Lab Notes

Short stories and links shared by the scientists in our community

Biodiversity hotspots and favorite papers

Shared by

Cassie Freund

Ecology

Wake Forest University

I've been thinking about a question for my fellow scientists lately:  What's one paper that you always use to contextualize your work, that you wish you could share with everyone because you just think it's SO DARN COOL?

Cassie Freund looks out over a tropical Andean forest landscape

Me and my Peruvian plants

Cassie Freund

Mine is "Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities." I love this paper because the authors came up with the 25  places on earth with the highest concentrations of plant and animal species. They argue that in an era of very limited funding for  protecting nature, focusing mainly on these regions will return the most bang for our conservation buck. And this paper is super relevant to my work because I study forests in the Tropical Andes, home to 45,000 plant  species. Nearly half of these (~20,000) can only be found in this hotspot.

There are hotspots for animal enthusiasts, too! The island of Madagascar - home to multiple lemur species, the fossa, and the so-ugly-it's-almost-cute aye-aye - is a prime example. There are now 36 hotspots, with eleven new ones added in the past two decades. Scientists, nature lovers, world travelers: is your favorite place on the list? Shout out at me about your favorite papers and hotspots on Twitter and I'll share your replies!

Map of biodiversity hotspots around the world

Map of the now-35 biodiversity hotspots worldwide. Is your favorite place on the list?

Conservation International on Wikimedia Commons