Francesco Rovero

Francesco Rovero
University of Florence | UNIFI · Dipartimento di Biologia

Ph.D. in Animal Ecology

About

218
Publications
411,549
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9,754
Citations
Citations since 2016
129 Research Items
7826 Citations
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201620172018201920202021202202004006008001,0001,2001,400
Introduction
I am an ecologist mainly focussed on understanding drivers of status and vulnerability of populations and communities, with most of my experience on mammals as the subject and camera trapping as the detection method. Managing a long-term programme in Tanzania allows me to pursue my broad interest in tropical ecology and conservation biology, through biodiversity monitoring, contributing to pantropical studies, advisory for protected area management and capacity building.

Publications

Publications (218)
Article
Full-text available
An animal’s daily use of time (their “diel activity”) reflects their adaptations, requirements, and interactions, yet we know little about the underlying processes governing diel activity within and among communities. Here we examine whether community-level activity patterns differ among biogeographic regions, and explore the roles of top-down vers...
Article
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Many stakeholders, from governments to civil society to businesses, lack the data they need to make informed decisions on biodiversity, jeopardising efforts to conserve, restore and sustainably manage nature. Here we review the importance of enhancing biodiversity monitoring, assess the challenges involved and identify potential solutions. Capacity...
Article
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The spatial aggregation of species pairs often increases with the ecological similarity of the species involved. However, the way in which environmental conditions and anthropogenic activity affect the relationship between spatial aggregation and ecological similarity remains unknown despite the potential for spatial associations to affect species...
Article
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The latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG) is one of the most recognized global patterns of species richness exhibited across a wide range of taxa. Numerous hypotheses have been proposed in the past two centuries to explain LDG, but rigorous tests of the drivers of LDGs have been limited by a lack of high-quality global species richness data. Here we...
Article
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The structure of forest mammal communities appears surprisingly consistent across the continental tropics, presumably due to convergent evolution in similar environments. Whether such consistency extends to mammal occupancy, despite variation in species characteristics and context, remains unclear. Here we ask whether we can predict occupancy patte...
Article
Using camera traps and direct observations, we recorded interactions between three species of giant sengi (Rhynchocyon sp.) and two insectivorous bird species from six forests in Tanzania. In all instances, the birds closely followed the giant sengis who were moving and foraging in the leaf litter. Given that the two bird species are insectivorous...
Article
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Mammalian communities inhabiting temperate grasslands are of conservation concern globally, and especially in Central Asia, where livestock numbers have dramatically increased in recent decades, leading to overgrazing and land‐use change. Yet, how this pervasive presence of livestock herds affects the community of wild mammals remains largely unstu...
Article
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We estimated the abundance of Colobus guereza ssp. guereza in the moist evergreen riparian forest part of Nech Sar National Park, Ethiopia. The survey was conducted using the distance sampling method. Based on a preliminary study, 17 newly cut line transects were randomly aligned across the study area. The survey data were then collected for three...
Article
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One of the most fundamental questions in ecology is how many species inhabit the Earth. However, due to massive logistical and financial challenges and taxonomic difficulties connected to the species concept definition, the global numbers of species, including those of important and well-studied life forms such as trees, still remain largely unknow...
Preprint
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Most animals follow distinct daily activity patterns reflecting their adaptations1, requirements, and interactions2-4. Specific communities provide specific opportunities and constraints to their members that further shape these patterns3,4. Here, we ask whether community-level diel activity patterns among long-separated biogeographic regions diffe...
Article
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Significance Tree diversity is fundamental for forest ecosystem stability and services. However, because of limited available data, estimates of tree diversity at large geographic domains still rely heavily on published lists of species descriptions that are geographically uneven in coverage. These limitations have precluded efforts to generate a g...
Article
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The establishment of protected areas (PAs) is a central strategy for global biodi- versity conservation. While the role of PAs in protecting habitat has been high- lighted, their effectiveness at protecting mammal communities remains unclear. We analyzed a global dataset from over 8671 camera traps in 23 countries on four continents that detected 3...
Article
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The snow leopard Panthera uncia is an elusive and globally-threatened apex predator occurring in the mountain ranges of central Asia. As with other large carnivores, gaps in data on its distribution and abundance still persist. Moreover, available density estimates are often based on inadequate sampling designs or analytical approaches. Here, we us...
Article
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Biased research and conservation efforts result in some faunal groups (e.g., small felids) being understudied, and hence these groups are often declining without adequate knowledge to manage for threat reduction. The Pallas's cat (Otocolobus manul) occurs across central and western Asia with declining populations and the largest population is likel...
Article
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The mammalian gastrointestinal tract harbours a highly complex ecosystem composed of a variety of micro- (bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoans) and macro-organisms (helminths). Although most microbiota research focuses on the variation of single gut components, the crosstalk between components is still poorly characterized, especially in hosts livi...
Chapter
Camera traps use a motion sensor to capture images of passing animals, representing verifiable and non-invasive records of the presence of a given species at a specified place and time. These simple records provide fundamental data on biodiversity that have proven invaluable to conservation. Thanks to the improved (better, smaller, and less expensi...
Article
In countries such as Mongolia, where globalization of the cashmere market has spurred herders to massively increase their livestock numbers, an important conservation concern is the effect of livestock encroachment on wildlife. This is especially important inside protected areas (PAs), which often represent the last refugia for threatened large mam...
Article
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Tropical forests store 40-50% of terrestrial vegetation carbon. Spatial variations in aboveground live tree biomass carbon (AGC) stocks remain poorly understood, in particular in tropical montane forests. Because of climatic and soil changes with increasing elevation, AGC stocks are lower in tropical montane compared to lowland forests. Here we ass...
Article
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Tropical forests store 40–50 per cent of terrestrial vegetation carbon1. However, spatial variations in aboveground live tree biomass carbon (AGC) stocks remain poorly understood, in particular in tropical montane forests2. Owing to climatic and soil changes with increasing elevation3, AGC stocks are lower in tropical montane forests compared with...
Article
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Rub trees are specific trees that bears mark with their scent to communicate their presence to possible partners or rivals. Adult males have been observed more frequently performing this behaviour especially during the mating season. Rub trees are recognizable from the other trees of the surrounding environment due to being larger or of a different...
Article
Tropical forests are the most diverse and productive ecosystems on Earth. While better understanding of these forests is critical for our collective future, until quite recently efforts to measure and monitor them have been largely disconnected. Networking is essential to discover the answers to questions that transcend borders and the horizons of...
Article
Snow leopards (Panthera uncia) are apex predators in Asian mountainous ecosystems, mostly hunting wild and domestic ungulates up to three times their size. Here we report on a predation event of a male snow leopard killing a semi-domestic adult yak (about five times the body weight of the predator) from the Altai mountain range in Mongolia. We used...
Article
A new subspecies of giant sengi or elephant-shrew, first documented in 2008, is described from northern coastal Kenya. All five currently described species and most known subspecies of Rhynchocyon are compared to this new lineage. Molecular analyses using mitochondrial and nuclear markers from the single DNA sample available for the new lineage sho...
Article
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A variety of factors can affect the biodiversity of tropical mammal communities, but their relative importance and directionality remain uncertain. Previous global investigations of mammal functional diversity have relied on range maps instead of observational data to determine community composition. We test the effects of species pools, habitat he...
Article
Giant sengis, or elephant-shrews (Macroscelidea; Macroscelididae; Rhynchocyon), are small-bodied mammals found in central and eastern African forests. Studies have provided contrasting views of the extent and direction of introgression among species. We generated full mitochondrial genomes, and compiled publically available mtDNA 12S and nuclear vW...
Article
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The preservation of large carnivores is a formidable challenge for biodiversity conservation in Europe, where few areas can be considered wilderness. In this context, brown bears Ursus arctos in Europe coexist with people in densely settled, multi-use landscapes and hence have to cope with diffuse human activities. This calls for robust knowledge o...
Article
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Where allochthonous large mammals, such as the wild boars, occur in high density, human-wildlife conflicts may arise. Thus, assessing their spatio-temporal patterns is paramount to their management. We studied the wild boars on Elba island, Italy, where they have been introduced and are perceived as pests to address their occurrence and impact of f...
Article
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We report on the first population found in Tan-zania of the Vulnerable African golden cat Caracal aurata, extending its documented range c.  km to the south and southeast. This is one of the least-known and truly forest-dependent felines in Africa, ranging across the Guinea-Congolian forest block. We recorded the new population in Minziro Nature...
Article
en Understanding carnivores’ diet is key to understanding their adaptability in a rapidly changing world. However, studying diet of large carnivores is difficult due to their elusive nature. In this study, we performed DNA metabarcoding analyses of 82 putative leopard scats collected from two distinct, but connected, habitat types (rainforest and g...
Article
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Humans profoundly affect animal distributions by directly competing for space, not only transforming, but actively using their habitat. Anthropogenic disturbance is usually measured via structural proxies such as infrastructure and land use that overlook the impact of human presence, or functional disturbance. In this study, we propose a methodolog...
Article
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Primates are one of the most threatened groups of mammals. Understanding their patterns of population occurrence and abundance, especially in response to threats, is critical for informing conservation action. The crested black macaque Macaca nigra is the only Critically Endangered species of Sulawesi's seven endemic macaques. Little is known about...
Article
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Aim Palms are an iconic, diverse and often abundant component of tropical ecosystems that provide many ecosystem services. Being monocots, tree palms are evolutionarily, morphologically and physiologically distinct from other trees, and these differences have important consequences for ecosystem services (e.g., carbon sequestration and storage) and...
Technical Report
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De Jong, Y.A., Cunneyworth, P., Butynski, T.M., Maisels, F., Hart, J.A. & Rovero, F. 2020. Colobus angolensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T5142A17945007. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-2.RLTS.T5142A17945007.en.
Technical Report
Full-text available
Rovero, F., Davenport, T., de Jong, Y.A. & Butynski, T.M. 2020. Colobus angolensis ssp. sharpei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T92576098A92576128. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-2.RLTS.T92576098A92576128.en.
Article
Full-text available
Aim: Palms are an iconic, diverse and often abundant component of tropical ecosystems that provide many ecosystem services. Being monocots, tree palms are evolutionarily, morphologically and physiologically distinct from other trees, and these differences have important consequences for ecosystem services (e.g., carbon sequestration and storage) an...
Article
Full-text available
In light of the current biodiversity crisis, investigating the human impact on non-human primate gut biology is important to understanding the ecological significance of gut community dynamics across changing habitats and its role in conservation. Using traditional coproscopic parasitological techniques, we compared the gastrointestinal protozoan a...
Article
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Gut microbiota diversity has become the subject of extensive research in human and nonhuman animals, linking diversity and composition to gut function and host health. Because wild primates are good indicators of tropical ecosystem health, we developed the idea that they are a suitable model to observe the consequences of advancing global change (e...
Article
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Protected areas (PAs) in the tropics are vulnerable to human encroachment, and, despite formal protection, they do not fully mitigate anthropogenic threats to habitats and biodiversity. However, attempts to quantify the effectiveness of PAs and to understand the status and changes of wildlife populations in relation to protection efficiency remain...
Article
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Studying activity patterns and temporal overlap among carnivores and their putative prey is difficult because of their secretive and elusive nature. With large carnivores declining worldwide, it is imperative for conservation planning that we understand how large carnivores interact with their prey and competitors. Camera trapping offers a promisin...
Article
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Structurally intact tropical forests sequestered about half of the global terrestrial carbon uptake over the 1990s and early 2000s, removing about 15 per cent of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. Climate-driven vegetation models typically predict that this tropical forest ‘carbon sink’ will continue for decades. Here we assess trends in the c...
Article
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Camera traps deployed in grids or stratified random designs are a well‐established survey tool for wildlife but there has been little evaluation of study design parameters. We used an empirical subsampling approach involving 2225 camera deployments run at 41 study areas around the world to evaluate three aspects of camera trap study design (number...
Article
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Activity range ‐ the amount of time spent active per day ‐ is a fundamental aspect contributing to the optimization process by which animals achieve energetic balance. Based on their size and the nature of their diet, theoretical expectations are that larger carnivores need more time active to fulfil their energetic needs than do smaller ones and a...
Article
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Gastrointestinal parasites colonizing the mammalian gut influence the host immune system and health. Parasite infections, mainly helminths, have been studied intensively in both humans and non-human animals, but relatively rarely within a conservation framework. The Udzungwa red colobus monkey (Procolobus gordonorum) is an endangered endemic primat...
Article
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The understanding of global diversity patterns has benefitted from a focus on functional traits and how they relate to variation in environmental conditions among assemblages. Distant communities in similar environments often share characteristics, and for tropical forest mammals, this functional trait convergence has been demonstrated at coarse sc...
Article
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Bushmeat hunting is widely cited as cause for declines of wildlife populations throughout Africa. Forest duikers (Bovidae, Cephalophinae) are among the most exploited species. Whether current harvest rates imperil duikers is debated because of the difficulty of accurately assessing population trends. To assess population trends, we first reviewed l...
Article
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Despite being heavily exploited, pangolins (Pholidota: Manidae) have been subject to limited research, resulting in a lack of reliable population estimates and standardised survey methods for the eight extant species. Camera trapping represents a unique opportunity for broad-scale collaborative species monitoring due to its largely non-discriminato...
Article
Full-text available
Despite being heavily exploited, pangolins (Pholidota: Manidae) have been subject to limited research, resulting in a lack of reliable population estimates and standardised survey methods for the eight extant species. Camera trapping represents a unique opportunity for broad-scale collaborative species monitoring due to its largely non-discriminato...
Presentation
Full-text available
Numerous protected areas (PAs) have been created worldwide to safeguard wildlife and other natural resources from anthropogenic threats such as habitat destruction and bushmeat hunting. However, conservation efforts in many tropical PAs are still inadequate, revealing deficiencies in management effectiveness. It is therefore important to quantify h...
Article
Full-text available
Determining correlates of density for large carnivores is important to understand their ecological requirements and develop conservation strategies. Of several earlier density studies conducted globally, relatively few addressed a scale (usually >1000 km²) that allows inference on correlates of density over heterogeneous landscapes. We deployed 164...
Article
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Knowledge of patterns of occupancy is crucial for planning sound biological management and for identifying areas which require paramount conservation attention. The European wildcat Felis silvestris is an elusive carnivore and is classified as ‘least concern' on the IUCN red list, but with a decreasing population trend in some areas. Sicily hosts a...