Introduction: Preserving Amazonian biodiversity therefore critically depends on documenting patterns of species richness, geographic distributions at large spatial scales and across many branches of the Tree of Life. The Science Panel for the Amazon (SPA) assessment report highlights that the true species richness of the Amazon is vastly underestimated, partially because of the difficulty of sampling in this vast region and also because many groups are understudied. Existing spatial and taxonomic biases in biodiversity data in the Amazon affect our capacity to understand the true patterns of biodiversity in the region and indicate solutions for conservation. Although the IUCN Red List (RL) provides the highest quality conservation assessments for individual species using multiple and rigorous criteria, it requires substantial time and information such that many species remain classified as “data deficient”. Meanwhile the rate and scale of Amazon deforestation and habitat destruction challenges the conservation community to develop expedited methods for risk assessment.
Objectives: This symposium motivated by the gaps highlighted in the SPA report and also by the opportunity to join effort of scientists to fill them. The symposium will match taxonomic experts with GIS specialists to estimate the conservation status of all the species in a clade, including those classified as “data deficient”.
Methods: The symposium will present case studies from multiple Neotropical plant and animal groups of organisms, showing how specimen collection data obtained from museum and publication records can be used rapidly estimate species extinction risk. Estimating species ranges for conservation assessment requires compiling, organizing, and proofing a comprehensive database with thousands of geographic coordinates. We will demonstrate the use the R package ConR (Dauby et al., 2017) to estimate Extent of Occurrence (EOO), providing preliminary conservation assessments of species for which extinction risks have not been assigned by the IUCN–RL.
Results: A study of Neotropical freshwater fishes shows greater extinction risk in species with smaller geographic ranges.
Conclusions: We will demonstrate how estimates of EOO can be used to help prioritize regions and taxa in upcoming IUCN-RL assessments of Neotropcial species conservation risk.
Biodiversity, Conservation status, Extent of Occurrence, IUCN Red List.