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11
A Multidimensional Approach for Detecting Species Patterns in Malagasy Vertebrates

ANNE D. YODER,* LINK E. OLSON, CAROL HANLEY,* KELLIE L. HECKMAN,* RODIN RASOLOARISON, AMY L. RUSSELL,* JULIE RANIVO,§ VOAHANGY SOARIMALALA,§ K. PRAVEEN KARANTH,* ACHILLE P. RASELIMANANA,§ AND STEVEN M. GOODMAN§

The biodiversity of Madagascar is extraordinarily distinctive, diverse, and endangered. It is therefore urgent that steps be taken to document, describe, interpret, and protect this exceptional biota. As a collaborative group of field and laboratory biologists, we employ a suite of methodological and analytical tools to investigate the vertebrate portion of Madagascar’s fauna. Given that species are the fundamental unit of evolution, where micro- and macroevolutionary forces converge to generate biological diversity, a thorough understanding of species distribution and abundance is critical for understanding the evolutionary, ecological, and biogeographic forces that have shaped Malagasy vertebrate diversity. We illustrate the means by which we apply Mayr’s “three basic tasks” of the systematist [Mayr, E. (1942) Systematics and the Origin of Species from the Viewpoint of a Zoologist

*  

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, P.O. Box 208105, New Haven, CT 06520;

  

University of Alaska Museum of the North, 907 Yukon Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99775;

  

Département de Biologie Animale, Université d’Antananarivo, BP 906, Antananarivo (101), Madagascar;

§  

WWF Madagascar, BP 738, Antananarivo (101), Madagascar; and

  

Department of Zoology, Field Museum of Natural History, 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605.

Data deposition: The sequences reported in this paper have been deposited in the GenBank database (accession nos. DQ003345–DQ003479, DQ004403–DQ004461, and DQ005718–DQ005850).

 



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