William McShea

William McShea
Smithsonian Institution · Department of Conservation Biology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

273
Publications
126,972
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9,516
Citations
Citations since 2017
103 Research Items
5377 Citations
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201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,0001,200

Publications

Publications (273)
Preprint
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Aim: Global forests and their structural and functional features are shaped by many mechanisms that impact tree vital rates. Although many studies have tried to quantify how specific mechanisms influence vital rates, their relative importance among forests remains unclear. We aimed to assess the patterns of variation in vital rates among species an...
Article
Free‐roaming cats are a conservation concern in many areas but identifying their impacts and developing mitigation strategies requires a robust understanding of their distribution and density patterns. Urban and residential areas may be especially relevant in this process because free‐roaming cats are abundant in these anthropogenic landscapes. Her...
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Free-roaming domestic cats (Felis catus) are known to pose threats to ecosystem health via transmission of zoonotic diseases and predation of native wildlife. Likewise, free-roaming cats are also susceptible to predation or disease transmission from native wildlife. Physical interactions are required for many of these risks to be manifested, necess...
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Sukmasuang R, Bhumpakphan N, McShea WJ, Wajjwalku W, Siriaroonrat B, Kamolnoranart S, Yindee M, Nipanan T, Maleehuan B, Khanthathongsakuldee K, Pongcharoen C, Sutummawong N, Thomas W. 2022. Review: The status of the endangered Eld’s deer (Rucervus eldii) and conservation actions in Thailand. Biodiversitas 23: 5020-5034. The endangered Eld’s deer (R...
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As the climate changes, warmer spring temperatures are causing earlier leaf-out1–3 and commencement of CO2 uptake1,3 in temperate deciduous forests, resulting in a tendency towards increased growing season length3 and annual CO2 uptake1,3–7. However, less is known about how spring temperatures affect tree stem growth8,9, which sequesters carbon in...
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Accurate information about the number of cats living outdoors and how they respond to different kinds of management are necessary to quell debates about outdoor cat policy. The DC Cat Count will develop the tools and methodologies needed to realize this possibility and make them available for broader use. This three-year initiative represents a maj...
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Managing wildlife populations in the face of global change requires regular data on the abundance and distribution of wild animals but acquiring these over appropriate spatial scales in a sustainable way has proven challenging. Here we present the data from Snapshot USA 2020, a second annual national mammal survey of the United States of America. T...
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We have more data about wildlife trafficking than ever before, but it remains underutilized for decision-making. Central to effective wildlife trafficking interventions is collection, aggregation, and analysis of data across a range of source, transit, and destination geographies. Many data are geospatial, but these data cannot be effectively acces...
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The ecological impact of free-roaming domestic cats (Felis catus) is well-studied. However, despite receiving considerable attention in both the scientific and popular literature, predation behavior is rarely an explicit consideration when developing cat population management plans. We used motion-activated wildlife cameras to document predation ev...
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Community‐managed forests (CF) bordering protected areas are critical to conservation in Borneo. Iban‐managed CF retain tree species characteristic of primary forests within pulau, remnant old growth forests conserved for harvesting forest products. However, the selective felling of large trees, and proximity to surrounding mixed‐use mosaic habitat...
Article
Context Ungulate life-history strategies and behaviour are driven by two dominant factors, namely, acquisition of nutrients and avoidance of predation. Although many studies have investigated single species resource/habitat selection, there are still gaps in our understanding of multi-species systems and resource partitioning. Aim We explored the h...
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Efficient and effective monitoring methods are required to assess population status and gauge efficacy of conservation actions for threatened species. Here we review the spectrum of field methods useful for monitoring distribution, occupancy, abundance, and population trend for the five species of Asian terrestrial bears. Methods reviewed include e...
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Many wildlife species are threatened in Asia, including the five species of terrestrial bears (Asiatic black, Ursus thibetanus; brown, U. arctos; sloth, Melursus ursinus; sun, Helarctos malayanus; giant panda, Ailuropoda melanoleuca): many populations of these bears are thought to be declining or imperiled by small population size. Here our aim is...
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In grassland ecosystems, grazing by large herbivores is a highly influential process that affects biodiversity by modifying the vegetative environment through selective consumption. Here, we test whether restoration of bison is associated with increased bird diversity and cervid occupancy in networks of riparian habitat within a temperate grassland...
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Tree size shapes forest carbon dynamics and determines how trees interact with their environment, including a changing climate. Here, we conduct the first global analysis of among‐site differences in how aboveground biomass stocks and fluxes are distributed with tree size. We analyzed repeat tree censuses from 25 large‐scale (4–52 ha) forest plots...
Article
Changes in the distribution of a species can be used to as a metric of conservation status and to identify the loss or gain of isolated populations. This mapping process is a primary tool of the IUCN SSC Red List assessment. Most distribution maps are based on expert opinion or species distribution models based on a combination of species detection...
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Future climate projections of warming, drying, and increased weather variability indicate that conventional agricultural and production practices within the Northern Great Plains (NGP) will become less sustainable, both ecologically and economically. As a result, the livelihoods of people that rely on these lands will be adversely impacted. This is...
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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...
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The growth and survival of individual trees determine the physical structure of a forest with important consequences for forest function. However, given the diversity of tree species and forest biomes, quantifying the multitude of demographic strategies within and across forests and the way that they translate into forest structure and function rem...
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Nature reserves are an effective tool in protecting species that are threatened by anthropogenic factors. However, various subtle but significant human disturbances still negatively affect wildlife, such as the incursion of domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) into wildlife communities. We conducted camera trap surveys and tracked GPS-collared do...
Preprint
Full-text available
As the climate changes, warmer spring temperatures are causing earlier leaf-out1–6 and commencement of net carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration2,4 in temperate deciduous forests, resulting in a tendency towards increased growing season length1,4,5,7–9 and annual CO2 uptake2,4,10–14. However, less is known about how spring temperatures affect tree ste...
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Reintroductions are challenging, and success rates are low despite extensive planning and considerable investment of resources. Improving predictive models for rein-troduction planning is critical for achieving successful outcomes. The IUCN Guidelines for Reintroductions and Other Conservation Translocations recommend that habitat suitability asses...
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Temperate grassland biomes are globally imperiled, and grassland birds are in precipitous decline as a result. The majority of North America's grassland birds breed on rangelands occupied by domestic cattle, but reintroductions of bison to restore evolutionary grazing patterns are increasingly common. Grassland landscapes in western North America h...
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Forests in eastern North America are experiencing high densities of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and encroachment by invasive plants, both of which threaten native biodiversity. We review the literature on deer and invasive plant impacts focusing on studies that simultaneously evaluate the consequences of both. Deer have more frequent...
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ContextThe downlisting of giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) from Endangered to Vulnerable in IUCN Red List confirms the effectiveness of current conservation practices. However, future survival of giant panda is still in jeopardy due to habitat fragmentation and climate change. Maintaining movement corridors between habitat patches in the newly...
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Ecology cannot yet fully explain why so many tree species coexist in natural communities such as tropical forests. A major difficulty is linking individual-level processes to community dynamics. We propose a combination of tree spatial data, spatial statistics and dynamical theory to reveal the relationship between spatial patterns and population-l...
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Camera trap surveys use infrared-flash camera traps more frequently than white-flash camera traps due to claims that white-flash cameras impact animal behaviour and reduce capture rates. While several studies have examined the impact of white-flash on individual behaviour, few have assessed the effect of flash type on probability of detection. We u...
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Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and ectomycorrhizal (EcM) associations are critical for host-tree performance. However, how mycorrhizal associations correlate with the latitudinal tree beta-diversity remains untested. Using a global dataset of 45 forest plots representing 2,804,270 trees across 3840 species, we test how AM and EcM trees contribute to t...
Article
Human activity and land use change impact every landscape on Earth, driving declines in many animal species while benefiting others. Species ecological and life history traits may predict success in human-dominated landscapes such that only species with "winning" combinations of traits will persist in disturbed environments. However, this link betw...
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With the accelerating pace of global change, it is imperative that we obtain rapid inventories of the status and distribution of wildlife for ecological inferences and conservation planning. To address this challenge, we launched the SNAPSHOT USA project, a collaborative survey of terrestrial wildlife populations using camera traps across the Unite...
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Abstract Counts of independent photo events from camera traps are commonly used to make inference about species occupancy, the density of unmarked populations, and the relative abundance of species across time and space. These applications rest on the untested assumption that data collected from individual cameras are representative of the landscap...
Article
Globally, the number and extent of terrestrial protected areas (PAs) are expanding rapidly. Nonetheless, their impacts on preventing forest loss and the factors influencing the impacts are not well understood, despite the critical roles of forests in biodiversity conservation, provision of ecosystem services, and achievement of the United Nations’...
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Urbanization is increasing globally, fragmenting habitats and prompting human–wildlife conflict. Urban wildlife research is concurrently expanding, but sampling methods are often biased towards large and intact habitats in public green spaces, neglecting the far more abundant, but degraded, habitats in the urban matrix. Here, we introduce the Five...
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Exotic forest insects and pathogens (EFIP) have become regular features of temperate forest ecosystems, yet we lack a long-term perspective on their net impacts on tree mortality, carbon sequestration, and tree species diversity. Here, we analyze 3 decades (1987–2019) of forest monitoring data from the Blue Ridge Mountains ecoregion in eastern Nort...
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The use of a charismatic umbrella species as surrogate for sympatric species is often advocated as an efficient approach. However, comprehensive evaluations from a spatio-temporal perspective are few, leaving the long-term effectiveness of such practices remain uncertain. We modeled the habitat change for giant panda and eight sympatric mammalian s...
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ForestGEO is a network of scientists and long-term forest dynamics plots (FDPs) spanning the Earth's major forest types. ForestGEO's mission is to advance understanding of the diversity and dynamics of forests and to strengthen global capacity for forest science research. ForestGEO is unique among forest plot networks in its large-scale plot dimens...
Chapter
Bears have fascinated people since ancient times. The relationship between bears and humans dates back thousands of years, during which time we have also competed with bears for shelter and food. In modern times, bears have come under pressure through encroachment on their habitats, climate change, and illegal trade in their body parts, including t...
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As climate change drives increased drought in many forested regions, mechanistic understanding of the factors conferring drought tolerance in trees is increasingly important. The dendrochronological record provides a window through which we can understand how tree size and traits shape growth responses to droughts. We analyzed tree‐ring records for...
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As both a flagship and umbrella species, the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is one of the most heavily invested species in conservation. Here, we report the wide distribution range retreat of the leopard (Panthera pardus, 81% loss), snow leopard (P. uncia, 38%), wolf (Canis lupus, 77%) and dhole (Cuon alpinus, 95%) from protected areas in the...
Article
Ecoacoustics is an emerging field that allows inferences about biodiversity trends and ecosystem health. Several acoustic indices have been developed for fast, automated assessments of ecosystem condition and are often used to assess changes in species richness/diversity across space or time. However, studies have reported inconclusive relationship...
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The Mountains of Southwest China is a global biodiversity hotspot. The Camera-trapping Network for the Mountains of Southwest China (SW China Network) has been established as one of the regional camera-trapping networks to measure biodiversity in China. This network was first initiated by Peking University in 2002, and now includes numerous partner...
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Livestock grazing has become the most prevalent human disturbance in protected areas across the range of giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Previous studies have documented the impacts of livestock grazing on habitat and food resources of giant panda, however, little is known about how free-ranging livestock influences other sympatric species. I...
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Given the dramatic pace of change of our planet, we need rapid collection of environmental data to document how species are coping and to evaluate the impact of our conservation interventions. To address this need, new classes of “born digital” biodiversity records are now being collected and curated many orders of magnitude faster than traditional...
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As the quality and quantity of natural habitats decrease, pressure increases to better understand species–habitat interactions and how animal communities respond to habitat changes. We assessed the relative importance of local habitat heterogeneity and productivity measures as predictors of avian species richness and compared these results to model...
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Maps of the human footprint allow ecologists to identify the wildest lands on the planet, track their decline, and prioritize wildland conservation efforts. Other research efforts have mapped biological intactness and identified conservation priorities to protect biodiversity. However, little research has involved the use of historical references t...
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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...
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Among the local processes that determine species diversity in ecological communities, fluctuation‐dependent mechanisms that are mediated by temporal variability in the abundances of species populations have received significant attention. Higher temporal variability in the abundances of species populations can increase the strength of temporal nich...
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This case study describes the application of a framework for developing stakeholder-driven scenarios of the future. The purpose of these scenarios is to inform land use planning toward the protection of ecosystems and derivable ecosystem services in Northwestern Virginia. We held two scenario development workshops with regional experts in conservat...
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The diverse large mammal communities found in Asian dry forests and savannas should segregate based on their diet selection. We examined the diet composition of sympatric ungulate species using metabarcoding to determine whether their diet was segregated and whether obvious attributes (i.e., body size, phylogeny, ecology) explained the structure. W...
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Finding balance between the needs of people and wildlife is an essential component of planning sustainable landscapes. Because mammals make up a diverse and ecologically important taxon with varying responses to human disturbance, we used representative mammal species to examine how alternative land-use policies might affect their habitats and dist...
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Declining species richness is a global concern; however, the coarse-scale metrics used at regional or landscape levels might not accurately represent the important habitat characteristics needed to estimate species richness. Currently, there exists a lack of knowledge with regard to the spatial extent necessary to correlate remotely sensed habitat...
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Birds that depend on grassland and successional‐scrub vegetation communities are experiencing a greater decline than any other avian assemblage in North America. Habitat loss and degradation on breeding and wintering grounds are among the leading causes of these declines. We used public and private lands in northern Virginia, USA, to explore benefi...
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Camera traps have existed since the 1890s (Kucera and Barrett 2011), but they weren’t widely used until the introduction of commercial infrared-triggered cameras in the early 1990s (Meek et al. 2014). Since then, millions, perhaps billions of camera trap images have been collected for many reasons, biodiversity monitoring being one of the key appli...
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Symbiotic nitrogen (N)‐fixing trees can provide large quantities of new N to ecosystems, but only if they are sufficiently abundant. The overall abundance and latitudinal abundance distributions of N‐fixing trees are well characterised in the Americas, but less well outside the Americas. Here, we characterised the abundance of N‐fixing trees in a n...
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Flagship species have been used widely as umbrella species (i.e., species with large home range whose protection often provides protection for sympatric species) in the management of China's nature reserves. This conflation of flagship and umbrella species is best represented by the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and other large, endangered m...
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Interspecific interactions can provoke temporal and spatial avoidance, ultimately affecting population densities and spatial distribution patterns. The ability (or inability) of species to coexist has consequences for diversity and ultimately ecosystem stability. Urbanization is predicted to change species interactions but its relative impact is no...
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Protected lands are an established method for conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services. Moreover, agencies and organizations are increasingly looking to private lands as places for new protected lands establishment. However, the effectiveness of protected lands in guarding against the loss of species or services can vary based on their covera...
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We coupled a spatially-explicit land use/land cover (LULC) change model, Dinamica EGO, (Environment for Geoprocessing Objects), with the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model (CBWM) to project the impact of future LULC change on loading of total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorous (TP) and total suspended solids (TSS) as well as runoff volume in the watershe...
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Climate is widely recognised as an important determinant of the latitudinal diversity gradient. However, most existing studies make no distinction between direct and indirect effects of climate, which substantially hinders our understanding of how climate constrains biodiversity globally. Using data from 35 large forest plots, we test hypothesised...
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This paper explores the data challenges of a major collection method in the field of ecology: using infrared-activated cameras to detect wildlife. One such solution, eMammal, is now available to address these struggles. We delineate the key reason behind its success: a data curator who manages an established data standard and communicates with eMam...