EDGE Species


EDGE Species

"Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) Species" represent a disproportionate amount of unique evolutionary history. They have few close relatives and are often extremely unusual in the way they look, live and behave. Some EDGE species, such as elephants and pandas, are well known and already receive considerable conservation attention, but many others, such as the Yangtze River dolphin (the world’s rarest cetacean), the bumblebee bat (arguably the world’s smallest mammal) and the egg-laying long-beaked echidnas are highly threatened yet remain poorly understood and are frequently overlooked by existing conservation frameworks. Recent research indicates that 70% of the world’s most threatened and evolutionarily distinct mammal species are currently receiving little or no conservation attention . [ [http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0000296 PLoS ONE: Mammals on the EDGE: Conservation Priorities Based on Threat and Phylogeny ] ] If these species are not highlighted and conserved we will not only lose many of the world’s unique species and a disproportionate amount of biodiversity, but we may also greatly reduce the potential for future evolution. The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has launched a new global conservation initiative, the EDGE of Existence Programme to raise awareness and funds for the conservation of these species.

Calculating EDGE Scores

Every species is given a score according to the amount of unique evolutionary history it represents, and its conservation status. These scores are used to identify EDGE species.

Some species are more distinct than others because they represent a larger amount of unique evolution. Species like the aardvark have few close relatives and have been evolving independently for many millions of years. Others like the domestic dog originated only recently and have many close relatives. Species uniqueness’ can be measured as an 'Evolutionary Distinctiveness' (ED) score, using a phylogeny, or evolutionary tree.

In the phylogeny shown on the right, species A has a higher ED score than either species B or C - it represents a branch rather than a twig on the tree of life. If species A were to go extinct, there would be no similar species left on the planet and a disproportionate amount of unique evolutionary history would be lost forever.

Globally Endangered (GE) scores for each species are measured according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, an assessment of the conservation status of the world's plant and animal species. Species which are Critically Endangered receive a higher score than less threatened species, which in turn, receive a higher score than those not currently in danger of extinction.

The two scores are then combined to produce an overall EDGE score for each species. EDGE scores are calculated by multiplying ED and GE together. In mathematical terms, EDGE scores are an estimate of the expected loss of evolutionary history per unit time.

EDGE species are species which have an above average ED score and are threatened with extinction (Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable). There are currently 564 EDGE mammal species (~12% of the total). Potential EDGE species are those with high ED scores but whose conservation status is unclear.

Focal species

Many EDGE species are not being adequately protected by existing conservation measures. This suggests that a disproportionate amount of evolutionary history is likely to be lost in the near future. To redress this balance, ten focal species are selected each year for which active research and conservation programmes will be carried out.

The focal species are the subject of research programmes aimed at establishing what the main threats are and what actions need to be taken to ensure their survival. Each study is focused on delivering a conservation action plan. These plans provide information on the conservation actions highlighted by the research programme, and identify key stakeholders that will carry out these actions.

2007/8 focal mammal species

Numbers refer to EDGE rank

:1. Yangtze River dolphin ("Lipotes vexillifer"):2. Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna ("Zaglossus attenboroughi"):5. Hispaniolan solenodon ("Solenodon paradoxus"):8. Bactrian camel ("Camelus bactrianus"):21. Pygmy hippopotamus ("Hexaprotodon liberiensis"):22. Slender loris ("Loris tardigradus"):37. Hirola antelope ("Beatragus hunteri"):46. Golden-rumped elephant-shrew ("Rhynchocyon chrysopygus"):49. Bumblebee bat ("Craseonycteris thonglongyai"):81. Long-eared jerboa ("Euchoreutes naso")

2008/9 focal amphibian species

:2. Chinese giant salamander ("Andrias davidianus"):3. Sagalla caecilian ("Boulengerula niedeni"):4. Purple frog ("Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis"):15. Ghost frogs ("Heleophryne hewitti" and "Heleophryne rosei"):18. Olm ("Proteus anguinus"):24. Lungless Mexican salamanders (20 species from the top ranked 100 species, including "Parvimolge townsendi", "Chiropterotriton lavae", "Chiropterotriton magnipes" and "Chiropterotriton mosaueri"):37. Malagasy rainbow frog ("Scaphiophryne gottlebei"):45. Chile Darwin's frog ("Rhinoderma rufum"):55. Betic midwife toad ("Alytes dickhilleni"):69. Seychelles frogs ("Sooglossus gardineri", "Sooglossus pipilodryas", "Sooglossus sechellensis" and "Sooglossus thomasseti")

References

;General references
*Isaac NJB, Turvey ST, Collen B, Waterman C, Baillie JEM (2007) Mammals on the EDGE: Conservation Priorities Based on Threat and Phylogeny. PLoS ONE 2(3): e296. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000296 [http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0000296]

*The EDGE of Existence website (www.edgeofexistence.org). Accessed 13 July 2007.

See also

*Zoological Society of London
*EDGE of Existence Programme

External links

* [http://www.zsl.org ZSL website]
* [http://www.edgeofexistence.org/home.asp EDGE website]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • edge species — n. Ecol. a species of animal or plant living primarily in an ecotone * * * …   Universalium

  • edge species — n. Ecol. a species of animal or plant living primarily in an ecotone …   English World dictionary

  • EDGE of Existence programme — The EDGE of Existence programme is a research and conservation initiative that focuses on species deemed to be the world’s most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE). Developed by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the… …   Wikipedia

  • Edge of Appalachia Preserve — is a series of ten adjacent nature preserves located along the Appalachian Escarpment in Adams County, Ohio. Four of the ten preserves, Lynx Prairie, Buzzardroost Rock, Red Rock and The Wilderness, are National Natural Landmarks. The preserve is… …   Wikipedia

  • Edge effect — An edge effect in biology is the effect of the juxtaposition of contrasting environments on an ecosystem. This term is commonly used in conjunction with the boundary between natural habitats, especially forests, and disturbed or developed land.… …   Wikipedia

  • Species of Psittacosaurus — Seventeen species have been assigned to the extinct ceratopsian dinosaur genus Psittacosaurus , although only nine to eleven are considered valid.Xu Xing Zhao Xijin. (1999). Psittacosaur fossils and their stratigraphical implications. In: Wang Y …   Wikipedia

  • Edge — An edge in common usage denotes a sharp border of a (solid) object.cience and technology* Edge (graph theory), a line segment joining two nodes in a graph * Edge (geometry), a line segment joining two vertices in a polytope * Edge case, a problem …   Wikipedia

  • Species — In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is …   Wikipedia

  • Species-area curve — The species area relationship for a contiguous habitat In ecology, a species area curve is a relationship between the area of a habitat, or of part of a habitat, and the number of species found within that area. Larger areas tend to contain… …   Wikipedia

  • Species distribution — A species range maps represents the geographical region where individuals of a species can be found. This is a range map of Juniperus communis, the common juniper. Species distribution is the manner in which a biological taxon is spatially… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.