• Slide number 0
    African lion (Pan­thera leo)
  • Slide number 1
    Chee­tah (Aci­nonyx juba­tus)
  • Slide number 2
    Clouded leop­ard (Neo­fe­lis neb­u­losa) | more info
  • Slide number 3
    Euro­pean wild­cat (Felis sil­vestris)
  • Slide number 4
    Jaguar (Pan­thera onca)
  • Slide number 5
    Jaguarundi (Her­pail­u­rus yagouaroundi)
  • Slide number 6
    Puma, Moun­tain lion, Cougar (Puma con­color)
  • Slide number 7
    Ocelot (Leop­ar­dus pardalis)
  • Slide number 8
    Pal­las’ cat, Manul (Oto­colobus manul)
  • Slide number 9
    Sand cat (Felis mar­garita)
  • Slide number 10
    Ser­val (Lep­tail­u­rus ser­val)
  • Slide number 11
    Snow leop­ard (Pan­thera uncia) | more info
  • Slide number 12
    South Chines tiger (Pan­thera tigris ssp. amoyen­sis)


New research chal­lenges under­stand­ing of bio­di­ver­sity crisis

pub­lished 02 May 2014 | mod­i­fied 02 May 2014

A Uni­ver­sity of St Andrews study has found that, despite fears of a bio­di­ver­sity cri­sis, there has in fact not been a con­sis­tent drop in num­bers of species found locally around the world. Instead, in a study of 100 com­mu­ni­ties and a total of 35,000 species that span from trees to starfish, sci­en­tists found a con­sis­tent change in which species are found in any one place.

River gambia Niokolokoba National ParkThe find­ings of the research led by Dr Maria Dor­nelas and Pro­fes­sor Anne Magur­ran of the Cen­tre for Bio­log­i­cal Diver­sity and Scot­tish Oceans Insti­tute at the Uni­ver­sity of St Andrews, are pub­lished on 18 April in the jour­nal Sci­ence. The inter­na­tional research team stud­ied over 6 mil­lion obser­va­tions in ter­res­trial, fresh­wa­ter, and marine habi­tats from the poles to the equa­tor. They stud­ied every­thing from trees, birds and mam­mals, to fish and inver­te­brates. Instead of find­ing a loss in bio­di­ver­sity, they dis­cov­ered that the species inhab­i­tance of dif­fer­ent loca­tions has been sys­tem­at­i­cally chang­ing over time.

What we do sug­gest is that sci­en­tists and pol­i­cy­mak­ers should expand the focus of con­ser­va­tion sci­ence and plan­ning to cover bio­di­ver­sity change as well as loss
Nick Gotelli, co-​author, Uni­ver­sity of Ver­mont, USA »

The researchers, who were sur­prised by the find­ings, say that the study should not detract from the threat many of the world’s species are under, but that policy-​makers should focus on changes in bio­di­ver­sity com­po­si­tion as well as loss.

Dr Dor­nelas said, “Con­trary to expec­ta­tions, we did not observe con­sis­tent loss of species through time — indeed we found as many sur­veys with a sys­tem­atic loss as well as gain in the num­ber of species recorded through time. This is sur­pris­ing given cur­rent con­cerns of a bio­di­ver­sity cri­sis and abnor­mally high extinc­tion rates.”

Pro­fes­sor Magur­ran com­mented, “We observed con­sis­tent change in species com­po­si­tion of com­mu­ni­ties. This sur­pris­ing find­ing could be due largely to inva­sive species, which have been rapidly spread­ing around the globe, and the shift­ing ranges of species in response to cli­mate change.”

The authors were keen to empha­sise that the ‘find­ings do not negate the fact that many of the world’s species and habi­tats are under grave threat.’ Nick Gotelli added, “What we do sug­gest is that sci­en­tists and pol­i­cy­mak­ers should expand the focus of con­ser­va­tion sci­ence and plan­ning to cover bio­di­ver­sity change as well as loss.”

Brian McGill from the Uni­ver­sity of Maine (USA) con­cluded, “Con­ser­va­tion sci­en­tists will need to shift from just talk­ing about how many species are found in a place to talk­ing about which species are found in a place. Put sim­ply, species com­po­si­tion changed more often than species num­ber, and these kinds of changes should be a focus for future study.”

(Source: Uni­ver­sity of St Andrews news release, 17.04.2014)

UN Biodiversity decade
WWF Stop Wildlife Crime
Amur leopard conservation
End Ivory-funded Terrorism
Support Rewilding Europe
Snow Leopard Trust

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

about zoos and their mis­sion regard­ing breed­ing endan­gered species, nature con­ser­va­tion, bio­di­ver­sity and edu­ca­tion, which of course relates to the evo­lu­tion of species.
Fol­low me on: