Ecological theory predicts that fragmentation (the breaking apart of contiguous habitat) should have negative impacts on biodiversity beyond what can be explained by a simple reduction in habitat availability. However, while habitat loss is widely accepted as a dominant driver of biodiversity declines worldwide, ecologists continue to debate about the magnitude and even the direction of fragmentation effects on species and communities. Jonathon Valente will present the work he and his colleagues have undertaken to help make sense of this now 50-year-old conversation. He will also demonstrate how they are integrating new knowledge to improve conservation planning in tropical coffee-growing landscapes with extremely high biodiversity.
Dr. Valente is a postdoctoral researcher in the Migratory Bird Center at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. He is broadly interested in developing and using advanced quantitative tools to understand species distribution patterns.