Uniquity: a general metric for biotic uniqueness of sites

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Rasmus Ejrnæs, Tobias Guldberg Frøslev, Toke Thomas Høye, Rasmus Kjøller, Andrea Oddershede, Ane Kirstine Brunbjerg, Anders Johannes Hansen, Hans Henrik Bruun

1. Species richness is unrivalled as the most reported biodiversity metric in ecological and conservation research. Unfortunately, species richness ignores the scale-dependency of biodiversity.2. We propose the metric uniquity, a quantitative and spatially scalable measure of uniqueness of a site based on a species-by-site matrix and a site-by-habitat type classification with area weights for habitat types correcting for sampling biases.3. An example of uniquity is presented using vascular plant data from 130 sites representing a larger region (Denmark). We demonstrate the importance of the scale parameter of uniquity for the prediction of independent uniqueness indices calculated from species distribution data and the number of recorded red listed species.4. We compare the performance of uniquity with the performance of the indices Local Contribution to Beta Diversity (LCBD) and Range Rarity Richness (RRR), and we investigate its sensitivity to small sample size and poorly resolved habitat classification.5. We assess the performance of the uniquity metric applied to DNA metabarcoding data for plants, fungi and eukaryotes from the same set of study sites.6. Uniquity is a strong predictor of site uniqueness based on national distribution data and also correlates neatly with the observed number of red listed species. Uniquity based on DNA metabarcoding corresponds well with the number of red listed species observed.7. Perspective: Uniquity is generally applicable to biotas sampled with comparable effort, including field inventories, trap sampling, and DNA metabarcoding data. To our knowledge uniquity is the first index of uniqueness that explicitly considers spatial scale and sampling biases, while simultaneously accepting non-annotated DNA-data as input. Based on our study we offer general recommendations for further use and testing of uniquity as conservation value metric.

Translated title of the contributionUnicitet - en generel målestok for biotisk eneståenhed af lokaliteter
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiological Conservation
Volume225
Pages (from-to)98-105
Number of pages8
ISSN0006-3207
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Biodiversity conservation, eDNA, Metabarcoding, Rarity, Red listed species, Vascular plants

ID: 200584028