Brett R Scheffers

Brett R Scheffers
University of Florida | UF · Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation

PhD

About

84
Publications
69,349
Reads
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6,732
Citations
Citations since 2016
50 Research Items
6232 Citations
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201620172018201920202021202202004006008001,0001,2001,400
201620172018201920202021202202004006008001,0001,2001,400
201620172018201920202021202202004006008001,0001,2001,400
Additional affiliations
September 2013 - April 2015
James Cook University
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (84)
Article
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Aim: Many studies have explored taxon-specific richness patterns with elevation, but few have concurrently evaluated different mechanisms to explain elevational patterns across multiple taxa. We used a novel, cross-taxa approach to study species richness patterns combined with a framework that tests drivers of species accumulation versus decline al...
Article
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Tropical forests harbour the highest levels of terrestrial biodiversity and represent some of the most complex ecosystems on Earth, with a significant portion of this diversity above ground. Although the vertical dimension is a central aspect of the ecology of forest communities, there is little consensus as to prominence, evenness, and consistency...
Article
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A key component of nature’s contribution to people is aesthetic value.¹,² Charismatic species rally public support and bolster conservation efforts.³,⁴ However, an insidious aspect to humanity’s valuation of nature is that high value also drives wildlife trade,⁵,⁶ which can spearhead the demise of prized species.7, 8, 9 Here, we explore the antagon...
Article
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In tropical forests, large, old trees (LOTs) can be considered keystone structures for provisioning unique habitats such as decaying wood, roots, cavities, and epiphytes, including those that hold water (phytotelmata). These habitats may also be stratified in vertical space, for example, root structures occur at ground level and below, whereas epip...
Article
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Research in global change ecology relies heavily on global climatic grids derived from estimates of air temperature in open areas at around 2 m above the ground. These climatic grids do not reflect conditions below vegetation canopies and near the ground surface, where critical ecosystem functions occur and most terrestrial species reside. Here, we...
Article
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) regulates international legal trade to prevent the detrimental harvest of wildlife. We assess the volumes of threatened and non-threatened bird, mammal, amphibian, and reptile species in the CITES-managed trade and how this trade responded to category change...
Article
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Native species can coexist with invasive congeners by partitioning niche space; however, impacts from invasive species often occur alongside other disturbances. Native species’ responses to the interactions of multiple disturbances remain poorly understood. Here we study the impacts of urbanization and an invasive congener on a native species. Usin...
Article
en Physiological strategies of terrestrial ectotherms are a delicate interplay between species’ traits and their physical environment. Several theories and overarching hypotheses seek to explain strategies related to thermal physiology with respect to organisms and their environments. However, most of these have been investigated under controlled l...
Article
Forest canopies buffer macroclimatic temperature fluctuations. However, we do not know if and how the capacity of canopies to buffer understorey temperature will change with accelerating climate change. Here we map the difference (offset) between temperatures inside and outside forests in the recent past and project these into the future in boreal,...
Article
Determining how species thermal limits correlate with climate is important for understanding biogeographic patterns and assessing vulnerability to climate change. Such analyses need to consider thermal gradients at multiple spatial scales. Here we relate thermal traits of rainforest ants to microclimate conditions from ground to canopy (microgeogra...
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...
Article
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Describing the patterns and revealing the underlying mechanisms responsible for variations in community structure remains a central focus in ecology. However, important gaps remain, including our understanding of species abundance. Most studies on abundance-based relationships are from either temperate ecosystems or tropical ecosystems, and few hav...
Article
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Butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) are one of the most studied, diverse, and widespread animal groups, making them an ideal model for climate change research. They are a particularly informative model for studying the effects of climate change on species ecology because they are ectotherms that thermoregulate with a suite of physiological, behavio...
Article
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The wildlife trade is worth billions of dollars annually and affects most major taxonomic groups. Despite this, a global understanding of the trade’s impacts on species populations is lacking. We performed a quantitative meta-analysis of the wildlife trade that synthesized 506 species-level effect sizes from 31 studies, estimating trade-driven decl...
Article
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The broadening in species’ thermal tolerance limits and breadth from tropical to temperate latitudes is proposed to reflect spatial gradients in temperature seasonality, but the importance of seasonal shifts in thermal tolerances within and across locations is much less appreciated. We performed thermal assays to examine the maximum and minimum cri...
Article
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Issue Climate change, and its impacts on ecological, agricultural and other societal systems, is most often studied by relying on temperature data derived from countrywide weather‐station networks. Yet, these data do not capture microclimates, those arising from soil, vegetation and topography, at spatial scales relevant to the majority of organism...
Preprint
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Research in environmental science relies heavily on global climatic grids derived from estimates of air temperature at around 2 meter above ground1-3. These climatic grids however fail to reflect conditions near and below the soil surface, where critical ecosystem functions such as soil carbon storage are controlled and most biodiversity resides4-8...
Article
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Aim We propose that forest trees create a vertical dimension for ecological niche variation that generates different regimes of climatic exposure, which in turn drives species elevation distributions. We test this hypothesis by statistically modelling the vertical and elevation distributions and microclimate exposure of rainforest ants. Location W...
Article
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Forest microclimates contrast strongly with the climate outside forests. To fully understand and better predict how forests' biodiversity and functions relate to climate and climate change, microclimates need to be integrated into ecological research. Despite the potentially broad impact of microclimates on the response of forest ecosystems to glob...
Article
Organisms with complex ecologies and life-cycle processes may shift physiologically (acclimation in tolerance), developmentally, and/or behaviorally (thermoregulation) in response to changes in climate. As such, climate change may trigger multiple, interacting phenotypic responses, which underscores the nuances of characterizing a species capacity...
Article
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Anonychomyrma is a dolichoderine ant genus of cool-temperate Gondwanan origin with a current distribution that extends from the north of southern Australia into the Australasian tropics. Despite its abundance and ecological dominance, little is known of its species diversity and distribution throughout its range. Here, we describe the diversity and...
Article
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Dendrobatid poison frogs sequester lipophilic alkaloids from their arthropod prey to use as a form of chemical defense. Some dendrobatid frogs seasonally migrate between the leaf litter of the forest floor in the dry season to the canopy in the wet season, which may yield differences in prey (arthropods) and therefore alkaloid availability over spa...
Article
1. Global warming is having impacts across the Tree of Life. Understanding species’ physiological sensitivity to temperature change and how they relate to local temperature variation in their habitats is crucial to determining vulnerability to global warming. 2. We ask how species’ vulnerability varies across habitats and elevations, and how climat...
Article
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Disturbance shapes ecological communities. Frequency, predictability, and intensity characterize disturbances, which select for resistant and/or resilient traits of species. Unpredictable and infrequent disturbance events, especially those with no reliable cues, lack selection strength and have less calculable effects on species assemblages and tra...
Article
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Aim Tropical forests are vertically complex, and offer unique niche opportunities in the form of climate, habitat and resource gradients from ground to canopy. Rainforest species organize within this vertical spatial gradient and recent macroecological research suggests that the highest levels of vertical stratification occur in structurally comple...
Article
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In tropical forests, epiphytes increase habitat complexity and provision services rare to canopy environments, such as water retention, nutrient cycling, and microclimate refuge. These services facilitate species diversity and coexistence in terrestrial ecosystems, and while their utility in forest ecosystems is appreciated for the Bromeliaceae of...
Article
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Regional diversity can increase owing to either the packing of species within regional niche space or the expansion of regional niche space. Yet, the primary factors dictating these dynamics remain poorly understood. Here, we assess the relative influence of current environmental conditions (net primary productivity, NPP) versus historic environmen...
Article
A heavy toll Trade in wildlife, and their parts, is well recognized for a few key species, such as elephants and rhinos, but it occurs globally, across a wide array of species. Scheffers et al. looked across tens of thousands of vertebrate species and found that one in every five species is affected by trade of some sort. The impacts of trade tend...
Article
This Perspective describes persecution, protection and ignorance archetypes for managing and monitoring species redistribution under climate change, and argues for global shared governance agreements to cope with species shifts into new geopolitical areas.
Article
Amphibians are among the most highly threatened lineages, with at least 2,000 species estimated to be in danger of extinction [1, 2]. Alarmingly, another ~2,200 species (~25% of all ~7,900 known species) are data-deficient or Not Evaluated (hereinafter termed data-deficient) by the IUCN [1]. Without an estimate of their status, data-deficient speci...
Article
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Macroclimate warming is often assumed to occur within forests despite the potential for tree cover to modify microclimates. Here, using paired measurements, we compared the temperatures under the canopy versus in the open at 98 sites across 5 continents. We show that forests function as a thermal insulator, cooling the understory when ambient tempe...
Article
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Climate change and habitat modification both alter thermal environments and species distributions. However, these drivers of global change are rarely studied together, even though many species are experiencing climate change and habitat modification simultaneously. Here we review existing literature and propose avenues for merging the largely dispa...
Article
Aim: Geographic distributions are driven by a combination of species sensitivity and exposure to climate. We quantified colour lightness, a trait that mediates the interaction between sensitivity and exposure, of diverse butterfly communities to test whether colour lightness is associated with community assembly across climate‐elevation gradients....
Article
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1.Assemblage similarity decays with geographic distance-a pattern known as the distance-decay relationship. While this pattern has been investigated for a wide range of organisms, ecosystems, and geographical gradients, whether these changes vary more cryptically across different forest strata (from ground to canopy) remains elusive. 2.Here, we inv...
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Species distributions in terrestrial ecosystems are three‐dimensional, spanning both the horizontal landscape and the vertical space provided by the physical environment. Classical hypotheses suggest that communities become more vertically stratified with increasing species richness, owing to reduced competition or finer niche subdivision. However,...
Article
According to a prevailing hypothesis, lowland tropical organisms are unlikely to successfully cross mountain passes because they have neither acclimated nor adapted to the colder temperatures found at higher elevations. However, this expectation assumes that changes in temperature are uniform across space and fails to account for the presence of di...
Article
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Climate change is driving a pervasive global redistribution of the planet's species. Species redistribution poses new questions for the study of ecosystems, conservation science and human societies that require a coordinated and integrated approach. Here we review recent progress, key gaps and strategic directions in this nascent research area, emp...
Article
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Climate change is driving a pervasive global redistribution of the planet's species. Species redistribution poses new questions for the study of ecosystems, conservation science and human societies that require a coordinated and integrated approach. Here we review recent progress, key gaps and strategic directions in this nascent research area, emp...
Article
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Unprecedented global climate change and increasing rates of infectious disease emergence are occurring simultaneously. Infection with emerging pathogens may alter the thermal thresholds of hosts. However, the effects of fungal infection on host thermal limits have not been examined. Moreover, the influence of infections on the heat tolerance of hos...
Article
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Vernal pools are small, ephemeral wetlands that act as distinct aquatic “islands” of biodiversity embedded in the Cumberland Plateau landscape of the southeastern United States. Specifically, many amphibian species in the region are dependent on the maintenance of these pools within the surrounding terrestrial habitat in order to complete their com...
Article
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Consequences of shifting species distributions Climate change is causing geographical redistribution of plant and animal species globally. These distributional shifts are leading to new ecosystems and ecological communities, changes that will affect human society. Pecl et al. review these current and future impacts and assess their implications for...
Article
Species that respond favourably to environmental change tend to be mobile or dispersive. Living within trees has some benefits over life on the ground. Species that move vertically within forest canopies can take advantage of increased complexity and resource availability, which should correspond to increased resilience to environmental variability...
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Accumulating impacts Anthropogenic climate change is now in full swing, our global average temperature already having increased by 1°C from preindustrial levels. Many studies have documented individual impacts of the changing climate that are particular to species or regions, but individual impacts are accumulating and being amplified more broadly....
Book
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Predicting climate change impacts on biodiversity is a major scientific challenge, but doing so is important for assessing extinction risk, developing conservation action plans, providing guidance for laws and regulations, and identifying the mechanisms and patterns of impact to inform climate change adaptation. In the few decades since the threat...
Article
Given the dramatic loss of tropical forests and accelerating climate change, secondary forest regeneration is increasingly recognised as being an important method for reversing losses in biodiversity and carbon stocks. The recolonisation of biodiversity within secondary forests depends in part upon the recovery of forest structure, including the ra...
Article
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Morphology mediates the relationship between an organism's body temperature and its environment. Dark organisms, for example, tend to absorb heat more quickly than lighter individuals, which could influence their responses to temperature. Therefore, temperature-related traits such as morphology may affect patterns of species abundance, richness, an...
Article
Constructed wetlands in urban environments may be used by urban amphibian populations for breeding. Yet, few studies have examined the performance of young-of-the-year from created wetlands even though the success of terrestrial life stages is directly linked to the performance of individuals at the egg and larval stage. We assessed how early-stage...
Article
Urbanization has been linked to amphibian population declines globally. Habitat fragmentation can negatively impact gene flow among populations but what role artificially constructed wetlands have in maintaining gene flow in urban amphibian populations remains uncertain. We assessed gene flow in a population of wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) in...
Article
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The effects of climate change on biodiversity are increasingly well documented, and many methods have been developed to assess species' vulnerability to climatic changes, both ongoing and projected in the coming decades. To minimize global biodiversity losses, conservationists need to identify those species that are likely to be most vulnerable to...
Article
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Epiphytes are important for canopy dwelling organisms because they provide a cool and moist microhabitat in the relatively hot and dry canopy. Here we examine whether epiphytic Asplenium ferns act as important habitats for arboreal frogs. We conducted extensive fern and habitat surveys for frogs in the Philippines, and complimented these surveys wi...
Article
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Vegetated habitats contain a variety of fine-scale features that can ameliorate temperate extremes. These buffered microhabitats may be used by species to evade extreme weather and novel climates in the future. Yet, the magnitude and extent of this buffering on a global scale remains unknown. Across all tropical continents and using 36 published st...
Article
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Forest and wetland degradation due to human disturbance is detrimental to pond-breeding amphibians that require both aquatic and terrestrial habitats to complete their complex life cycle. in this study, we examined the importance of forest cover within concentric non-overlapping terrestrial zones on amphibian reproductive effort. on the southern Cu...
Article
Extreme weather events, such as unusually hot or dry conditions, can cause death by exceeding physiological limits, and so cause loss of population. Survival will depend on whether or not susceptible organisms can find refuges that buffer extreme conditions. Microhabitats offer different microclimates to those found within the wider ecosystem, but...
Article
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Biodiversity is spatially organized by climatic gradients across elevation and latitude. But do other gradients exist that might drive biogeographic patterns? Here, we show that rainforest's vertical strata provide climatic gradients much steeper than those offered by elevation and latitude, and biodiversity of arboreal species is organized along t...
Article
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Species may circumvent the impacts of climate warming if the habitats they use reduce ambient temperature. In this study, we identified which frog species from a tropical montane rain forest in the Philippines may be vulnerable to climate warming. To do so, we selected five anuran species that utilize four breeding habitats and identified the sensi...
Article
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Invasive insects and fungal pathogens have triggered numerous declines in ecologically important tree species in the forests of eastern North America. Although now functionally extinct in many ecosystems, these tree species have been able to persist through sprouting or the presence of a low density of resistant individuals. In this study, we docum...