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The global distribution of known and undiscovered ant biodiversity

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posted on 2022-10-10, 22:47 authored by JM Kass, B Guenard, KL Dudley, CN Jenkins, F Azuma, BL Fisher, CL Parr, Heloise GibbHeloise Gibb, JT Longino, PS Ward, A Chao, D Lubertazzi, M Weiser, W Jetz, R Guralnick, R Blatrix, JD Lauriers, DA Donoso, C Georgiadis, K Gomez, PG Hawkes, RA Johnson, JE Lattke, JA MacGown, W Mackay, S Robson, NJ Sanders, RR Dunn, EP Economo
Invertebrates constitute the majority of animal species and are critical for ecosystem functioning and services. Nonetheless, global invertebrate biodiversity patterns and their congruences with vertebrates remain largely unknown. We resolve the first high-resolution (∼20-km) global diversity map for a major invertebrate clade, ants, using biodiversity informatics, range modeling, and machine learning to synthesize existing knowledge and predict the distribution of undiscovered diversity. We find that ants and different vertebrate groups have distinct features in their patterns of richness and rarity, underscoring the need to consider a diversity of taxa in conservation. However, despite their phylogenetic and physiological divergence, ant distributions are not highly anomalous relative to variation among vertebrate clades. Furthermore, our models predict that rarity centers largely overlap (78%), suggesting that general forces shape endemism patterns across taxa. This raises confidence that conservation of areas important for small-ranged vertebrates will benefit invertebrates while providing a "treasure map" to guide future discovery.


This work was supported by subsidy funding to the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI 17 K15180 (E.P.E.), Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Fellowships for Foreign Researchers Program (J.M.K.), Japan Ministry of the Environment, Environment Research, and Technology Development Fund no. 4-1904 (E.P.E.), the Leverhulme Trust RPG-2017-271(C.L.P.), the National Science Foundation grants DEB-1932405 (J.T.L., B.L.F., and P.S.W.), MSB-FRA #1702426 (M.W.), DEB-1655076 (B.L.F.), and DEB-1932467 (B.L.F.), Australian Research Discovery Grant DP120100781 (H.G.), Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme (South Africa, to P.G.H.), and the USDA and NIFA support of the Mississippi Entomological Museum (J.A.M.). This publication is a contribution of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.


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American Association for the Advancement of Science



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© 2022 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY).

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