Dynamic species co-occurrence networks require dynamic biodiversity surrogates


In conservation it is inevitable that surrogates be selected to represent the occurrence of hard-to-find species and find priority locations for management. However, species co-occurrence can vary over time. Here we demonstrate how temporal dynamics in species co-occurrence influence the ability of managers to choose the best surrogate species. We develop an efficient optimisation formulation that selects the optimal set of complementary surrogate species from any co-occurrence network. We apply it to two Australian datasets on successional bird responses to disturbances of revegetation and fire. We discover that a surprisingly small number of species are required to represent the majority of species co-occurrences at any one time. Because co-occurrence patterns are temporally dynamic, the optimal set of surrogates, and the number of surrogates required to achieve a desired surrogacy power, depend on sampling effort and the successional state of a system. [from the source]

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