Global assessment of mammal, bird and amphibian extinction risk
Fritz supervised by Prof. Andy Purvis, Prof. Ian Owens and Dr Timothy
Imperial College, University of London, Department of Biology and NERC Centre for Population Biology
Many species today are threatened with extinction, but the pattern of extinction risk is complex both geographically and taxonomically. How do such complex patterns arise?
This project is aiming to investigate factors influencing the extinction risk experienced by mammal, bird and amphibian species on a global scale, using the IUCN Red List assessments.
Data is collected from literature sources only; I will be able to use and extend existing databases on geographic range, body size, population density and life history variables of the three groups, as well as information about human population density in their ranges. Extinction risk rating as the dependent variable is regressed against the predictors to evaluate their influence. These multiple regressions are performed on phylogenetically independent contrasts, because species are not statistically independent if they share common ancestors.
Models will be run for each WWF ecoregion separately to investigate spatial differences in the relative importance of the chosen extinction risk predictors. We intend to produce global maps of the impact of each predictor on species extinction risk and compare them for the three classes of vertebrates used. The results are expected to improve our knowledge about the causes of current high extinction rates and to help focus conservation efforts.