Newton A.C.,Bournemouth University
Conservation Letters | Year: 2011
Increasing efforts have recently focused on development of indicators for monitoring biodiversity loss, stimulated by development of the "2010 target." Such efforts have failed to consider Goodhart's Law, which states that once an indicator is made into a policy target, then it will lose the information content that qualifies it to play its role as an indicator. The implications of Goodhart's Law for monitoring biodiversity are examined with specific reference to the IUCN Red List Index (RLI). According to Goodhart's Law, use of the RLI as an indicator could affect how conservation actions are targeted and how the Red List assessment is conducted, potentially undermining the assessment process itself. The use of targets in conservation policy and the associated development of indicators should therefore be undertaken with caution. Specifically, to support monitoring of global biodiversity loss, systems should be put in place to prevent the manipulation of indicators and the assessments on which they are based, to ensure that the information they provide is objective and reliable. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Newton A.C.,Bournemouth University
Environmental Modelling and Software | Year: 2010
The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List is widely recognised as an authoritative assessment of the conservation status of species. However, the data available for Red Listing are often lacking or uncertain. This paper presents a Bayesian network that may be used to perform a Red List assessment of a taxon using uncertain data. In such cases, input variables can be entered as likelihoods, and the appropriate Red List category is identified by the network using Bayesian inference. Relative performance of the Bayesian network was evaluated by comparison with an alternative method (RAMAS® Red List), based on the use of fuzzy numbers. While results were generally comparable, some differences were noted for species with uncertain input data. Contrasting results may be attributed to differences in how uncertain data are analysed by the two approaches. The Bayesian network has the advantage of being more transparent, facilitating sensitivity analysis. The method consequently has potential for facilitating Red List assessments, particularly for poorly known taxa. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Britton J.R.,Bournemouth University
Trends in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2013
Introduction of free-living species also results in co-introduction of their parasites. Since recent advances have shown that native parasites dramatically alter food web structure, I evaluate here how introduced parasites might reorganise food webs. Empirical evidence suggests that introduced parasites alter food webs qualitatively through topological changes and quantitatively through shifts in trophic relationships arising from modified host phenotypic traits. I argue that predicting the extent of food web reorganisation is, however, difficult due to underlying ecological and evolutionary processes that could provide contrasting food web outcomes, including enemy release, biotic resistance, and parasite spillover and spillback. Nevertheless, I suggest these food web reorganisations represent a further aspect of human-mediated global change resulting in irreversible consequences across multiple trophic levels. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Andreou D.,Bournemouth University
PloS one | Year: 2012
A recent threat to European fish diversity was attributed to the association between an intracellular parasite, Sphaerothecum destruens, and a healthy freshwater fish carrier, the invasive Pseudorasbora parva originating from China. The pathogen was found to be responsible for the decline and local extinction of the European endangered cyprinid Leucaspius delineatus and high mortalities in stocks of Chinook and Atlantic salmon in the USA. Here, we show that the emerging S. destruens is also a threat to a wider range of freshwater fish than originally suspected such as bream, common carp, and roach. This is a true generalist as an analysis of susceptible hosts shows that S. destruens is not limited to a phylogenetically narrow host spectrum. This disease agent is a threat to fish biodiversity as it can amplify within multiple hosts and cause high mortalities.
Clarke R.T.,Bournemouth University
Hydrobiologia | Year: 2013
The Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires estimates of the confidence and precision associated with any scheme for assessing and monitoring the ecological status class of any European rivers, lakes, transitional or coastal waters. This is a complex important issue, especially for waterbody assessments based on multiple metrics and/or two or more taxonomic groups. This paper aims to contribute towards improving understanding and providing practical approaches to assessing confidence of class by (i) discussing the various sources and causes of uncertainty, (ii) using UK rivers macroinvertebrate datasets to illustrate the estimation of replicate, temporal and spatial variance components and the implications for water body metric precision, confidence of class and optimal sampling design, (iii) introducing new freely available general software WISER Bioassessment Uncertainty Guidance Software (WISERBUGS) which uses prior sampling uncertainty estimates with user-specified metrics, class limits and metric combination rules to simulate the joint sampling uncertainty in metric EQR values and provide estimates of confidence of class based on individual metrics, (optionally weighted) multi-metric indices and/or multi-metric classification rules (worst case, mean or median class) based on one or more WFD biological quality elements. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.