What we’re reading- Feb 27, 2015

Species Delimitation for Endangered Species
An important way in which evolution and conservation intersect occurs by identifying species relationships for closely related species, particularly if some members of the group may be threatened or endangered with extinction. By lumping “good” species together, census size will be larger and species may be overlooked to receive local or federal endangered species protection. This paper (sub) analyzes a complex of cave spiders (Cicurina) to identify species level relationships using morphological, mitochondrial, and nuclear variation. Their results are a call for resolving relationships of unresolved species, particularly those of conservation concern, and secondly doing this using a variety of approaches (both morphological and molecular).

Can Mesopredators Become Apex Predators?
With the extirpation of top carnivores across most of their range in the last few centuries, some smaller carnivores (mesocarnivores) are thought to be able to take their place. But does simply moving up the carnivore ladder give you apex predator status? This paper explores the life history traits of different carnivore species and develops thresholds for what makes an apex predator apex. Consequently, this paper has direct impacts for the management and conservation of carnivores, as their life history traits help explain population dynamics. Also, the authors quote Louis C. K. Yep, the comic!

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