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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 65(10)

Selecting priority conservation areas based on zooplankton diversity: the case of Mediterranean wetlands

Juan Diego Gilbert A , Inmaculada de Vicente C , Raquel Jiménez-Melero A B , Gema Parra A B and Francisco Guerrero A B D

A Departamento de Biología Animal, Biología Vegetal y Ecología, University of Jaén, Campus de Las Lagunillas, s/n, 23071 Jaén, Spain.
B Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Ciencias de la Tierra, University of Jaén, Campus de las Lagunillas, s/n, 23071 Jaén, Spain.
C Departamento de Ecología, University of Granada, Campus de Fuentenueva, s/n, 18071 Granada, Spain.
D Corresponding author. Email: fguerre@ujaen.es

Marine and Freshwater Research 65(10) 857-871 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF13143
Submitted: 6 June 2013  Accepted: 19 December 2013   Published: 4 July 2014


 
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Abstract

A set of Mediterranean wetlands has been studied in order to identify priority areas for conservation using zooplankton assemblages. We also measure the degree of nestedness to determine the best strategy for conservation of zooplankton diversity. The present study was conducted in 29 wetlands located in the south-east of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain). Two complementary approaches were used, cluster analysis and parsimony analysis of endemicity (PAE), with a presence–absence data matrix, in order to group wetlands as a function of zooplankton composition. To select conservation areas, four different criteria were used: species richness; exclusive species occurrences; the number of wetlands in which species appeared; and phylogenetic diversity. The results showed the existence of three different zones (subgroups of wetlands). Using the same method, a significant nestedness among wetlands was also observed independently of the method used to group them. The conservation proposal included 98% of the total species and 41.4% of the studied wetlands. This work confirms that zooplankton assemblages are essential for making wetland conservation decisions and for the identification of areas with connectivity (fluxes of species) in which efforts should be more intense to preserve their biodiversity.

Additional keywords: crustaceans, ponds, wetland preservation.


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