Chris Thomas

Chris Thomas
The University of York · Department of Biology

About

298
Publications
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51,098
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Publications

Publications (298)
Article
Full-text available
Mammals have experienced high levels of human‐mediated extirpations but have also been widely introduced to new locations, and some have recovered from historic persecution. Both of these processes ‐ losses and gains ‐ have resulted in concern about functional losses and changes in ecological communities as new ecological states develop. The questi...
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Ambitious national and global pledges to protect increasing areas of land risk trading conservation effectiveness for convenience of designation. We show that UK conservation areas often lie outside the highest biodiversity priority landscapes, and that systematic conservation planning can improve site selection. Cunningham et al. comment on the U....
Preprint
We propose an approach to conservation centred on achieving positive future trajectories of dynamic change, applied to all locations and species, and based on societal inclusiveness. Strategies to facilitate change. We take an Anthropocene perspective, in which human society and biodiversity have been inextricably linked for over 10,000 years, and...
Article
Protected Areas (PAs) are core components of conservation strategies, but the networks they form are rarely assessed for their effectiveness over time. We tested different aspects of effectiveness of the British PA network in achieving long-term biodiversity outcomes, including species representativeness of initial location choices and network resi...
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Illegal hunting is a persistent problem in many protected areas, but an overview of the extent of this problem and its impact on wildlife is lacking. We reviewed 40 years (1980–2020) of global research to examine the spatial distribution of research and socio-ecological factors influencing population decline within protected areas under illegal hun...
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Aim: Climatic changes throughout the Pleistocene have strongly modified species distributions. We examine how these range shifts have affected the genetic diversity of a montane butterfly species and whether the genetic diversity in the extant populations is threatened by future climate change. Location: Europe. Taxon: Erebia epiphron Lepidopt...
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• Trends in insect abundance are well established in some datasets, but far less is known about how abundance measures translate into biomass trends. Moths (Lepidoptera) provide particularly good opportunities to study trends and drivers of biomass change at large spatial and temporal scales, given the existence of long‐term abundance datasets. How...
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Major environmental changes in the history of life on Earth have given rise to novel habitats, which gradually accumulate species. Human‐induced change is no exception, yet the rules governing species accumulation in anthropogenic habitats are not fully developed. Here we propose that nonnative plants introduced to Great Britain may function as ana...
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Advances in phenology (the annual timing of species’ life-cycles) in response to climate change are generally viewed as bioindicators of climate change, but have not been considered as predictors of range expansions. Here, we show that phenology advances combine with the number of reproductive cycles per year (voltinism) to shape abundance and dist...
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Range shifting is vital for species persistence, but there is little consensus on why individual species vary so greatly in the rates at which their ranges have shifted in response to recent climate warming. Here, using 40 years of distribution data for 291 species from 13 invertebrate taxa in Britain, we show that interactions between habitat avai...
Preprint
Full-text available
Trends in insect abundance are well-established in some datasets, but far less is known about how abundance measures translate into biomass trends. Moths (Lepidoptera) provide particularly good opportunities to study trends and drivers of biomass change at large spatial and temporal scales, given the existence of long-term abundance datasets. Howev...
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Full-text available
Climate and land-use change are predicted to lead to widespread changes in population dynamics, but quantitative predictions on the relative effects of these stressors have not yet been examined empirically. We analyzed historical abundance data of 110 terrestrial bird species sampled from 1983 to 2010 along 406 Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) across th...
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Assessing species' vulnerability to climate change is a prerequisite for developing effective strategies to conserve them. The last three decades have seen exponential growth in the number of studies evaluating how, how much, why, when, and where species will be impacted by climate change. We provide an overview of the rapidly developing field of c...
Article
n response to recent climate change. In the present study, we investigated range margin changes at the northern (cool) range margins of 1573 southerly-distributed species from 21 animal groups in Great Britain over the past four decades of climate change, updating previous work. Depending on data availability, range margin changes were examined ove...
Article
We present the results of a process to attempt to identify 100 questions that, if answered, would make a substantial difference to terrestrial and marine landscape restoration in Europe. Representatives from a wide range of European governmental and non-governmental conservation organisations, universities, independent ecolo-gists and land managers...
Article
It is important for conservationists to be able to assess the risks that climate change poses to species, in order to inform decision making. Using standardised and repeatable methods, we present a national-scale assessment of the risks of range loss and opportunities for range expansion that climate change could pose for over 3000 plants and anima...
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Abundance data are the foundation for many ecological and conservation projects, but are only available for a few taxonomic groups. In contrast, distribution records (georeferenced presence records) are more widely available. Here we examine whether year-to-year changes in numbers of distribution records, collated over a large spatial scale, can pr...
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Climate change vulnerability assessments are commonly used to identify species at risk from global climate change, but the wide range of methodologies available makes it difficult for end users, such as conservation practitioners or policymakers, to decide which method to use as a basis for decision-making. In this study, we evaluate whether differ...
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Chytridiomycosis has decimated amphibian biodiversity. Management options for the disease are currently limited, but habitat manipulation holds promise due to the thermal and physicochemical sensitivities of chytrid fungi. Here, we quantify the extent to which habitat management could reduce metapopulation extinction risk for an Australian frog sus...
Article
AimsTo investigate how habitat change and different levels of protection interact to determine variation in the (alpha and beta) diversity of bird communities in three bioclimatic zones, considering the impacts of non-native species, and the contribution of these effects to global (gamma) diversity. LocationSierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, central M...
Preprint
Climate change vulnerability assessments are commonly used to identify species at risk from global climate change, but the wide range of methodologies available makes it difficult for end users, such as conservation practitioners or policy makers, to decide which method to use as a basis for decision-making. Here, we compare the outputs of 12 such...
Data
Table S2. Comparison of severity and duration of larval cold exposure in field and laboratory experiments.
Data
Methods S1. Additional information relating to the design of field and laboratory experiments.
Data
Table S1. Microclimate data from field experiments.
Article
The responses of animals and plants to recent climate change vary greatly from species to species, but attempts to understand this variation have met with limited success. This has led to concerns that predictions of responses are inherently uncertain because of the complexity of interacting drivers and biotic interactions. However, we show for an...
Article
I recently suggested that we should start thinking about recent ‘examples’ of speciation as contributing to an overall ‘rate’ of speciation. I hypothesised that the current plant speciation rate is high, that it has accelerated during the Anthropocene, and that it could possibly be the highest since plants colonised the land [1]. The scientific cha...
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Climate change has the capacity to alter physical and biological ecosystem processes, jeopardizing the survival of associated species. This is a particular concern in cool, wet northern peatlands that could experience warmer, drier conditions. Here we show that climate, ecosystem processes and food chains combine to influence the population perform...
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Many species are more restricted in their habitat associations at the leading-edges of their range margins, but some species have broadened their habitat associations in these regions during recent climate change. We examine the effects of multiple, interacting climatic variables on spatial and temporal patterns of species' habitat associations, us...
Article
The ability of species' to undergo climate-driven range shifts across fragmented landscapes depends on their dispersal ability as well as the structure of the landscape. For species' range shifts to occur, individuals must first leave suitable habitat to seek new habitat; this is likely to depend on the rate of movement of individuals within habita...
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There are large variations in the responses of species to the environmental changes of recent decades, heightening interest in whether their traits may explain inter-specific differences in range expansions and contractions. Using a long-term distributional dataset, we calculated range changes of grasshoppers and crickets in Britain between the 198...
Article
Metapopulation persistence in fragmented landscapes depends on habitat patches that can support resilient local populations and sufficient connectivity between patches. Yet epidemiological theory for metapopulations has largely overlooked the capacity of particular patches to act as refuges from disease, and has suggested that connectivity can unde...
Article
Speciation rates need to be considered when estimating human impacts on the numbers of species on Earth, given that past mass extinctions have been followed by the accelerated origination of new taxa. Here, I suggest that the Anthropocene is already exhibiting a greatly accelerated plant speciation rate due to agriculture, horticulture, and the hum...
Article
Full-text available
Many species are extending their leading-edge (cool) range margins polewards in response to recent climate change. In the present study, we investigated range margin changes at the northern (cool) range margins of 1573 southerly-distributed species from 21 animal groups in Great Britain over the past four decades of climate change, updating previou...
Article
Hulme et al. (1) question the conclusions of our research on the impact of non-native plants on British plant diversity (2). We clearly state that “some non-native species become common in some locations, and thereby alter the local flora, and there may be local implications for conservation” (2), which seems to be Hulme et al.’s (1) main point, bu...
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Global environmental changes have been driving large-scale shifts in the distributions of species and in the composition of biological communities. This has thrown the continuing value of Protected Areas (PAs) into question, given that PAs remain static, whereas species move, and they are predicted to continue to move under future climate scenarios...
Article
Plants are commonly listed as invasive species, presuming that they cause harm at both global and regional scales. Approximately 40% of all species listed as invasive within Britain are plants. However, invasive plants are rarely linked to the national or global extinction of native plant species. The possible explanation is that competitive exclus...
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A cornerstone of conservation is the designation and management of protected areas (PAs): locations often under conservation management containing species of conservation concern, where some development and other detrimental influences are prevented or mitigated. However, the value of PAs for conserving biodiversity in the long term has been questi...
Article
Species are often observed to occur in restricted patches of particularly warm microclimate at their high latitude/altitude geographic range margin. In these areas, global warming is expected to cause small-scale expansion of the occupied area, but most previous studies of range expansion have used very coarse scale data. Using high resolution micr...
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It is uncertain whether Protected Areas (PAs) will conserve high abundances of species as their distributions and abundances shift in response to climate change. We analysed large datasets for 57 butterfly and 42 odonate species (including 4 that have recently colonised Britain). We found that 73 of 94 species with sufficient data for analysis were...
Article
Species’ abundances vary in space and time. Describing these patterns is a cornerstone of macroecology. Moreover, trends in population size are an important criterion for the assessment of a species’ conservation status. Because abundance trends are not homogeneous in space, we need to quantify variation in abundance trends across the geographical...
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Predicting biodiversity responses to climate change remains a difficult challenge, especially in climatically complex regions where precipitation is a limiting factor. Though statistical climatic envelope models are frequently used to project future scenarios for species distributions under climate change, these models are rarely tested using empir...
Article
AimProtected wildlife habitats provide valuable stepping stones for species that shift their distributions in response to climatic and other environmental changes, but they might also aid the spread of invasive alien species. Here, we quantify the use of protected areas (PAs) by both introduced and natural wetland colonists in the UK to analyse pat...
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Species’ distributions are likely to be affected by a combination of environmental drivers. We used a data set of 11 million species occurrence records over the period 1970–2010 to assess changes in the frequency of occurrence of 673 macro-moth species in Great Britain. Groups of species with different predicted sensitivities showed divergent trend...
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The habitat associations of individuals underpin the dynamics of species distributions. Broad-scale gradients in climate can alter habitat associations across species’ geographic ranges, but topographic heterogeneity creates local microclimates which could generate variation in habitat use at finer spatial scales. We examined the selection of micro...
Article
There is a need to adapt biodiversity conservation to climate change, but few empirical studies are available to guide decision-making. Existing networks of protected areas (PAs) have been preferentially colonized during species’ range expansions, but this could be due to their original habitat quality and/or to ongoing management activity. Here, w...
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Generalist species and phenotypes are expected to perform best under rapid environmental change. In contrast to this view that generalists will inherit the Earth, we find that increased use of a single host plant is associated with the recent climate-driven range expansion of the UK brown argus butterfly. Field assays of female host plant preferenc...
Article
There is little consensus as to why there is so much variation in the rates at which different species’ geographic ranges expand in response to climate warming. Here we show that the relative importance of species’ abundance trends and habitat availability for British butterfly species vary over time. Species with high habitat availability expanded...
Article
Full-text available
The dynamic nature and diversity of species’ responses to climate change poses significant difficulties for developing robust, long-term conservation strategies. One key question is whether existing protected area networks will remain effective in a changing climate. To test this, we developed statistical models that link climate to the abundance o...
Article
Humanity has wrought an age of ecological transformations. It is time to rethink our irrational dislike of invading species, argues Chris D. Thomas.
Article
A simple approach is suggested to project potential changes in the diversity of vascular plants. We use the current (recent past) relationship between plant diversity and geographic variation in the climate, as well as elevation range, to project changes in regional species richness (at 100 × 100 km resolution), concentrating on six climate scenari...