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Hann Endowed Seminar: Land Use Homogenizes Biodiversity and Restructures the Tree of Life

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
4:00 AM
Gates Lecture Hall, University of Michigan Biological Station, 9133 Biological Rd., Pellston, MI 49769

As human-made habitats expand over Earth’s surface, the fate of global biodiversity will depend largely on the quality and characteristics of farming landscapes. While biodiversity declines in intensive agricultural landscapes, recent work has documented that many species can persist in diversified farming systems. The species found on diversified farms, however, are often distinct from those that frequent nearby natural habitats. 

In this seminar Daniel Karp explores whether diversified farms in Costa Rica can maintain bird biodiversity at large scales, both by conserving species across the global tree of life and through maintaining ß-diversity – the differences in species composition among sites. His findings suggest that anciently diverged species from deep branches of the tree of life will face challenges in maintaining populations in diversified agriculture and have little hope of doing so in intensive monocultures. More encouragingly, diversified farms retain surprisingly high bird ß-diversity.

However, intensive agriculture homogenizes bird communities that previously occupied completely different biomes. These results suggest that in the absence of a much-expanded global reserve system, prioritizing diversified agriculture over intensive monocultures provides a strategy for enhancing the conservation value of human-modified landscapes.

Daniel Karp is a postdoctoral NatureNet fellow based at the University of California, Berkeley and the Nature Conservancy. Daniel completed his Ph.D. in 2013 at Stanford University’s Department of Biology. His research interests center on developing innovative methods for harmonizing food production with the conservation of ecosystem services and biodiversity.

This event is free and open to the public.