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'Brett Scheffers

Institution: University of Florida, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
Seminar Title: Life in the trees: how vertical forest structure influences biogeography
Time and Place: 4:00 PM, Thursday, October 5th, 2017, in BPB 131
Contact: Carlos Garcia-Robledo/Erin K. Kuprewicz

Abstract: Biodiversity is spatially organized by climatic gradients across elevation and latitude. But do other gradients exist that might drive biogeographical patterns? Using data from tropical rainforests of SE Asia, Madagascar and Australia, I will show that rainforests’ vertical strata provide climatic gradients much steeper than those offered by elevation and latitude. Biodiversity of arboreal species organizes along this gradient and this organization changes with elevation and affects current biogeographic patterns through its interaction with historical environmental stability since the Last Glacial Maximum (c. 20,000 years ago). Then using outputs from a global analysis on amphibian traits, I explain how canopy science offers 1) new insights for understanding patterns of species richness and abundance globally and 2) a novel biogeographic dimension for predicting organismal vulnerability to climate change.

Biosketch: Brett Scheffers runs an international research program at the University of Florida. As an assistant professor in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Brett’s research focuses on how human disturbances such as habitat loss, urbanization and climate change impact animals living within forested and wetland ecosystems in the USA, Canada, Central and South America, Madagascar, SE Asia and Australia. Here, his work includes a diversity of animals such as birds, frogs, lizards, ants, and butterflies. Brett has been published in leading academic journals such as Science, Proceedings of the Royal Society, and Trends in Ecology and Evolution and his work has been covered by dozens of news outlets such as The Economist, Huffington Post, and Bloomberg News. He is an advisory member of the IUCN Climate Change Specialist group, which provides guidelines for assessing species vulnerability to climate change and served as an organizing committee member for “Species on the Move”, an international conference focused on the redistribution of species as a result of climate change. His outreach efforts include popular writing in online news outlets such as The Conversation, creating short science documentaries and communicating climate and conservation science to public audiences.

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Time Name Location
10:00 Austin Spence PBB 225
10:30 Annette Evans PBB 322
11:00 Erin Kuprewicz PBB 217
11:30 Carlos Garcia-Robledo PBB 217
12:00 pm Lunch with graduate students Bamford Room (TLS 171B)
2:30 Morgan Tingley PBB 205D
3:00 Meeting grad class TBA
3:30 Preparation for seminar
4:00 SEMINAR: Life in the trees: how vertical forest structure influences biogeography Biophysics BPB 131