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Extinction surveys help assess the loss of evolutionary information through species loss.


Stiassny (1992, 1997) and Stiassny and de Pinna (1994) discussed the importance of analyzing patterns of phylogenetic relationships prior to defining conservation priorities, because certain taxa are potentially more informative for understanding the phylogenetic relationships of a group. Similarly, Nee and May (1997) provided a quantitative investigation of the relationship between species loss and the loss of evolutionary content of a phylogeny. Their results are potentially useful in assigning conservation priorities to threatened taxa. Systematic evaluations of extinctions in groups of related species are clearly useful to evolutionary and conservation biologists. However, the key element in any of these studies is the availability of taxonomically comprehensive extinction information, based on a reliable methodology; this level of information is not available from numerical estimates of species loss generated by predictive models. CREO extinction surveys can provide the precise descriptions of taxonomic distributions of species loss so necessary for these studies.

AN EXAMPLE...

In addition to the studies cited above, a recent article by Russell et al. (1998) entitled, "Present and Future Taxonomic Selectivity in Bird and Mammal Extinctions" discusses the use of survey data to determine how extinctions tend to cluster in certain taxa, and the implications of this selectivity for future losses.

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