David Chapple

David Chapple
Monash University (Australia) · School of Biological Sciences, Clayton

PhD

About

336
Publications
65,329
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6,551
Citations
Citations since 2016
122 Research Items
4243 Citations
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Introduction
I investigate the evolutionary ecology of environmental change. I use field studies, field- and lab-based experiments, comparative analyses, morphological analyses and molecular approaches to examine the impact of past, current, and future environmental change on phenotype, life-history, and distribution. I use squamate reptiles as model systems in which to examine the ecological and evolutionary impacts of environmental change.

Publications

Publications (336)
Article
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Environments, particularly developmental environments, can generate a considerable amount of phenotypic variation through phenotypic plasticity. Plasticity in response to incubation temperature is well characterised in egg-laying reptiles. However, traits do not always vary independently of one another, and studies encompassing a broad range of tra...
Article
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Restoring levels of genetic diversity in small and declining populations is increasingly being considered in biodiversity conservation. Evidence-based genetic management requires assessment of risks and benefits of crossing populations. Because risks are challenging to assess experimentally, e.g. through multi-generational crosses, decision-support...
Article
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Biological invasions are a multi-stage process (i.e., transport, introduction, establishment, spread), with each stage potentially acting as a selective filter on traits associated with invasion success. Behavior (e.g., exploration, activity, boldness) plays a key role in facilitating species introductions, but whether invasion acts as a selective...
Article
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Viviparity has evolved more times in squamates than in any other vertebrate group; therefore, squamates offer an excellent model system in which to study the patterns, drivers and implications of reproductive mode evolution. Based on current species distributions, we examined three selective forces hypothesized to drive the evolution of squamate vi...
Article
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The social environment is a key factor that influences behavioural traits across a wide array of species. Yet, when investigating individual differences in behaviour, studies tend to measure animals in isolation from other conspecifics—even in social species. Surprisingly, whether behavioural traits measured in isolation are predictive of individua...
Article
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Developmental environments play a significant role in shaping animal phenotype, including behavior. Within a species, individuals often differ in behavior in a consistent and repeatable way (i.e., demonstrate animal personality). This consistency in behavior can be affected by differences in conditions experienced early in life. It is, however, unc...
Article
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Context The cane toad ( Rhinella marina ) is one of the most globally significant and well-studied invasive alien species, and the detrimental impacts of its invasions warrant the design and application of decision support tools. While many models have been developed for guiding policies addressing cane toad invasions, none reliably predict the spe...
Article
Human-mediated dispersal of animals often acts to bring populations that have been separated for substantial periods of evolutionary time (e.g. millions of years) in their native range into contact in their introduced range. Whether these taxa successfully interbreed in the introduced range provides information on the strength of reproductive isola...
Article
Fieldwork, known for fostering more engaging and authentic learning experiences, is an established tradition in higher education which is changing; increasingly run on-campus for financial and logistical reasons and enhanced through education technologies to reflect industry practices. Here we examine student perceptions of on-campus fieldwork with...
Article
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The Red List of Threatened Species, published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is a crucial tool for conservation decision-making. However, despite substantial effort, numerous species remain unassessed or have insufficient data available to be assigned a Red List extinction risk category. Moreover, the Red Listing proc...
Article
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The likelihood of extinction within the next 20 years was determined for 47 Australian mammal, bird, reptile, frog and freshwater fish taxa previously identified as being highly imperilled. A 14-member expert elicitation panel, consisting of a mix of taxon experts and government managers of threatened species, estimated that there was a > 50% chanc...
Article
Many ectotherms are at risk from climate change as temperatures are increasingly exceeding their thermal limits. Many evaluations of the vulnerability of ectotherms to climate change have relied on statistical metrics derived from coarse‐scale climatic data, which may result in misleading predictions. By applying an integrative approach, we investi...
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Limb‐reduced squamates are a convenient model system to investigate macroevolutionary trends in morphology. Here, we provide morphological, ecological and literature data on all known species of limb‐reduced skinks (Scincidae) and their relatives, representing one of the most diverse and widely distributed groups of limb‐reduced squamates. Global....
Article
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Comprehensive assessments of species’ extinction risks have documented the extinction crisis and underpinned strategies for reducing those risks. Global assessments reveal that, among tetrapods, 40.7% of amphibians, 25.4% of mammals and 13.6% of birds are threatened with extinction. Because global assessments have been lacking, reptiles have been o...
Article
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Aim Introduced predators negatively impact biodiversity globally, with insular fauna often most severely affected. Here, we assess spatial variation in the number of terrestrial vertebrates (excluding amphibians) killed by two mammalian mesopredators introduced to Australia, the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and feral cat (Felis catus). We aim to identif...
Article
Full-text available
Comprehensive assessments of species’ extinction risks have documented the extinction crisis and underpinned strategies for reducing those risks. Global assessments reveal that, among tetrapods, 40.7% of amphibians, 25.4% of mammals and 13.6% of birds are threatened with extinction. Because global assessments have been lacking, reptiles have been o...
Article
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Many animals have strict diel activity patterns, with unique adaptations for either diurnal or nocturnal activity. Diel activity is phylogenetically conserved, yet evolutionary shifts in diel activity occur and lead to important changes in an organism's morphology, physiology, and behaviour. We use phylogenetic comparative methods to examine the ev...
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Aim The incidence of major fires is increasing globally, creating extraordinary challenges for governments, managers and conservation scientists. In 2019–2020, Australia experienced precedent‐setting fires that burned over several months, affecting seven states and territories and causing massive biodiversity loss. Whilst the fires were still burni...
Article
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Physiology is crucial for the survival of invasive species in new environments. Yet, new climatic conditions and the limited genetic variation found within many invasive populations may influence physiological responses to new environmental conditions. Here, we studied the case of the delicate skinks (Lampropholis delicata) invading Lord Howe Islan...
Article
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After environmental disasters, species with large population losses may need urgent protection to prevent extinction and support recovery. Following the 2019–2020 Australian megafires, we estimated population losses and recovery in fire‐affected fauna, to inform conservation status assessments and management. Temperate and subtropical Australia. 20...
Article
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Understanding the demographic consequences of habitat loss on populations is essential for the conservation of threatened species. The threatened swamp skink (Lissolepis coventryi) is restricted to fragmented wetland habitats in Victoria and southeast South Australia. It has experienced significant habitat loss in the last 150 years, particularly a...
Article
The primary drivers of species and population extirpations have been habitat loss, overexploitation and invasive species, but human‐mediated climate change is expected to be a major driver in future. To minimise biodiversity loss, conservation managers should identify species vulnerable to climate change and prioritise their protection. Here, we es...
Article
Physiological responses to climate can be used to quantify the environmental limits that a species can tolerate and are, therefore, key to biogeographical studies. Several ecophysiological responses to climatic factors may shape the distribution of species, but our knowledge is mostly centred in thermal ecophysiology. We applied an integrative appr...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Red List of Threatened Species, published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is a crucial tool for conservation decision making. However, despite substantial effort, numerous species remain unassessed, or have insufficient data available to be assigned a Red List threat category. Moreover, the Red Listing process is s...
Article
Microscale differences in the habitats organisms occupy can influence selection regimes and promote intraspecific variation of traits. Temperature-dependent traits can be locally adapted to climatic conditions or be highly conserved and insensitive to directional selection under all but the most extreme regimes, and thus be similar across populatio...
Article
1. Ecological network structure is maintained by a generalist core of common species. However, rare species contribute substantially to both the species and functional diversity of networks. Capturing changes in species composition and interactions, measured as turnover, is central to understanding the contribution of rare and common species and th...
Article
Adaptive radiations have proven important for understanding the mechanisms and processes underlying biological diversity. The convergence of form and function, as well as admixture and adaptive introgression, are common in adaptive radiations. However, distinguishing between these two scenarios remains a challenge for evolutionary research. The Mid...
Article
Geographic range size varies greatly across species. Climate, along with aspects of a species’ biology, may influence its spatial extent. We investigate intrinsic and extrinsic predictors of range size in Australian skinks. We predicted that larger body size, longer limbs, and larger clutch sizes would be associated with larger ranges, and that ran...
Article
Aim Our understanding of species’ responses to climate depends on choosing the scale for the analysis. Processes driving physiological adaptation that occur at the small spatial scales most relevant to animals may be masked in correlations between organismal traits and broad-scale climatologies, but the extent to which this undermines our understan...
Article
New Zealand is home to a diverse cool temperate assemblage of skinks, with 60+ identified taxa (genus Oligosoma Girard), of which only 50 have been formally described. Here we describe a new species (Oligosoma kakerakau sp. nov.) from Bream Head Scenic Reserve, near Whangārei Heads, Northland. This species is considered to be conspecific with a sin...
Article
Within populations, individuals often differ consistently in their average level of behavior (i.e., animal personality), as well as their response to environmental change (i.e., behavioral plasticity). Thus, changes in environmental conditions might be expected to mediate the structure of animal personality traits. However, it is currently not well...
Article
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The introduction of species outside their native range is an insidious form of human-induced environmental change, with mounting evidence that behaviour, either through plastic behavioural responses or adaptive changes, can play a vital role in mediating invasion success. In particular, when species invade non-native habitats, they often leave behi...
Article
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Biological invasions are a prominent example of human-induced environmental change that pose a significant threat to worldwide biodiversity. Recent evidence suggests that behavioural traits play a key role in mediating invasion success. However, little research has investigated how rapidly behavioural traits can change during the initial stages of...
Article
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Abstract To manage populations of threatened species according to the IUCN’s One Plan Approach, knowledge about both in situ and ex situ populations is required. To enhance the conservation of threatened skinks and to gain an overview which skink species are kept in zoos, and thus already have an ex situ conservation component, we analysed data fro...
Article
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Australia is in the midst of an extinction crisis, having already lost 10% of terrestrial mammal fauna since European settlement and with hundreds of other species at high risk of extinction. The decline of the nation's biota is a result of an array of threatening processes; however, a comprehensive taxon-specific understanding of threats and their...
Article
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Recognizing the imperative to evaluate species recovery and conservation impact, in 2012 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) called for development of a "Green List of Species" (now the IUCN Green Status of Species). A draft Green Status framework for assessing species' progress toward recovery, published in 2018, proposed 2 s...
Article
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Context. Invasive species are a major cause of biodiversity loss across much of the world, and a key threat to Australia's diverse reptile fauna. There has been no previous comprehensive analysis of the potential impact of the introduced European red fox, Vulpes vulpes, on Australian reptiles. Aims. We seek to provide an inventory of all Australia...
Article
Aim: Identification of particular traits that predispose species to elevated extinction risk is an important component of proactive conservation. We capitalise on a recent strategic extinction risk assessment of all Australian squamate reptiles to identify intrinsic life history traits and extrinsic threats that correlate with extinction risk. We f...
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Global biodiversity loss is a profound consequence of human activity. Disturbingly, biodiversity loss is greater than realized because of the unknown number of undocumented species. Conservation fundamentally relies on taxonomic recognition of species, but only a fraction of biodiversity is described. Here, we provide a new quantitative approach fo...
Article
Populations of the same species occupying different microhabitats can either exhibit generalized traits across them or display intraspecific variability, adapting to each microhabitat in order to maximize performance. Intraspecific variability contributes to the generation of diversity, following selection and adaptation, and understanding such var...
Article
Behaviour is a highly labile trait that can be rapidly modified to mitigate the effects of changing environmental conditions. Among the biotic and abiotic factors acting to prompt plastic responses, the social environment has been proposed as being one of the primary modulating forces on behaviour. Being part of a group has particular influence on...
Article
Rocky environments host rich levels of biodiversity and provide vital habitat for specialised organisms, range‐restricted species, and a broad range of ectotherms adapted to saxicoline environments. In Australia, rock habitat is being destroyed during soil amelioration practices associated with agricultural intensification. Advances in rock crushin...
Article
Our knowledge of the conservation status of reptiles, the most diverse class of terrestrial vertebrates, has improved dramatically over the past decade, but still lags behind that of the other tetrapod groups. Here, we conduct the first comprehensive evaluation (~92% of the world's ~1714 described species) of the conservation 1 Joint senior authors...
Article
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Through using different sources, population reintroductions can create genetically diverse populations at low risk of harmful inbreeding and well‐equipped for adaptation to future environments. Genetic variation from one source can mask locally non‐optimal alleles from another, thereby enhancing adaptive potential and population persistence. We ass...
Article
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Context In montane systems, closely related species tend to segregate spatially along elevational gradients. The role of biotic interactions, relative to species physiological requirements, in maintaining these distribution patterns is an important question in spatial ecology. Theory suggests that the role of interspecific competition can be signif...
Article
Aim Climatic variation has long been regarded as a primary source of morphological variation. However, there is mixed support for the adherence of reptiles to ecogeographical hypotheses, such as Bergmann’s rule (body size decreases with temperature) and Allen’s rule (limb length increases with temperature). We quantified body and limb morphology am...
Article
Elongated snake-like bodies associated with limb reduction have evolved multiple times throughout vertebrate history. Limb-reduced squamates (lizards and snakes) account for the vast majority of these morphological transformations, and thus have great potential for revealing macroevolutionary transitions and modes of body-shape transformation. Here...
Article
Noise pollution is an underappreciated component of global environmental change and can impact species that have a strong reliance on acoustic communication. In urban areas, traffic noise can interfere with the ability of animals to communicate and complete essential aspects of their daily lives. We investigated the impact of traffic noise on the c...
Article
Invasive species are a major threat to biodiversity worldwide, causing many of the recent declines and extinctions of native species. Competition is a common mechanism through which invasive species impact the native biota. In particular, exploitative competition results when the invader outcompetes native species for essential resources, such as f...
Article
Behavioral syndromes, when individuals within a population express consistent behavioral differences across time and context, are widespread in animal taxa. For many species, males and females experience different selective pressures after maturation, resulting in the divergence of life‐history and behavioral traits. However, the potential for sex‐...
Article
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Australia hosts approximately 10% of the world's reptile species, the largest number of any country. Despite this and evidence of widespread decline, the first comprehensive assessment of the conservation status of Australian terrestrial squamates (snakes and lizards) was undertaken only recently. Here we apply structured expert elicitation to the...
Article
The rapid changes in altitude, and associated habitat, of mountain ecosystems make them ideal natural laboratories for testing the effect of environmental heterogeneity on species assemblage. Our understanding of the sensitivity of Australian reptiles to elevational clines is limited. We examined lizard distribution across three elevation zones (mo...
Article
Aim Clutch size is a key life‐history trait. In lizards, it ranges over two orders of magnitude. The global drivers of spatial and phylogenetic variation in clutch have been extensively studied in birds, but such tests in other organisms are lacking. To test the generality of latitudinal gradients in clutch size, and their putative drivers, we pres...
Article
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Background: Members of the cysteine-rich secretory proteins (CRISPS), antigen 5 (Ag5) and pathogenesis-related 1 (Pr-1) (CAP) superfamily of proteins are found across the bacterial, fungal, plant and animal kingdoms. Although many CAP superfamily proteins remain poorly characterized, over the past decade evidence has accumulated, which provides in...
Article
Thermally variable environments are particularly challenging for ectotherms as physiological functions are thermo-dependent. As a consequence, ectotherms in highly seasonal environments are predicted to have greater thermal plasticity. However, much of our understanding of thermal plasticity comes from controlled experiments in a laboratory setting...
Article
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A key challenge in invasion biology is identifying characteristics that allow some species to be repeatedly successful at invading novel environments. Invasions can often be disproportionately driven by a single sex, with differences in behavioural mechanisms between the sexes potentially underlying sex-biased invasiveness. Here, we took an animal...
Article
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Caudal autotomy, the voluntary shedding of a tail, is a last-ditch strategy used by many lizard species to escape from predators. There are several costs associated with caudal autotomy that may cause lizards to change their behaviour during tail regeneration. These behavioural changes may be dependent upon individual differences in response to aut...
Article
Group living often requires strong levels of communication between individuals. This communication is usually studied in the context of visual or auditory communication. However, chemical communication is the most widely used form of communication. We examined the role of chemical communication in mediating social decisions in a group‐living lizard...
Article
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Animals raised in captivity go through drastically different life experiences compared with those raised in the wild. The captive environment is usually characterised by highly stable conditions and limited social interactions. Such early developmental environment, alone and interacting with genes, can have long-lasting effects on cognitive perform...
Article
The formation of aggregations is fundamental to animal organization and has been shown to confer an evolutionary advantage. Conspecific attraction often prompts the formation of social groups yet not all individuals are equally attracted to others of their own species. The decision to aggregate with or avoid a particular individual is based upon cl...
Article
Islands are biodiversity hotspots, but their native inhabitants are vulnerable to predation from exotic predators. Conservation of island endemics has often involved translocating captive‐reared populations to predator‐free refugia. However, the long‐term success of these translocations has rarely been assessed. We investigated the traits that maxi...
Article
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Biological invasions can be influenced by trait variation in the invader, such as behavioural traits and ecological factors, such as variation in pathogen pressure. High-throughput nucleotide sequencing has increased our capacity to investigate the genomic basis of the functional changes associated with biological invasions. Here, we used RNA-seque...
Article
A species’ life history is a strong determinant of its risk of extinction; traits such as body size, growth rate, age at maturity and fecundity influence population viability and persistence, as well as capacity for dispersal and colonisation of new habitats. Yet, despite the potential for substantial geographic variation in life history, most cons...
Article
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Females and males have distinct trait optima, resulting in selection for sexual dimorphism. However, most traits have strong cross-sex genetic correlations, which constrain evolutionary divergence between the sexes and lead to protracted periods of maladaptation during the evolution of sexual dimorphism. While such constraints are thought to be cos...
Article
The diverse benefits of group living include protection against predators through dilution effects and greater group vigilance. However, intraspecific aggregation can decrease developmental rates and survival in prey species. We investigated the impact on tadpole development and behaviour of the interaction between population density and predation...
Article
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New Zealand has a diverse skink fauna, comprising 45 described native species, and at least 15 undescribed taxa, within the single genus Oligosoma Girard, 1857. One of the earliest described, and best known, species is the speckled skink, Oligosoma infrapunctatum (Boulenger 1887). Despite a relatively stable taxonomic history for nearly 114 years,...
Article
The critical thermal limits of organisms and the thermal sensitivity of their performance tend to vary predictably across latitudinal gradients. There has been comparatively less investigation into variation in thermal biology with elevation, despite similar gradients in environmental temperatures. To redress this, we examined critical thermal limi...