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      Differential survival among Tahitian tree snails during a mass extinction event: persistence of the rare and fecund

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      Oryx
      Cambridge University Press (CUP)

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          Abstract

          The deliberate introduction of the rosy wolf snail Euglandina roseato the Society Islands in the 1970s led to the mass extirpation of its rich Partulidae (Pilsbry, 1900) fauna, comprising approximately half of all species in this Pacific island tree snail family. On Tahiti ongoing field surveys have documented the survival of two of seven endemic species of Partula( P. hyalinaand/or P. clara) in 38 valleys. E. roseais now a potent extinction agent across Oceania and determining the factors enabling these two taxa to endure may have wide conservation import. We hypothesized that P. hyalinaand P. clarahave survived because they were the most abundant and/or widespread species and that they will eventually become extinct. We lack demographic data contemporaneous with predator introduction, but an early 20th century study by H.E. Crampton provides historical demographic data for intact Tahitian partulid populations. Crampton found that P. claraand P. hyalina, although widespread, were consistently rarer than their now-extirpated congeners, including in the 23 valleys he surveyed that retain surviving populations. Given this result, and the recent finding that P. claraand P. hyalinacomprise a discrete founding lineage in Tahiti, it is plausible that some shared biological attribute(s) may have contributed to their survival. Crampton recorded the clutch sizes of thousands of gravid Tahitian partulids and found that these two taxa had higher instantaneous mean clutch sizes than did co-occurring congeners. Higher fecundities may have contributed to the survival of P. hyalinaand P. clarain the valleys of Tahiti.

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          Most cited references27

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          On the Risk of Extinction

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            Extinction of an Island Forest Avifauna by an Introduced Snake

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              The predictability of extinction: biological and external correlates of decline in mammals

              Extinction risk varies among species, and comparative analyses can help clarify the causes of this variation. Here we present a phylogenetic comparative analysis of species-level extinction risk across nearly the whole of the class Mammalia. Our aims were to examine systematically the degree to which general predictors of extinction risk can be identified, and to investigate the relative importance of different types of predictors (life history, ecological, human impact and environmental) in determining extinction risk. A single global model explained 27.3% of variation in mammal extinction risk, but explanatory power was lower for region-specific models (median R2=0.248) and usually higher for taxon-specific models (median R2=0.383). Geographical range size, human population density and latitude were the most consistently significant predictors of extinction risk, but otherwise there was little evidence for general, prescriptive indicators of high extinction risk across mammals. Our results therefore support the view that comparative models of relatively narrow taxonomic scope are likely to be the most precise.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                applab
                Oryx
                Oryx
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                0030-6053
                1365-3008
                January 2016
                October 2014
                : 50
                : 01
                : 169-175
                Article
                10.1017/S0030605314000325
                40d09020-2202-453a-9540-b9783ab4dc41
                © 2016
                History

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