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Abstract

Rare species, which represent a large fraction of the taxa in ecological assemblages, account for much of the biological diversity on Earth. These species make substantial contributions to ecosystem functioning, and are targets of conservation policy. Here we adopt an integrated approach, combining information on the rarity of species trait combinations, and their spatial restrictedness, to quantify the biogeography of rare fish (a taxon with almost 13,000 species) in the world’s oceans. We find concentrations of rarity, in excess of what is predicted by a null expectation, near the coasts and at higher latitudes. We also observe mismatches between these rarity hotspots and marine protected areas. This pattern is repeated for both major groupings of fish, the Actinopterygii (bony fish) and Elasmobranchii (sharks, skates and rays). These results uncover global patterns of rarity that were not apparent from earlier work, and highlight the importance of using metrics that incorporate information on functional traits in the conservation and management of global marine fishes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number877
Number of pages9
JournalNature Communications
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2022

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