Volume 42 Issue 3
May  2021
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Zhi-Ning Wang, Li Yang, Peng-Fei Fan, Lu Zhang. Species bias and spillover effects in scientific research on Carnivora in China. Zoological Research, 2021, 42(3): 354-361. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2021.033
Citation: Zhi-Ning Wang, Li Yang, Peng-Fei Fan, Lu Zhang. Species bias and spillover effects in scientific research on Carnivora in China. Zoological Research, 2021, 42(3): 354-361. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2021.033

Species bias and spillover effects in scientific research on Carnivora in China

doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2021.033
Funds:  This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31900372, 31822049)
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  • Scientific research provides essential information for conservation of threatened species. Data deficiency due to insufficient research impedes the design of conservation plans, and research bias may mistakenly direct limited resources to low biodiversity regions or less threatened species. Here, we conducted a systematic review of published papers, grants, and graduate student training on carnivorans in China to identify species bias and research gaps. Furthermore, we collected intrinsic and extrinsic features of carnivorans, and identified features that impact research intensity using generalized linear models. We found that the amount of research on carnivorans increased markedly after 2000, but species bias existed. Bears and big cats received the greatest research attention, while most small- and medium-sized carnivorans received little attention, thus showing the 80-20 phenomenon. Species with a higher level of endemism and protection under Chinese law received more consideration. As an animal conservation icon in China, the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) attracted more than 50% of overall carnivoran research resources. However, the giant panda also showed spillover effects, i.e., post-doctoral graduates who studied the giant panda shifted their research focus to other species after graduation, which may help improve research on other species. Thus, to improve and strengthen Carnivora research and conservation, we suggest investing greater effort in species of less concern, training of more graduate students, and reinforcing academic exchange. If such actions are not taken, many carnivoran species will continue being data deficient and threatened.
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