32.4%) with taxonomic uncertainty, of which 17.6% likely comprise undescribed species of conservation concern. We identify 24 species in need of immediate taxonomic attention to facilitate conservation. Using a broadly applicable return-on-investment framework, we demonstrate the importance of prioritizing the fundamental work of identifying species before they are lost.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View