University of Oulu

García-Girón, J., Bini, L. M., & Heino, J. (2023). Shortfalls in our understanding of the causes and consequences of functional and phylogenetic variation of freshwater communities across continents. In Biological Conservation (Vol. 282, p. 110082). Elsevier BV.

Shortfalls in our understanding of the causes and consequences of functional and phylogenetic variation of freshwater communities across continents

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Author: García-Girón, Jorge1,2; Bini, Luis Mauricio3; Heino, Jani1
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 8000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
2Department of Biodiversity and Environmental Management, University of León, Campus de Vegazana, 24007 León, Spain
3Departamento de Ecologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Goiás, 74690-900 Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-09-08


Freshwater ecosystems harbour a disproportionately high biodiversity relative to their area, being also one of the most threatened ecosystem types worldwide. However, our capacity to design evidence-based conservation plans for this realm is restricted by all biodiversity shortfalls that have been recognized so far. In this context, the paucity of comparable field data and information on traits and phylogenies of freshwater organisms should be emphasized. Here, we highlight how increased knowledge could be gained and where we should aim at in research on the functional and phylogenetic features of freshwater communities. First, attempts to combine datasets from different sources should pay careful attention to data harmonization. Second, more effort should be focused on natural history observations on species habitats and life histories, providing the backbone of information for multi-trait databases. Third, fully resolved phylogenies would be required for deciphering the evolutionary relationships of freshwater organisms. Provided that these three hurdles can be overcome, conducting studies of local freshwater communities across continental spatial extents would pave the way for mapping functionally important ecosystems and evolutionarily valuable areas for the conservation of freshwater organisms and their habitats.

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Series: Biological conservation
ISSN: 0006-3207
ISSN-E: 1873-2917
ISSN-L: 0006-3207
Volume: 282
Article number: 110082
DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2023.110082
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1172 Environmental sciences
Funding: JH and JGG were supported by the Academy of Finland, and LMB was supported by FAPEG and CNPq.
Dataset Reference: No data was used for the research described in the article.
Copyright information: © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (