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Title

Vast underestimation of Madagascar's biodiversity evidenced by an integrative amphibian inventory

AuthorsVieites, David R. ; Wollenberg, Katharina C.; Andreone, Franco; Köhler, Jörn; Glaw, Frank; Vences, Miguel
KeywordsBiodiversity estimates
New candidate species
Phylogeny
DNA barcoding
Issue Date4-May-2009
PublisherNational Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
CitationProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA (PNAS), doi: 10.1073/pnas.0810821106 (2009)
AbstractAmphibians are in decline worldwide. However, their patterns of diversity, especially in the tropics, are not well understood, mainly because of incomplete information on taxonomy and distribution. We assess morphological, bioacoustic, and genetic variation of Madagascar's amphibians, one of the first near-complete taxon samplings from a biodiversity hotspot. Based on DNA sequences of 2,850 specimens sampled from over 170 localities, our analyses reveal an extreme proportion of amphibian diversity, projecting an almost 2-fold increase in species numbers from the currently described 244 species to a minimum of 373 and up to 465. This diversity is widespread geographically and across most major phylogenetic lineages except in a few previously well-studied genera, and is not restricted to morphologically cryptic clades. We classify the genealogical lineages in confirmed and unconfirmed candidate species or deeply divergent conspecific lineages based on concordance of genetic divergences with other characters. This integrative approach may be widely applicable to improve estimates of organismal diversity. Our results suggest that in Madagascar the spatial pattern of amphibian richness and endemism must be revisited, and current habitat destruction may be affecting more species than previously thought, in amphibians as well as in other animal groups. This case study suggests that worldwide tropical amphibian diversity is probably underestimated at an unprecedented level and stresses the need for integrated taxonomic surveys as a basis for prioritizing conservation efforts within biodiversity hotspots.
Description6 pages, 2 figures, 1 table.-- Supporting information (Amphibian species list, 43 pages) available at: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/05/01/0810821106/suppl/DCSupplemental
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0810821106
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/12819
DOI10.1073/pnas.0810821106
ISSN0027-8424
Appears in Collections:(MNCN) Artículos
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