Rainforest Biodiversity and Speciation

Region:
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.

Related Publications

2014
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. Evolution and conservation of Central African biodiversity: priorities for future research and education in the Congo Basin and Gulf of Guinea. Biotropica 2014, 47 (1), 6–17; DOI 10.1111/btp.12188.
2014
Giorgi, A. P.; Rovzar, C.; Davis, K. S.; Fuller, T.; Buermann, W.; Saatchi, S.; Smith, T. B.; Silveira, L. F.; Gillespie, T. W. Spatial conservation planning framework for assessing conservation opportunities in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. Applied Geography 2014, 53, 369–376; DOI 10.1016/j.apgeog.2014.06.013.
2014
Lamperti, A. M.; French, A. R.; Dierenfeld, E. S.; Fogiel, M. K.; Whitney, K. D.; Stauffer, D. J.; Stouffer, K. M.; Hardesty, B. D.; Clark, C. J.; Poulsen, J. R.; Wang, B.; Smith, T. B.; Parker, V. T. Diet selection is related to breeding status in two frugivorous hornbill species of Central Africa. Journal of Tropical Ecology 2014, 30, 273–290; DOI 10.1017/S0266467414000236.
2013
Duraes, R.; Carrasco, L.; Smith, T. B.; Karubian, J. Effects of forest disturbance and habitat loss on avian communities in a Neotropical biodiversity hotspot. Biological Conservation 2013, 166, 203–211; DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2013.07.007. PDF
2013
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. Pathogen-host associations and predicted range shifts of human Monkeypox in response to climate change in Central Africa. PLOS ONE 2013, 8 (7); DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0066071. PDF
2013
Smith, T. B.; Harrigan, R. J.; Kirschel, A. N.; Buermann, W.; Saatchi, S.; Blumstein, D. T.; de Kort, S. R.; Slabbekoorn, H. Predicting bird song from space. Evolutionary Applications 2013, 865–874; DOI 10.1111/eva.12072. PDF
2013
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. Intraspecific morphological and genetic variation of common species predicts ranges of threatened ones. Proceedings of the Royal Society Biology 2013, 280; DOI 10.1098/rspb.2013.1237. PDF
2013
Aleixandre, P.; Montoya, J. H.; Borja, M. Speciation on oceanic islands: rapid adaptive divergence vs. cryptic speciation in a Guadalupe Island songbird (Aves: Junco). PLoS ONE 2013, 8 (5); DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0063242.
2012
Laurance, W. F.; Useche, D. C.; Rendeiro, J.; Kalka, M.; Bradshaw, C. J.; Sloan, S. P.; Laurance, S. G.; Arroyo-Rodriguez, V.; Ashton, P.; Benítez-Malvido, J.; Blom, A.; Bobo, K. S.; Cannon, C. H.; Cao, M.; Carroll, R.; Chapman, C.; Coates, R.; Cords, M.; Danielsen, F.; De Dijn, B.; Dinerstein, E.; Donnelly, M. A.; Edwards, D.; Edwards, F.; Farwig, N.; Fashing, P.; Forget, P.; Foster, M.; Gale, G.; Harris, D.; Harrison, R.; Hart, J.; Karpanty, S.; Kress, W. J.; Krishnaswamy, J.; Logsdon, W.; Lovett, J.; Magnusson, W.; Maisels, F.; Marshall, A. R.; McClearn, D.; Mudappa, D.; Nielsen, M. R.; Pearson, R.; Pitman, N.; van der Ploeg, J.; Plumptre, A.; Poulsen, J.; Quesada, M.; Rainey, H.; Robinson, D.; Roetgers, C.; Rovero, F.; Scatena, R.; Schulze, C.; Sheil, D.; Struhsaker, T.; Terborgh, J.; Thomas, D.; Timm, R.; Urbina-Cardona, J. N.; Vasudevan, K.; Wright, S. J.; Arias-G, J. C.; Arroyo, L.; Ashton, M.; Auzel, P.; Babaasa, D.; Babweteera, F.; Baker, P.; Banki, O.; Bass, M.; Bila-Isia, I.; Blake, S.; Brockelman, W.; Brokaw, N.; Brühl, C. A.; Bunyavejchewin, S.; Chao, J.; Chave, J.; Chellam, R.; Clark, C. J.; Clavijo, J.; Congdon, R.; Corlett, R.; Dattaraja, H. S.; Dave, C.; Davies, G.; de Mello Beisiegel, B.; de Nazaré Paes da Silva, R.; Di Fiore, A.; Diesmos, A.; Dirzo, R.; Doran-Sheehy, D.; Eaton, M.; Emmons, L.; Estrada, A.; Ewango, C.; Fedigan, L.; Feer, F.; Fruth, B.; Giacalone Willis, J.; Goodale, U.; Goodman, S.; Guix, J. C.; Guthiga, P.; Haber, W.; Hamer, K.; Herbinger, I.; Hill, J.; Huang, Z.; Sung, I.; Ickes, K.; Itoh, A.; Ivanauskas, N.; Jackes, B.; Janovec, J.; Janzen, D.; Jiangming, M.; Jin, C.; Jones, T.; Justiniano, H.; Kalko, E.; Kasangaki, A.; Killeen, T.; King, H.; Klop, E.; Knott, C.; Koné, I.; Kudavidanage, E.; Lahoz da Silava Ribeiro, J.; Lattke, J.; Laval, R.; Lawton, R.; Leal, M.; Leighton, M.; Lentino, M.; Leonel, C.; Lindsell, J.; Ling-Ling, L.; Linsenmair, K. E.; Losos, E.; Lugo, A.; Lwanga, J.; Mack, A. L.; Martins, M.; McGraw, W. S.; McNab, R.; Montag, L.; Myers Thompson, J.; Nabe-Nielsen, J.; Nakagawa, M.; Nepal, S.; Norconk, M.; Novotny, V.; O’Donnell, S.; Opiange, M.; Ouboter, P.; Parker, K.; Parthasarathy, N.; Pisciotta, K.; Prawiradilaga, D.; Pringle, C.; Rajathurai, S.; Reichard, U.; Reinartz, G.; Renton, K.; Reynolds, G.; Reynolds, V.; Riley, E.; Rödel, M.; Rothman, J.; Round, P.; Sakai, S.; Sanaiotti, T.; Savini, T.; Schaab, G.; Seidensticker, J.; Siaka, A.; Silman, M. R.; Smith, T. B.; Soares de Almeida, S.; Sodhi, N.; Stanford, C.; Stewart, K.; Stokes, E.; Stoner, K. E.; Sukumar, R.; Surbeck, M.; Tobler, M. Averting biodiversity collapse in tropical forest protected areas. Nature 2012, 489 (7415), 290–294; DOI 10.1038/nature11318.
2012
Milá, B.; Tavares, E. S.; Saldana, A. M.; Karubian, J.; Smith, T. B.; Baker, A. J. A trans-Amazonian screening of mtDNA reveals deep intraspecific divergence in forest birds and suggests a vast underestimation of species diversity. PLoS ONE 2012, 7 (7); DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0040541. PDF
2011
Freedman, A. H.; Thomassen, H. A.; Buermann, W.; Smith, T. B. Genomic signals of diversification along ecological gradients in a tropical lizard. Molecular Ecology 2011, 19, 3773–3788. PDF
2011
Chaves, J. A.; Smith, T. B. Evolutionary patterns of diversification in the Andean hummingbird genus Adelomyia. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 2011, 60, 207–218. PDF
2010
Freedman, A. H.; Buermann, W.; Mitchard, E. T.; DeFries, R. S.; Smith, T. B. Human impacts flatten rainforest-savanna gradient and reduce adaptive diversity in a rainforest bird. PLOS ONE 2010, 5; DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0013088. PDF
2010
Thomassen, H. A.; Buermann, W.; Mila, B.; Graham, C. H.; Cameron, S. E.; Schneider, C. J.; Pollinger, J. P.; Saatchi, S.; Wayne, R. K.; Smith, T. B. Modeling environmentally associated morphological and genetic variation in a rainforest bird, and its application to conservation prioritization. Evolutionary Applications 2010, 3, 1–16; DOI 10.1111/j.1752-4571.2009.00093.x. PDF
2010
Thomassen, H. A.; Jones, K. C.; Pollinger, J. P.; Smith, T. B. Characterization of novel microsatellite loci for Myzomela cardinalis and M. rubrata honeyeaters, and cross-amplification in other species. Conservation Genetic Resources 2010, 2, 205–208; DOI 10.1007/s12686-009-9135-3. PDF
2009
Milá, B.; Wayne, R. K.; Fitze, P.; Smith, T. B. Divergence with gene flow and fine-scale phylogeographic structure in the wedge-billed woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirururs, a Neotropical rainforest bird. Molecular Ecology 2009, 18, 2979–2995. PDF
2009
Kirschel, A. N.; Blumstein, D. T.; Smith, T. B. Character displacement of song and morphology in African tinkerbirds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2009, 106, 8256–8261. PDF
2008
Smith, T. B.; Grether, G. The importance of conserving evolutionary processes. In Conservation Biology: Evolution in Action; Carroll, S. P., Fox, C. W., Eds.; Oxford University Press: Oxford, U.K., 2008; pp 85–98. PDF
2007
Karubian, J.; Carrasco, L.; Cabrera, D.; Cook, A.; Olivo, J. Nesting biology of the banded ground-cuckoo (Neomorphus radiolosus). Wilson Journal of Ornithology 2007, 119, 222–228. PDF
2007
Chaves, J. A.; Pollinger, J. P.; Smith, T. B.; LeBuhn, G. The role of geography and ecology in shaping the phylogeography of the speckled hummingbird (Adelomyia melanogenys) in Ecuador. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 2007, 43, 795–807; DOI 10.1016/j.ympev.2006.11.006. PDF
2006
Dingle, C.; Lovette, I. J.; Canaday, C.; Smith, T. B. Elevational zonation and the phylogenetic relationships of the Henicorhina wood-wrens. The Auk 2006, 123, 119–134. PDF
2005
Smith, T. B.; Saatchi, S.; Graham, C.; Slabbekoorn, H.; Spicer, G. Putting process on the map: Why ecotones are important for preserving biodiversity. Phylogeny and Conservation 2005, 166–197. PDF
2005
Graham, C. H.; Smith, T. B.; Languy, M. Current and historical factors influencing patterns of species richness and turnover of birds in the Gulf of Guinea highlands. Journal of Biogeography 2005, 32, 1371–1384. PDF
2005
Smith, T. B.; Calsbeek, R.; Wayne, R. K.; Holder, K. H.; Pires, D.; Bardeleben, C. Testing alternative mechanisms of evolutionary divergence in an African rainforest passerine bird. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 2005, 18, 257–268. PDF
2005
Mila, B.; Bardeleben, C. Isolation of polymorphic tetranucleotide microsatellite markers for the wedge-billed woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus. Molecular Biology Notes 2005, 5, 844–845. PDF
2005
Slabbekoorn, H.; Smith, T. B. Habitat-dependent song divergence in the little greenbul: an analysis of environmental selection pressures on acoustic signals. Evolution 2005, 56, 1849–1856. PDF
2005
Bardekeben, C.; Gray, M. M. Isolation of polymorphic tetranucleotide microsatellite markers for the masked flowerpiercer Diglossia cyanea. Molecular Ecology Notes 2005, 5, 849–850. PDF
2005
Bardeleben, C.; Gray, M. M. Isolation of polymorphic tetranucleotide microsatellite markers for the streak-necked flycatcher Mionectes striaticollis. Molecular Ecology Notes 2005, 5, 755–756. PDF
2005
Slabbekoorn, H.; Ellers, J.; Smith, T. B. Birdsong and sound transmission: The benefits of reverberations. Condor 2005, 104, 564–573. PDF
2005
Slabbekoorn, H.; Smith, T. B. Bird song, ecology and speciation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London 2005, 23, 1–3. PDF
2001
Poulsen, J. R.; Clark, C. J.; Smith, T. B. Seasonal variation in the feeding ecology of the grey-cheeked mangabay (Lophecebus albigena) in Cameroon. American Journal of Primatology 2001, 54, 91–105. PDF
2001
VanGelder, E.; Smith, T. B. Breeding characteristics of the Akohekohe on east Maui. Studies in Avian Biology 2001, 22, 194–201.
2001
Smith, T. B.; Kark, S.; Schneider, C. J.; Wayne, R. K.; Moritz, C. [commentary] Biodiversity hotspots and beyond: the need for preserving environmental transitions. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 2001, 16. PDF
2001
Smith, T. B.; Schneider, C. J.; Holder, K. Refugial isolation vs. ecological gradients: Testing alternative mechanisms of evolutionary divergence in four rainforest vertebrates. Genetica 2001, 112, 383–398. PDF
2000
Moritz, C.; Patton, J.; Schneider, C.; Smith, T. B. Diversification of rainforest faunas: An integrated molecular approach. Annual Reviews of Ecology and Systematics 2000, 31, 533–563. PDF
2000
Larison, B.; Smith, T. B.; Fotso, R.; McNiven, D. Comparative avian biodiversity of five mountains in northern Cameroon and Bioko. Ostrich 2000, 71, 269–276; DOI 10.1080/00306525.2000.9639926.
1999
Schneider, C.; Smith, T. B.; Larison, B.; Moritz, C. A test of alternative models of diversification in tropical rainforest: ecological gradients vs. rainforest refugia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 1999, 96, 13869–13873. PDF
1998
Whitney, K.; Fogiel, M.; Lamperti, A.; Holbrook, K.; Stauffer, D.; Hardesty, B.; Parker, V.; Smith, T. B. Seed dispersal by Ceratogymna hornbills in the Dja Reserve of Cameroon. Journal of Tropical Ecology 1998, 14, 351–371. PDF
1998
Orr, M. R.; Smith, T. B. Ecology and speciation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 1998, 13, 502–506. PDF
1997
Smith, T. B.; Wayne, R. K.; Girman, D.; Bruford, M. W. A role for ecotones in generating rainforest biodiversity. Science 1997, 276, 1855–1857. PDF
1996
Mace, G.; Smith, T. B.; Bruford, M. W.; Wayne, R. K. An overview of the issues. In Molecular Genetic Approaches in Conservation; Smith, T. B., Wayne, R. K., Eds.; Oxford University Press: 1996; pp 1–21.
1993
Smith, T. B.; Bruford, M. W.; Wayne, R. K. The preservation of process: the missing element of conservation programs. In Biodiversity Letters; : 1993; pp 164–167. PDF

CTR Bird

Center for Tropical Research | UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
La Kretz Hall, Suite 300 | 619 Charles E. Young Dr. East | Los Angeles, CA 90095-1496

The Center for Tropical Research, located on the third floor of La Kretz Hall, is part of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at the University of California, Los Angeles. For general inquiries, contact Christa Gomez, CTR Office Manager, at (310) 206-6234, or by email at cgomez@lifesci.ucla.edu. Visitors are always welcome.

Back to Top