Record Details

Romagosa, Christina M;Guyer, Craig;Wooten, Michael
Contribution of the live-vertebrate trade toward taxonomic homogenization
Conservation Biology
Journal Article
The process of taxonomic homogenization occurs through two mechanisms, extinctions and introductions, and leads to a reduction of global biodiversity. We used available U.S. trade data as a proxy for global trade in live vertebrates to assess the contribution of trade to the process of taxonomic homogenization. Data included all available U.S. importation and exportation records, estimation of extinction risk, and reports of establishment outside the native range for species within six vertebrate groups. Based on Monte Carlo sampling, the number of species traded, established outside of the native range, and threatened with extinction was not randomly distributed among vertebrate families. Twenty-eight percent of vertebrate families that were traded preferentially were also established or threatened with extinction, an unusually high percentage compared with the 7% of families that were not traded preferentially but that became established or threatened with extinction. The importance of trade in homogenization of vertebrates suggests that additional efforts should be made to prevent introductions and extinctions through this medium.