The authors suggest three criteria that must be met in order to use substitute species with confidence. The first is to establish the relationship between the level of the disturbance and vitality rate of the substitute. Second, the trait(s) that affect both species' viabilities must be identified. Third, the trait value and the disturbance threshold must be established for the substitute. The authors see these hurdles as almost insurmountable, especially in a field as cautious as conservation. "Where at all possible, we advocate making every possible effort to examine the target species directly before resorting to substitute species," the authors conclude.
This study is published in the December issue of Conservation Biology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Conservation Biology is a top-ranked journal in the fields of Ecology and Environmental Science and has been called, "required reading for ecologists throughout the world." It is published on behalf of the Society for Conservation Biology.
Lead author Tim Caro is a professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology at the University of California at Davis. He has investigated the utility of surrogate species in conservation biology. His interest is in the way in which many people study common species in the hope that they will tell us something about endangered species. Dr. Caro is available for media questions and interviews.
Co-author John Eadie is at the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology at University of California at Davis.
Co-author Andrew Sih is at the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at University of California at Davis.
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