iucn_sim: A new program to simulate future extinctions based on IUCN threat status
The ongoing environmental crisis poses an urgent need to forecast the who , where , and when of future species extinctions, as such information is crucial for targeting conservation efforts. Commonly, such forecasts are made based on conservation status assessments produced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, when researchers apply these IUCN conservation status data for predicting future extinctions, important information is often omitted, which can impact the accuracy of these predictions. Here we present a new approach and a software for simulating future extinctions based on IUCN conservation status information, which incorporates generation length information of individual species when modeling extinction risks. Additionally, we explicitly model future changes in conservation status for each species, based on status transition rates that we estimate from the IUCN assessment history of the last decades. Finally, we apply a Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm to estimate extinction rates for each species, based on the simulated future extinctions. These estimates inherently incorporate the chances of conservation status changes and the generation length for each given species and are specific to the simulated time frame. We demonstrate the utility of our approach by estimating extinction rates for all bird species. Our average extinction risk estimate for the next 100 years across all birds is 6.98 × 10−4 extinctions per species-year, and we predict an expected biodiversity loss of between 669 to 738 bird species within that time frame. Further, the rate estimates between species sharing the same IUCN status show larger variation than the rates estimated with alternative approaches, which reflects expected differences in extinction risk among taxa of the same conservation status. Our method demonstrates the utility of applying species-specific information to the estimation of extinction rates, rather than assuming equal extinction risks for species assigned to the same conservation status. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
- Downloaded 691 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 50,560
- In evolutionary biology: 2,342
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 59,036
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 83,750
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 27 Nov 2020: The website and API now include results pulled from medRxiv as well as bioRxiv.
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!