Invited Seminar at CES on 18 July 2018 at 11:00 am titled "Global Distribution of Diversity and Threat in Reptiles and Amphibians" by Dr. Alex Pyron from George Washington University
Well-sampled phylogenies now allow us to integrate various sources of geographic, ecological, and evolutionary information to understand the distribution of threat and diversity in species-rich groups. How divergent are individual species? How is evolutionary distinctiveness related to present-day imperilment? Are threats or diversity concentrated in areas we might not expect? I present data from the VertLife project, an NSF-sponsored, multi-institutional project to study the biodiversity of all terrestrial vertebrates (Tetrapoda), making them the first major global group of animals with near-complete species-level data on key evolutionary and ecological attributes. For squamate reptiles, amphibians, turtles, and crocodilians, extinction risk and phylogenetic position are related to each other in surprising ways. The geographic and ecological correlates of these patterns reveal pressing needs for further study, and insight for conservation.