Letter

Nature 440, 212-214 (9 March 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature04291; Received 27 June 2005; Accepted 29 September 2005; Published online 28 December 2005

Global tests of biodiversity concordance and the importance of endemism

John F. Lamoreux1, John C. Morrison2, Taylor H. Ricketts2, David M. Olson3, Eric Dinerstein2, Meghan W. McKnight4 and Herman H. Shugart1

Understanding patterns of biodiversity distribution is essential to conservation strategies1, but severe data constraints make surrogate measures necessary2, 3, 4. For this reason, many studies have tested the performance of terrestrial vertebrates as surrogates for overall species diversity, but these tests have typically been limited to a single taxon or region3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Here we show that global patterns of richness are highly correlated among amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, as are endemism patterns. Furthermore, we demonstrate that although the correlation between global richness and endemism is low, aggregate regions selected for high levels of endemism capture significantly more species than expected by chance. Although areas high in endemism have long been targeted for the protection of narrow-ranging species11, 12, our findings provide evidence that endemism is also a useful surrogate for the conservation of all terrestrial vertebrates.

  1. Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, 291 McCormick Road, Charlottesville, Virginia 22904, USA
  2. World Wildlife Fund–US, 1250 24th Street NW, Washington DC 20037, USA
  3. Wildlife Conservation Society–South Pacific, 11 Ma'afu Street, Suva, Fiji
  4. Curriculum in Ecology, Miller Hall, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA

Correspondence to: John F. Lamoreux1 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to J.F.L. (Email: lamoreux@virginia.edu).

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