Nevin Manimala Statistics

The global distribution of known and undiscovered ant biodiversity

Sci Adv. 2022 Aug 5;8(31):eabp9908. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abp9908. Epub 2022 Aug 3.


Invertebrates constitute the majority of animal species and are critical for ecosystem functioning and services. Nonetheless, global invertebrate biodiversity patterns and their congruences with vertebrates remain largely unknown. We resolve the first high-resolution (~20-km) global diversity map for a major invertebrate clade, ants, using biodiversity informatics, range modeling, and machine learning to synthesize existing knowledge and predict the distribution of undiscovered diversity. We find that ants and different vertebrate groups have distinct features in their patterns of richness and rarity, underscoring the need to consider a diversity of taxa in conservation. However, despite their phylogenetic and physiological divergence, ant distributions are not highly anomalous relative to variation among vertebrate clades. Furthermore, our models predict that rarity centers largely overlap (78%), suggesting that general forces shape endemism patterns across taxa. This raises confidence that conservation of areas important for small-ranged vertebrates will benefit invertebrates while providing a “treasure map” to guide future discovery.

PMID:35921404 | DOI:10.1126/sciadv.abp9908

By Nevin Manimala

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