Wed, 29 Jan 2014, 10.00am @ CR1: Brett Scheffers on “Frog life in the canopy: how wet loving species survive hot and dry habitats”

PhD Defense Seminar cum Oral Examination

Frog life in the canopy: how wet loving species survive hot and dry habitats
Brett
Brett R. Scheffers

Wednesday, 29 Jan 2014: 10.00amGraduate Student
Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS

@ DBS Conference Room, S3 Level 5
Supervisor: Assoc Prof Evans, Theodore Alfred

All are welcome

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, I showed that rainforest’s vertical strata provide climatic gradients much steeper than those offered by elevation and latitude. I explored one hard-to-access-area, tropical rainforest canopy, and examined frog distributions along two nested climate gradients:  forest height within elevation.

I proposed a novel “arboreality hypothesis” based on empirical data to explain the vertical shift in species distributions in the rainforest strata with shifts with elevation, due to changes in climate up trees relative to up mountains. I explored how microhabitats, especially Asplenium bird’s nest ferns, within the forest strata ameliorate abiotic conditions and promote canopy biodiversity. My research suggests that ferns provide thermal buffering dependent on their state of hydration. Lastly, I determined the critical thermal maxima for various species of frogs and lizards, at different life stages, and then explored whether forest microhabitats are likely to provide refuge from extreme weather events.

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