center for tropical research

Research Project | 2016

Rainforest Biodiversity and Speciation

Africa (Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast), Australia, South America (Ecuador)

These projects seek to understand the mechanisms important in generating rainforest biodiversity. Results from research on birds in Cameroon and reptiles in Australia strongly suggest that these transition zones, known as ecotones, are an important generator of the biodiversity of the rainforest. These findings have important implications for conservation policies, which to date have focused on the preservation of the rainforest exclusively, effectively seeking to preserve the pattern of biodiversity but not the process that creates it. By taking a multifaceted approach to the study of evolution, we can understand how diverging populations become new species, and take steps to conserve and protect those areas of the tropics that support such evolutionary processes.

With its collaborators, CTR has secured funding to expand this research to include birds, reptiles, small mammals and bats, in-and-around the rainforests of Africa, South America, and Australia. Finally, CTR is working with Senior Scientists at the Jet Propulsion Lab to utilize NASA satellite imagery to assess the degree of ecotone loss worldwide.

rainforest biodiversity and speciation
rainforest biodiversity and speciation

Related Publications

Evolution and conservation of Central African biodiversity: priorities for future research and education in the Congo Basin and Gulf of Guinea

Anthony, N. M.; Atteke, C.; Bruford, M. W.; Dallmeier, F.; Freedman, A.; Hardy, O.; Ibrahim, B.; Jeffery, K. J.; Johnson, M.; Lahm, S. A.; Lepengue, N.; Lowenstein, J. H.; Maisels, F.; Mboumba, J.; Mickala, P.; Morgan, K.; Ntie, S.; Smith, T. B.; Sullivan, J. P.; Verheyen, E.; Gonder, M. K.

Published Work | 2014 | Biotropica 47(1), 6–17


Pathogen-host associations and predicted range shifts of human Monkeypox in response to climate change in Central Africa

Thomassen, H. A.; Fuller, T. L.; Asefi-Najafabady, S.; Shiplacoff, J. A.; Mulembakani, P. M.; Blumberg, S.; Johnston, S. C.; Kisalu, N. K.; Kinkela, T. L.; Fair, J. N.; Wolfe, N. D.; Shongo, R. L.; LeBreton, M.; Meyer, H.; Wright, L. L.; Muyembe, J.; Buermann, W.; Okitolonda, E.; Hensley, L. E.; Lloyd-Smith, J. O.; Smith, T. B.; Rimoin, A. W.

Published Work | 2013 | PLoS ONE 8(7)


Intraspecific morphological and genetic variation of common species predicts ranges of threatened ones

Fuller, T. L.; Thomassen, H. A.; Peralvo, M.; Wolfgang, B.; Mila, B.; Kieswetter, C. M.; Jarrin-V, P.; Cameron Devitt, S. E.; Mason, E.; Schweizer, R. M.; Schluneggar, J.; Chan, J.; Wang, O.; Schneider, C. J.; Pollinger, J. P.; Saatchi, S.; Graham, C. H.; Wayne, R. K.; Smith, T. B.

Published Work | 2013 | Proceedings of the Royal Society Biology 280(1763)


Predicting bird song from space

Smith, T. B.; Harrigan, R. J.; Kirschel, A. N.; Buermann, W.; Saatchi, S.; Blumstein, D. T.; de Kort, S. R.; Slabbekoorn, H.

Published Work | 2013 | Evolutionary Applications 6(6), 865–874


The importance of conserving evolutionary processes

Smith, T. B.; Grether, G.

Published Work | 2008

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Using High-Definition Satellite Imagery to Assess the Loss of Ecotone Habitats in the Congo Basin, 1999-2000

Saatchi, S.; Graham, C.; Smith, T.B.

Progress Report | 2000

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Biotic Surveys of Bioko and Rio Muni, Equatorial Guinea, 1999

Larison, B.; Smith, T.B.; Girman, D.; Stauffer, D.; Mila, B.; Drewes, R.C.; Griswold, C.E.; Vindum, J.V.; Ubick, D., O'Keefe, K.; Nguema, J., Henwood, L.

Progress Report | 1999

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Ecology and speciation

Orr, M. R.; Smith, T. B.

Published Work | 1998 | Trends in Ecology and Evolution 13(12), 502–506


Faunal Surveys of Selected Montane and Lowland Areas of Cameroon, 1996

Larison, B.; Smith, T.B.; McNiven, D.; Fotso, R.; Bruford, M.; Holbrook, K.; Lamperti, A.

Progress Report | 1996

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