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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Frontiers of Biogeography

Frontiers of Biogeography bannerUC Merced


Frontiers of Biogeography (FoB) is the scientific journal of the International Biogeography Society (IBS,, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promotion of and public understanding of the biogeographical sciences.  IBS launched FoB to provide an independent forum for biogeographical science, with the academic standards expected of a journal operated by and for an academic society.

Issue cover
Cover Caption: cover: View of Florida, Cuba and the Bahamas, taken by MODIS Satellite. Picture by NASA, public domain; modified from


Florida, Cuba and the Bahamas

cover: View of Florida, Cuba and the Bahamas, taken by MODIS Satellite. Picture by NASA, public domain; modified from


Broad-scale citizen science data from checklists: prospects and challenges for macroecology

"Checklists" of organisms --- records of the species seen in a specific area during a relatively short time period --- are routinely collected by hobbyists for some taxa of organisms, most notably birds.  Gathering and curating these checklists creates a data resource that we believe is underutilized by macroecologists and biogeographers.  In this paper, we describe what we perceive to be the strengths of these data as well as caveats for their use.  While our comments apply widely to data of this type, we focus on data from eBird, a program that collects checklist data on birds around the world, although principally in the Western Hemisphere.

call for data: PREDICTS: Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity in Changing Terrestrial Systems

The PREDICTS project ( is a three-year NERC-funded project to model and predict at a global scale how local terrestrial diversity responds to human pressures such as land use, land cover, pollution, invasive species and infrastructure. PREDICTS is a collaboration between Imperial College London, the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Microsoft Research Cambridge, UCL and the University of Sussex. In order to meet its aims, the project relies on extensive data describing the diversity and composition of biological communities at a local scale. Such data are collected on a vast scale through the committed efforts of field ecologists. If you have appropriate data that you would be willing to share with us, please get in touch ( All contributions will be acknowledged appropriately and all data contributors will be included as co-authors on an open-access paper describing the database.

Research Letters

research letter: Incorporating climate change into conservation planning: Identifying priority areas across a species’ range

Theoretical and practical approaches associated with conservation biogeography, including ecological niche modeling, have been applied to the difficult task of determining how to incorporate climate change into conservation prioritization methodologies. Most studies have focused on identifying species that are most at risk from climate change, but here we asked, which areas within a species’ range does climate change threaten most? We explored methods for incorporating climate change within a range-wide conservation planning framework, using a case study of jaguars (Panthera onca). We used ecological niche models to estimate exposure to climate change across the range of the jaguar and incorporated these estimates into habitat quality scores for re-prioritization of high-priority areas for jaguar conservation. Methods such as these are needed to guide prioritization of geographically-specific actions for conservation across a species’ range.

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Opinions, Perspectives & Reviews

perspective: Causes and consequences of range size variation: the influence of traits, speciation, and extinction

The tremendous variation in species richness observed among related clades across the tree of life has long caught the imagination of biologists. Recently, there has been growing attention paid to the possible contribution of range size variation, either alone or in combination with putative key innovations, to these patterns. Here, we review three related topics relevant to range size evolution, speciation, and extinction. First, we provide a brief overview of the debate surrounding patterns and mechanisms for phylogenetic signal in range size. Second, we discuss some recent findings regarding the joint influence of traits and range size on diversification. Finally, we present the preliminary results of a study investigating whether range size is negatively correlated with contemporary extinction risk in flowering plants.