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Academic biologists have long advocated for conserving phylogenetic diversity (PD), often (but not exclusively) on the basis that PD is a useful proxy for “feature diversity”, defined as the variety of forms and functions represented in set of organisms (see below for an extended discussion of this definition). In a recent paper, we assess the extent to which this proxy (which we coined the “phylogenetic gambit”) holds in three empirical datasets (terrestrial mammals, birds, and tropical marine fishes) when using functional traits and functional diversity (FD) to operationalize feature diversity. Owen et al. offer a criticism of our methods for quantifying feature diversity with FD and disagree with our conclusions. We are grateful that Owen et al. have engaged thoughtfully with our work, but we believe there are more points of agreement than Owen et al. imply.
Mazel, Florent, et al. “Reply to: ‘Global Conservation of Phylogenetic Diversity Captures More than Just Functional Diversity.’” Nature Communications, 2019, pp.1-2. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-08603-5.