Methods and Materials

Islands are an ideal system to examine, because they are spatially segregated, but are also of importance, as they are home to many potentially important species under threat (Steadman 1995). We assume islands are associated with a greater ED than mainland areas, since islands are more isolated and therefore should be more likely to accumulate ED than other landforms. We already know that island area correlates with phylogenetic structure (Cardillo et al. 2008), and we too found a correlation between island size and ED.

The next logical question then is how could we quantify the different islands, with respect to species and each island's overall community. We take the ED score of mammal species on islands, and then calculate the λM of every patch within a species' distribution to prioritise spatially among the island patches. Metapopulation theory suggests that a population made up of smaller populations with potential gene flow might better persist than otherwise expected when considering each population alone and individually. Thus, distributions made up of closer, larger islands would be better off because of the increased probability of dispersal and rescue effect.

Global Self-Consistent Hierarchical High-Resolution Shoreline Data

We began with Global Self-consistent Hierarchical High-resolution Shorelines (GSHHS) data to identify island boundaries (Wessel and Smith 1996), before selecting out the qED (the position or quantile of the observed realised cumulative score) values from IUCN geographic ranges (see Safi et al. 2013). We considered islands closer to the mainland than 5 km as belonging to the mainland itself. Likewise, we clumped islands that had distances below 5 km on average to belong together and forming “connected” archipelagos. In order to assess the distances and identify archipelagos, we used the “raster” and “sp” packages in R (2.15.1). We first rasterised the GSHHS coast line with a resolution of 5 by 5 km. where a raster cell was considered landmass, if the grid cell lay on or touched a landmass. We then identified patches of connected raster cells using the queen's case to decide on the connectedness of raster cells forming “clumps”. Following this procedure, we excluded all patches of connected landmass with an area equal to and larger than Greenland. Finally, we extracted from the original GSHHS vector data all those polygons that contained or touched the remaining grid cells, identifying islands, and archipelagos of the appropriate size and with the approximate required distances to each other and to the main lands. For all islands (and archipelagos), we overlay the IUCN geographic range data previously gridded to a resolution of 25 × 25 km onto the island polygons of the GSHHS vector data to identify the species and the respective ED scores for each island (see Fig. 1a).

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