Macroecology Lab @ UFMG, Brazil

About the lab

We are the Macroecology Laboratory at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG, Brazil) in the Institute of Biological Sciences. You can find out more about our research at

Featured projects (1)

Description and monthly log of ongoing projects in the Macroecology Laboratory @ UFMG ( See "References" tab for a list of articles (and supplementary data) detailing the methods commonly employed in our studies.

Featured research (25)

Editorial on the Research Topic: Temporal and Large-Scale Spatial Patterns of Plant Diversity and Diversification.
Addressing global environmental challenges requires access to biodiversity data across wide spatial, temporal and taxonomic scales. Availability of such data has increased exponentially recently with the proliferation of biodiversity databases. However, heterogeneous coverage, protocols, and standards have hampered integration among these databases. To stimulate the next stage of data integration, here we present a synthesis of major databases, and investigate (a) how the coverage of databases varies across taxonomy, space, and record type; (b) what degree of integration is present among databases; (c) how integration of databases can increase biodiversity knowledge; and (d) the barriers to database integration. Global. Contemporary. Plants and vertebrates. We reviewed 12 established biodiversity databases that mainly focus on geographic distributions and functional traits at global scale. We synthesized information from these databases to assess the status of their integration and major knowledge gaps and barriers to full integration. We estimated how improved integration can increase the data coverage for terrestrial plants and vertebrates. Every database reviewed had a unique focus of data coverage. Exchanges of biodiversity information were common among databases, although not always clearly documented. Functional trait databases were more isolated than those pertaining to species distributions. Variation and potential incompatibility of taxonomic systems used by different databases posed a major barrier to data integration. We found that integration of distribution databases could lead to increased taxonomic coverage that corresponds to 23 years’ advancement in data accumulation, and improvement in taxonomic coverage could be as high as 22.4% for trait databases. Rapid increases in biodiversity knowledge can be achieved through the integration of databases, providing the data necessary to address critical environmental challenges. Full integration across databases will require tackling the major impediments to data integration: taxonomic incompatibility, lags in data exchange, barriers to effective data synchronization, and isolation of individual initiatives.
Biodiversity contributes to the ecological and climatic stability of the Amazon Basin1,2, but is increasingly threatened by deforestation and fire3,4. Here we quantify these impacts over the past two decades using remote-sensing estimates of fire and deforestation and comprehensive range estimates of 11,514 plant species and 3,079 vertebrate species in the Amazon. Deforestation has led to large amounts of habitat loss, and fires further exacerbate this already substantial impact on Amazonian biodiversity. Since 2001, 103,079–189,755 km² of Amazon rainforest has been impacted by fires, potentially impacting the ranges of 77.3–85.2% of species that are listed as threatened in this region⁵. The impacts of fire on the ranges of species in Amazonia could be as high as 64%, and greater impacts are typically associated with species that have restricted ranges. We find close associations between forest policy, fire-impacted forest area and their potential impacts on biodiversity. In Brazil, forest policies that were initiated in the mid-2000s corresponded to reduced rates of burning. However, relaxed enforcement of these policies in 2019 has seemingly begun to reverse this trend: approximately 4,253–10,343 km² of forest has been impacted by fire, leading to some of the most severe potential impacts on biodiversity since 2009. These results highlight the critical role of policy enforcement in the preservation of biodiversity in the Amazon.
The tropical conservatism hypothesis (TCH) posits that the latitudinal gradient in biological diversity arises because most extant clades of animals and plants originated when tropical environments were more widespread and because the colonization of colder and more seasonal temperate environments is limited by the phylogenetically conserved environmental tolerances of these tropical clades. Recent studies have claimed support of the TCH, indicating that temperate plant diversity stems from a few more recently derived lineages that are nested within tropical clades, with the colonization of the temperate zone being associated with key adaptations to survive colder temperatures and regular freezing. Drought, however, is an additional physiological stress that could shape diversity gradients. Here, we evaluate patterns of evolutionary diversity in plant assemblages spanning the full extent of climatic gradients in North and South America. We find that in both hemispheres, extratropical dry biomes house the lowest evolutionary diversity, while tropical moist forests and many temperate mixed forests harbor the highest. Together, our results support a more nuanced view of the TCH, with environments that are radically different from the ancestral niche of angiosperms having limited, phylogenetically clustered diversity relative to environments that show lower levels of deviation from this niche. Thus, we argue that ongoing expansion of arid environments is likely to entail higher loss of evolutionary diversity not just in the wet tropics but in many extratropical moist regions as well.

Lab head

Danilo Neves
  • Institute of Biological Sciences
About Danilo Neves
  • I am a broadly trained ecologist, currently working as a Professor of Vegetation Ecology at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG, Brazil). My work is grounded in natural history, plant community surveys, biodiversity theory and novel phylogenetic methodologies. You can find out more about my research and Lab Group at

Members (21)

Rafaela Jorge Trad
  • University of Campinas
Maxwell Oliveira
  • Federal University of Minas Gerais
Vitor de Andrade Kamimura
  • Instituto Tecnológico Vale
Yuri Fernandes Gouvêa
  • Federal University of Minas Gerais
Luísa Azevedo
  • Federal University of Minas Gerais
Ingridy Moura
  • Federal University of Minas Gerais
Marlla Arouche
  • Universidade Federal do Maranhão