Global terrestrial distribution of penguins (Spheniscidae) and their conservation by protected areas

Hickcox, R.P. ORCID: 0000-0002-2982-4244, Jara, M., Deacon, L.A.K., Harvey, L.P. ORCID: 0000-0003-4852-835X and Pincheira-Donoso, D. ORCID: 0000-0002-0050-6410, 2019. Global terrestrial distribution of penguins (Spheniscidae) and their conservation by protected areas. Biodiversity and Conservation. ISSN 0960-3115

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Establishing protected areas (PAs) ranks among the top priority actions to mitigate the global scale of modern biodiversity declines. However, the distribution of biodiversity is spatially asymmetric among regions and lineages, and the extent to which PAs offer effective protection for species and ecosystems remains uncertain. Penguins, regarded as prime bioindicator birds of the ecological health of their terrestrial and marine habitats, represent priority targets for such quantitative assessments. Of the world’s 18 penguin species, eleven are undergoing population declines, for which ten are classified as ‘Vulnerable’ or ‘Endangered’. Here, we employ a global-scale dataset to quantify the extent to which their terrestrial breeding areas are currently protected by PAs. Using quantitative methods for spatial ecology, we compare the global distribution of penguin colonies, including range and population size analyses, with the distribution of terrestrial PAs classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and generate hotspot and endemism maps worldwide. Our assessment quantitatively reveals < 40% of the terrestrial range of eleven penguin species is currently protected, and that range size is the significant factor in determining PA protection. We also show that there are seven global hotspots of penguin biodiversity where four or five penguin species breed. We suggest that future penguin conservation initiatives should be implemented based on more comprehensive, quantitative assessments of the multi-dimensional interactions between areas and species to further the effectiveness of PA networks.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Biodiversity and Conservation
Creators: Hickcox, R.P., Jara, M., Deacon, L.A.K., Harvey, L.P. and Pincheira-Donoso, D.
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Date: 15 June 2019
ISSN: 0960-3115
1801Publisher Item Identifier
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 27 Jun 2019 07:43
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2020 03:00

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