Alice Hughes

Alice Hughes
The University of Hong Kong | HKU · School of Biological Sciences

PhD

About

234
Publications
123,825
Reads
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Citations
Introduction
Alice is a conservation biologist based in Asia. Alice holds board positions for around 7 ecological societies and 2 NGOS and works through these to build conservation capacity in upcoming conservationists and to try to implement conservation science and help guide conservation on regional scales. Her research aims to understand patterns of biodiversity and drivers of biodiversity change, with an aim to inform more rigorous & appropriate conservation. She and her team use a wide variety of approaches and tools for anything from understanding species biogeography, to developing monitoring tools or understanding interactions. She currently also has projects on threatened ecosystems (especially karst) to understand biodiversity patterns & develop effective conservation & management approaches
Additional affiliations
December 2021 - present
The University of Hong Kong
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
March 2015 - present
Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation: Asia Pacific
Position
  • Chapter Secretary
July 2014 - present
Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation
Position
  • Chair- Capacity building committee
Description
  • Develop capacity building initiatives around and outside ATBC meetings to target conservation and research needs across the tropics globally

Publications

Publications (234)
Article
There is a global concern of pollinator declines and linked ecosystem service losses. However, although land-use changes are a primary threat to biodiversity, how land-use change affects pollinator communities, pollination networks and fruit-set of food crops is poorly understood. The impact of land-use changes is especially understudied in tropica...
Article
The Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework currently is under development as part of the Convention of Biodiversity's aim to prevent global biodiversity losses by 2050, but targets can only be effectively developed and assessed if the data used for them are fit for purpose. The monitoring framework has been discussed at length and ensuring appropr...
Article
Full-text available
The biological diversity on our planet is in crisis as a result of human activity, and the trends of different elements of biodiversity—species, ecosystems and genetic diversity—are almost all negative. The biodiversity crisis has been well documented by scientists (IPBES 2019) and recognized by world leaders and politicians (e.g., UN General Assem...
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Climate change is a major factor influencing the species distribution and population diversity of living creatures. In this study, the ecological niche model (ENM) MaxEnt was used to evaluate habitat suitability and predict potential habitats of two sympatric fig species, i.e., Ficus squamosa and F. heterostyla, in the Xishuangbanna region of China...
Article
Illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is one of the leading causes of the decline in high‐value species. Crime reduction strategies to counter IWT can have unintended effects, with crime displacement occurring when offenders react to such interventions. Despite the value of understanding how and why displacement occurs for informing conservation strategies,...
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Full-text available
Pollinators play an important role in ecosystems, but global climate change threatens the diversity and geographical distribution of pollinators. Bees are some of the most important pollinators and are particularly sensitive to climate change and environmental change. Apis laboriosa and Apis dorsata are two species of giant honeybees distributed in...
Article
Around 56% of the world's population live in cities, with rapid urbanisation in developing regions. However, most ecological studies focus on developed countries. Here, we conduct a global analysis on bird diversity for 48,180 cities and assess the drivers of avian diversity. Productivity is one of the best indicators of diversity across biomes, bu...
Preprint
The commercial trade in frogs and their body parts is global, dynamic, and occurs in extremely large volumes (in the thousands of tonnes/yr or billions of frogs/yr). The European Union remains the single largest importer of frogs’ legs, with most frogs still caught from the wild. Among the many drivers of species extinction or population decline (e...
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Significant efforts have been made to characterize viral diversity in bats from China. Many of these studies were prospective and focused mainly on Rhinolophus bats that could be related to zoonotic events. However, other species of bats that are part of ecosystems identified as virus diversity hotspots have not been studied in-depth. We analyzed t...
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Karst habitats are hotspots of diversity and endemism. Their naturally fragmented distributions across broad geographic landscapes have led to the complex array of smaller evolutionary ecosystems that present unique challenges from a conservation perspective. Comprehensive biodiversity assessments of karst habitats have revealed that these ecosyste...
Article
Farmland birds are declining globally due to anthropogenic activities, with particularly few studies in Asian agricultural landscapes. Various studies have examined the impacts of landscape heterogeneity on farmland bird composition, but few have considered seasonal changes in bird diversity and examined functional feeding guild assemblages. Here,...
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Understanding species responses to climatic change over extended timescales helps elucidate past and future extinction events. Amphibians are one of the most environmentally sensitive groups and yet showed high resilience to the Cretaceous-Paleogene (KPg) mass extinction, an event marked by sudden cooling and drought. To understand this past resili...
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Many threatened birds use the mosaic of agricultural landscapes for foraging and breeding. Despite the reliance of many species on these habitats, few studies have investigated factors influencing the breeding ecology of storks in agricultural landscapes. We assessed site-level variables (tree height and location of nest tree; human habitation or n...
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Destruction of natural habitat, land-use changes and biological invasion are some of the major threats to biodiversity. Both habitat alteration and biological invasions can have impacts on pollinator communities and pollination network structures. This study aims to examine the effect of an invasive plant, praxelis (Praxelis clematidea; Asteraceae)...
Article
Understanding patterns of species distribution and diversity plays a vital role in biodiversity conservation. Such documentation is frequently lacking for bats, which are relatively little studied and often threatened. The Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot in peninsular India is a bat hotspot with 63 species. We conducted a comprehensive bat surve...
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Humans continue to encroach on the habitats of wild animals, potentially bringing different species into contact that would not typically encounter each other under natural circumstances, and forcing them into stressful, suboptimal conditions. Stressors from unsustainable human land use changes are suspected to dramatically exacerbate the probabili...
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Research and media attention is disproportionately focused on taxa and ecosystems perceived as charismatic, while other equally diverse systems such as caves and subterranean ecosystems are often neglected in biodiversity assessments and prioritisations. Highlighting the urgent need for protection, an especially large fraction of cave endemic speci...
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Wildlife trade is a major driver of biodiversity loss, yet whilst the impacts of trade in some species are relatively well-known, some taxa, such as many invertebrates are often overlooked. Here we explore global patterns of trade in the arachnids, and detected 1,264 species from 66 families and 371 genera in trade. Trade in these groups exceeds mi...
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Full-text available
: The draft post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework asks CBD parties to conserve at least 30% of the planet by 2030 ‘through a well-connected and effective system of protected areas … with the focus on areas particularly important for biodiversity’. We use Thailand as a case study for the ability of a densely populated, hyperdiverse, tropical, midd...
Preprint
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Background: Family Rhinolophidae (horseshoe bats), Hipposideridae (leaf-nosed bats) and Rhinonycteridae (trident bats) are exclusively distributed in the Old-World, and their biogeography reflects the complex historic geological events throughout the Cenozoic. Here we investigated the origin of these families and unravel the conflicting family orig...
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Full-text available
Understanding biodiversity patterns as well as drivers of population declines, and range losses provides crucial baselines for monitoring and conservation. However, the information needed to evaluate such trends remains unstandardised and sparsely available for many taxonomic groups and habitats, including the cave-dwelling bats and cave ecosystems...
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Although 23% of Thailand’s land is in protected areas, these are vulnerable to climate change. We used spatial distribution modelling for 866 vertebrate and 591 plant species to understand potential climate change impacts on species in protected areas. Most mammals, birds, and plants were projected to decline by 2070, but most amphibians and reptil...
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Systematics and taxonomy are the backbone of all components of biology and ecology, yet cryptic species present a major challenge for accurate species identification. This is especially problematic as they represent a substantial portion of undiscovered biodiversity, and have implications for not only species conservation, but even assaying potenti...
Article
Brazil’s caves, home to diverse species and minerals, were stripped of protections by a recent presidential decree.
Article
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Understanding species diversity and species distributions across the region provides a crucial baseline for developing effective conservation plans. Several checklists of bats of Kerala have already been published in combination with other mammal groups. However distribution data has been largely unavailable. A comprehensive bat survey was conducte...
Article
Consumption of bats (chiropterophagy) is globally known in 237 bird species. However, bat predation by a non-raptor is rarely observed. Here, we report a predation event by an endemic Malabar Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros griseus) on a Greater short-nosed fruit bat (Cynopterus sphinx) in Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot in southern India. This oppor...
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One of the anthropogenic causes affecting species distribution is climate change, which has significant implications for species conservation. However, little is known about the effects of changes in parasitic plant distribution on community-level interactions. Parasitic flowering plants make a limited numerical contribution to biodiversity. Their...
Preprint
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With the upcoming launch of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and an accelerating sovereign debt crisis in many emerging economies related to COVID19, we analyze how the resurgent call for debt-for-nature swaps could conserve currently unprotected biodiversity priority-areas for six biomes and support debt restructuring in 67 countries un...
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We are an international group of biological scientists, conservationists, and environmentalists who have been closely following the plight and conservation of pangolins over a number of years. Pangolins comprise the mammalian Order Pholidota, which contains eight living species found in diverse habitats in Africa (4 species) and Asia (4 species), w...
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Bactrocera correcta (Diptera: Tephritidae), as known as invasive pest guava fruit fly, can attack numerous host plants including many horticultural crops and cause huge destruction. Whilst its distribution is currently restricted in Southeast Asia, under the context of global trade and climate change, guava fruit fly can be transported with goods a...
Article
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Wildlife trafficking poses a major threat to global biodiversity. Species such as pangolins are particularly vulnerable and trade continues almost unabated despite numerous interventions aimed at eradicating illegal wildlife trade. Despite restrictions on the pangolin trade, thousands of pangolins continue to be intercepted annually. We focused on...
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Studies focusing on the diet of insectivorous bats enhances our understanding of species foraging ecology, and the various ecosystem services provided by bats (especially regulating and suppressing pest populations). This service provides an important insight on their roles in ecosystems, and decreases crop damage as well as increasing productivity...
Preprint
Wildlife trade is a major driver of biodiversity loss. Here we explore global patterns of trade in the arachnids. Trade in these groups exceeds millions of individuals, with 67% coming directly from the wild, and up to 99% of individuals in some genera. Up to 50% of species in popular taxa such as tarantulas are in trade, including 25% of species d...
Preprint
Full-text available
Birdwatching is a global phenomenon involving many thousands of people. Citizen science generates data providing insights into global patterns of bird distribution across space and time, yet how the pandemic may cast a longer shadow remains unassessed. Here, we explore whether pandemic restrictions influenced observations globally from 2020-May 202...
Article
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Understanding the traits related to species colonization and invasion, is a key question for both pest management and evolution. One of the key components is flight, which has been measured for a number of insect species through radar and tethered flight mill systems, but a general understanding of insect flight at a community level is lacking. In...
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Full-text available
The crisis generated by the emergence and pandemic spread of COVID-19 has thrown into the global spotlight the dangers associated with novel diseases, as well as the key role of animals, especially wild animals, as potential sources of pathogens to humans. There is a widespread demand for a new relationship with wild and domestic animals, including...
Preprint
Full-text available
Research and media attention is disproportionately focused on taxa and ecosystems perceived as charismatic, while other systems with high levels of endemism, are often under-protected and overlooked such as caves and subterranean ecosystems. Yet these more challenging systems are also threatened, with karsts for example losing around 6% of their ar...
Preprint
Full-text available
Understanding biodiversity patterns as well as drivers of population declines, and range losses provides crucial baselines for monitoring and conservation. However, the information needed to evaluate such trends remains unstandardised and sparsely available for many taxonomic groups and habitats, including the cave-dwelling bats and cave ecosystems...
Article
Full-text available
Background: In genus Rhinolophus, species in the Rhinolophus philippinensis and R. macrotis groups are unique because the horseshoe bats in these group have relatively low echolocation frequencies and flight speeds compared with other horseshoe bats with similar body size. The different characteristics among bat species suggest particular evolutio...
Preprint
Full-text available
Financially viable means to conserve biodiversity are urgently needed. We analyze how debt-for-nature swaps could conserve currently unprotected biodiversity priority-areas for six biomes in 67 countries under the debt service suspension initiative related to COVID19. Using novel methods and data, we find that the 67 countries hold over 22% of glob...
Article
We present the results of our 13th annual horizon scan of issues likely to impact on biodiversity conservation. Issues are either novel within the biological conservation sector or could cause a substantial step-change in impact, either globally or regionally. Our global panel of 26 scientists and practitioners identified 15 issues that we believe...
Article
Developing effective targets for conservation remains a topic of global debate. Ambitious targets for 50% or more of the Earth’s land surface have been proposed, yet balancing human needs with area-based conservation measures remains challenging. Current global conservation targets focus on biodiversity conservation, ignoring ecosystem services and...
Article
Global trade of wildlife is a major driver of species decline. The trade in wildlife actually plays a much larger role in our daily lives than many people realize, and its use and legality are surprisingly complex. Wildlife trade includes the trade of any organism, including fungi, plants and animals, sourced from the wild. This comprises thousands...
Data
Here, using the best available information, I develop maps of the ranges of 2471 vertebrate (birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians) and 1198 plant species, and explore patterns of biodiversity and the adequacy of protection. Each taxon shows different patterns of diversity, and no taxa provided an effective surrogate for diversity patterns in dif...
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The increasing expansion of monoculture plantations poses a major threat to Asian tropical biodiversity. Yet, in many countries such as the Philippines, the ability of species to persist within plantations has never been explored. We studied the seasonal activity and response of fruit bats in two types of monocultural plantations (rubber and oil pa...
Data
Calculation results of ecological indicators in Mainland Southeast Asia
Data
Calculation results of ecological indicators in Mainland Southeast Asia
Data
Calculation results of ecological indicators in Mainland Southeast Asia
Data
Calculation results of ecological indicators in Mainland Southeast Asia
Data
Calculation results of ecological indicators in Mainland Southeast Asia
Data
Calculation results of ecological indicators in Mainland Southeast Asia
Article
Full-text available
Invasive species can reach high abundances and dominate native environments. One of the most impressive examples of ecological invasions is the spread of the African sub‐species of the honey bee throughout the Americas, starting from its introduction in a single locality in Brazil. The invasive honey bee is expected to more negatively impact bee co...
Article
The global trade in wildlife affects most major taxonomic groups (Fukushima et al., 2020; Scheffers et al., 2019). Managing wildlife trade requires an accurate understanding of the dimensions of trade and its impacts (positive, neutral, or negative) on the conservation of native wildlife populations. We are concerned that assertions made by Natusch...
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Full-text available
Societal biosecurity, measures built into everyday society to minimize risks from pests and diseases, is an important aspect of managing epidemics and pandemics. We aimed to identify societal options for reducing the transmission and spread of respiratory viruses. We used SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) as a case study...