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Maximizing phylogenetic diversity in biodiversity conservation: Greedy solutions to the Noah's Ark Problem


Hartmann, K and Steel, M, Maximizing phylogenetic diversity in biodiversity conservation: Greedy solutions to the Noah's Ark Problem, Systematic Biology, 55, (4) pp. 644-651. ISSN 1063-5157 (2006) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1080/10635150600873876


The Noah's Ark Problem (NAP) is a comprehensive cost-effectiveness methodology for biodiversity conservation that was introduced by Weitzman (1998) and utilizes the phylogenetic tree containing the taxa of interest to assess biodiversity. Given a set of taxa, each of which has a particular survival probability that can be increased at some cost, the NAP seeks to allocate limited funds to conserving these taxa so that the future expected biodiversity is maximized. Finding optimal solutions using this framework is a computationally difficult problem to which a simple and efficient "greedy" algorithm has been proposed in the literature and applied to conservation problems. We show that, although algorithms of this type cannot produce optimal solutions for the general NAP, there are two restricted scenarios of the NAP for which a greedy algorithm is guaranteed to produce optimal solutions. The first scenario requires the taxa to have equal conservation cost; the second scenario requires an ultrametric tree. The NAP assumes a linear relationship between the funding allocated to conservation of a taxon and the increased survival probability of that taxon. This relationship is briefly investigated and one variation is suggested that can also be solved using a greedy algorithm.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Biodiversity conservation greedy algorithm Noah's Ark Problem phylogenetic diversity
Research Division:Mathematical Sciences
Research Group:Applied mathematics
Research Field:Biological mathematics
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Hartmann, K (Dr Klaas Hartmann)
ID Code:71700
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:33
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2011-08-02
Last Modified:2011-08-02
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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