Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Jolls, Claudia [1].

Much from few:  uncommon plants and common paradigms.

Much of the work on the ecology and evolution of rare taxa is put within the species-specific context of their biology, ecology, or management and ultimately, is about their rarity.  Furthermore, much of the knowledge of rare plants is incomplete, thus, most knowledge of these plants is focused on their rarity.  However, rare plants can, have and should contribute to our understanding of ecological and evolutionary processes.  I asked, “How often is work on rare plant taxa put in a larger context of our ecological and evolutionary understanding, independent of their rarity?”  I reviewed the primary literature using Scopus and other search engines with emphasis on federally listed plants of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  Not surprisingly, this literature is limited and dominated by relatively few “charismatic” species of interest or associated with “centers of rare species interest”.  Nevertheless, these works on rare taxa do illuminate ecological and evolutionary paradigms related to endemism, ecological genetics, the evolution of mating systems, the role of disturbance, species interactions, and population dynamics.  Our work on a Great Lakes endemic thistle (Cirsium pitcheri) helps highlight that just because a species is rare does not mean it is unimportant, either for its ecological role or ability for inform our understanding of ecology and evolution.  Limited contributions to date may simply be a function of the young and descriptive nature of the craft.  We continue to encourage gathering biological knowledge critical for species management and conservation; however, we also recommend that those of us who work on rare taxa consider the larger ecological and evolutionary context of this knowledge.

1 - East Carolina University, Biology, Howell Science Complex-MS 551, Greenville, NC, 27858-4353, USA

none specified

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: CB1, Conservation Biology 1
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2020
Time: 11:15 AM
Number: CB1006
Abstract ID:251
Candidate for Awards:None

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