Accurately predicting whether, and when, a species may go extinct has never been more critical.
Accurately predicting whether, and when, a species may go extinct has never been more critical. The United Nations recently reported that one million species are now in danger of disappearing, and conservationists are scrambling to mitigate the losses.
Doing so requires insight to existing populations and how quickly they can establish a next generation. This is different for every species and dramatically impacts how quickly a species can respond to changes in their environment, say researchers at Species360 Conservation Science Alliance, the Interdisciplinary Center of Population Dynamics (CPop), and other institutions.
Yet some of the tools used to assess a species generation time rely on assumptions that underestimate a population’s ability to establish each new generation and thus, its ability to adapt and survive.
A new study in Journal of Applied Ecology shows that some of these models draw an overly optimistic view of species extinction timelines. The study, “Performance of generation time approximations for extinction risk assessments,” analyzes current models of species generation time, and proposes ways to help improve risk assessments.
Read more at SPECIES360
Image: Underestimation of generation time leads to an underestimation of extinction risk when scientists assess populations of threatened species. CREDIT: Johanna Staerk et al. (2019)