Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Loss of phylogenetic diversity under landscape change

January 31, 2022

Habitat alteration and destruction are primary drivers of biodiversity loss. However, the evolutionary dimensions of biodiversity loss remain largely unexplored in many systems. For example, little is known about how habitat alteration/loss can lead to phylogenetic deconstruction of ecological assemblages at the local level. That is, while species loss is evident, are some lineages favored over others? Using a long-term dataset of a globally, ecologically important guild of invertebrate consumers, stream leaf “shredders,” we created a phylogenetic tree of the taxa in the regional species pool, calculated mean phylogenetic distinctiveness for >1000 communities spanning >10 year period, and related species richness, phylogenetic diversity, and distinctiveness to watershed-scale impervious cover. Using a combination of changepoint and compositional analyses, we learned that increasing impervious cover produced marked reductions in all three measures of diversity. These results aid in understanding both phylogenetic diversity and mean assemblage phylogenetic distinctiveness. Our findings indicate that, not only are species lost when there is an increase in watershed urbanization, as other studies have demonstrated, but that those lost are members of more distinct lineages relative to the community as a whole.

Publication Year 2022
Title Loss of phylogenetic diversity under landscape change
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.153595
Authors Christopher M. Swan, Matthew Baker, Dorothy Borowy, Anna Johnson, Mariya Shcheglovitova, April Sparkman, Francisco V. Neto, Molly Van Appledorn, Nicole Voelker
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science of the Total Environment
Index ID 70229212
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center