ADELAIDE, Australia, June 18 (UPI) -- An Australian scientist has led a unique ecological study he says should help identify species prone to extinction or those likely to become pests.
"This study provides good evidence that we can take any group of species and predict how individual species will respond to changes in the environment through events such as climate change or habitat loss," said University of Adelaide Associate Professor Corey Bradshaw.
The researchers analyzed life-history and ecological traits in more than 8,900 species of the legume, or the Fabaceae, plant family. The scientists found a correlation between evolved species' traits and a particular susceptibility to a species becoming threatened or invasive.
"The urgency and scale of the global biodiversity crisis means we need good generalized predictors of a species' likelihood of going extinct or becoming invasive in non-native areas," said Bradshaw. "Previous studies have been limited by studying one or other of these 'fates' in isolation.
"Developing evidence-based rules of thumb for categorizing poorly studied species according to their susceptibility will aid decision makers in choosing best ways to allocate finite conservation resources," he added.
The study, which Bradshaw said is the first of its kind, appears online in the Journal of Ecology.