Dr John Evans

Honorary Lecturer

Research interests

Does dispersal influence extinction risk? A study of the beetles at the Wog Wog Habitat Fragmentation Study

Climate change and habitat fragmentation are growing threats to biodiversity.  To be able to mitigate these threats, it is critical to know how species disperse through the landscape, but such knowledge is lacking.  A key assumption, that dispersal is crucial in allowing species to survive in fragmented landscapes, is used as a basis to spend billions annually on land management regimes worldwide.

The Wog Wog experiment was established in 1985 to quantify the effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity and has produced very important findings about the effects of habitat fragmentation. New data emerging in 2011, from research led by Dr Davies at the University of Colorado, will identify species of beetle that have become extinct and those that have survived in the experimental fragments over 25 years. I aim to find out why these species show these responses.

I am using detailed species-level genetic and direct research combined with community-wide studies to identify the factors influencing the extinction or persistence of species in fragmented landscapes. By researching the dispersal capacity of beetle species with known responses to fragmentation, I hope to determine the influence of dispersal on the risk of extinction after fragmentation and provide evidence for methods to improve conservation of vulnerable species and reserve design, including large-scale connectivity projects worldwide.

  • Evans, M, Cunningham, S, Gibb, H et al 2019, 'Beetle ecological indicators: A comparison of cost vs reward to understand functional changes in response to restoration actions', Ecological Indicators, vol. 104, pp. 209-218
  • Evans, M, Banks, S, Barton, P et al 2018, 'A long-term habitat fragmentation experiment leads to morphological change in a species of carabid beetle', Ecological Entomology, vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 282-293pp.
  • Evans, M, Banks, S, Driscoll, D et al 2017, 'Short- and long- term effects of habitat fragmentation differ but are predicted by response to the matrix', Ecology, vol. 98, no. 3, pp. 807-819 pp.
  • Evans, M, Banks, S, Davies, K et al 2016, 'The use of traits to interpret responses to large scale - edge effects: a study of epigaeic beetle assemblages across a Eucalyptus forest and pine plantation edge', Landscape Ecology, vol. 31, no. 8, pp. 1815-1831.
  • Barton, P, Evans, M, Foster, C et al 2019, 'Towards Quantifying Carrion Biomass in Ecosystems', Trends in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 34, no. 10, pp. 950-961.
  • Quaggiotto, M, Evans, M, Higgins, A et al 2019, 'Dynamic soil nutrient and moisture changes under decomposing vertebrate carcasses', Biogeochemistry, vol. 146, pp. 71–82pp.
  • Ross, C, Munro, N, Barton, P et al 2019, 'Effects of digging by a native and introduced ecosystem engineer on soil physical and chemical properties in temperate grassy woodland', PeerJ, vol. online.
  • Barton, P, Evans, M, Sato, C et al 2019, 'Higher-taxon and functional group responses of ant and bird assemblages to livestock grazing: A test of an explicit surrogate concept', Ecological Indicators, vol. 96, pp. 458-465.
  • Barton, P, Strong, C, Evans, M et al 2019, 'Nutrient and moisture transfer to insect consumers and soil during vertebrate decomposition', Food Webs, vol. 18.
  • King, A, Melbourne, B, Davies, K et al 2018, 'Spatial and temporal variability of fragmentation effects in a long term, eucalypt forest fragmentation experiment', Landscape Ecology, vol. 33, no. 4, pp. 609-623pp.
  • Ng, K, Barton, P, Blanchard, W et al 2018, 'Disentangling the effects of farmland use, habitat edges, and vegetation structure on ground beetle morphological traits', Oecologia, vol. Online, pp. 1-13.
  • Yong, D, Barton, P, Ikin, K et al 2018, 'Cross-taxonomic surrogates for biodiversity conservation in human-modified landscapes - A multi-taxa approach', Biological Conservation, vol. 224, pp. 336-346pp.
  • Barton, P, Evans, M, Foster, C et al 2017, 'Environmental and spatial drivers of spider diversity at contrasting microhabitats', Austral Ecology, vol. 42, no. 6, pp. 700-710.
  • Barton, P & Evans, M 2017, 'Insect biodiversity meets ecosystem function: Differential effects of habitat and insects on carrion decomposition', Ecological Entomology, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 364-374pp.
  • Barton, P, Evans, M, Pechal, J et al 2017, 'Necrophilous Insect Dynamics at Small Vertebrate Carrion in a Temperate Eucalypt Woodland', Journal of Medical Entomology, vol. 54, no. 4, pp. 964-973pp..
  • Barton, P, McIntyre, S, Evans, M et al 2016, 'Substantial long-Term effects of carcass addition on soil and plants in a grassy eucalypt woodland', Ecosphere, vol. 7, no. 10, pp. -.
  • Rayner, L., Ikin, K., Evans, M.J., Gibbons, P., Lindenmayer, D. & Manning, A.D. (2015). Avifauna and urban encroachment in time and space. Diversity and Distributions, 21, 428-440.
  • Driscoll, D.A., Banks, S.C., Barton, P.S., Ikin, K., Lentini, P., Lindenmayer, D.B., Smith, A.L., Berry, L.E., Burns, E.L., Edworthy, A., Evans, M.J., Gibson, R., Heinsohn, R., Howland, B., Kay, G., Munro, N., Scheele, B.C., Stirnemann, I., Stojanovic, D., Sweaney, N., Villaseñor, N.R. & Westgate, M.J. (2014). The trajectory of dispersal research in conservation biology. Systematic review. PLoS ONE, 9, e95053.