Location biases in ecological research on Australian terrestrial reptiles

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Piccolo, RL
Warnken, J
Chauvenet, ALM
Castley, JG
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Understanding geographical biases in ecological research is important for conservation, planning, prioritisation and management. However, conservation efforts may be limited by data availability and poor understanding of the nature of potential spatial bias. We conduct the first continent-wide analysis of spatial bias associated with Australian terrestrial reptile ecological research. To evaluate potential research deficiencies, we used Maxent modelling to predict the distributions of 646 reptile studies published from 1972 to 2017. Based on existing distributions of 1631 individual reptile study locations, reptile species richness, proximity to universities, human footprint and location of protected areas, we found the strongest predictor of reptile research locations was proximity to universities (40.8%). This was followed by species richness (22.9%) and human footprint (20.1%), while protected areas were the weakest predictor (16.2%). These results highlight that research effort is driven largely by accessibility and we consequently identify potential target areas for future research that can be optimised to ensure adequate representation of reptile communities.

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Scientific Reports

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© The Author(s) 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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Terrestrial ecology

Conservation and biodiversity

Environmental management

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Piccolo, RL; Warnken, J; Chauvenet, ALM; Castley, JG, Location biases in ecological research on Australian terrestrial reptiles, Scientific Reports , 2020, 10 (1), pp. 9691:1-9691:10