Dov F. Sax Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, Deputy Director (Teaching) of the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society

My interest in conservation biology was sparked as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, where I investigated the impacts of non-native, eucalypt trees on native biodiversity. As a Ph.D. student, I examined the impacts of species invasions on plant diversity at local and global scales, while as a postdoc, I explored how biodiversity has changed on oceanic islands around the world as a consequence of species invasions. At Brown, I have continued to investigate the impact of species invasions, but most of my research effort is now aimed at understanding species extinction dynamics, species responses to climate change, and climate adaptation strategies that can conserve natural resources.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

scholarly work

Books

Sax, D.F., Stachowicz, J.J., and Gaines, S.D., editors. (2005) Species Invasions: Insights into Ecology, Evolution and Biogeography. Sinauer, Sunderland, MA.

Lomolino, M.V., Sax, D.F. and Brown, J.H., editors. (2004) Foundations of Biogeography: Classic Works with Commentaries. University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

 

Journal Articles

Crosby, S.C., Sax, D.F., Palmer, M.E., Booth, H.S., Deegan, L.A., Bertness, M.D. and Leslie, H.M. (2017) Salt marsh persistence is threatened worldwide by predicted sea-level rise. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science: in press.

Rosenblad, K.C. and Sax, D.F. (2017) A new framework for investigating biotic homogenization and exploring future trajectories: oceanic island plant and bird assemblages as a case study. Ecography: in press.

Ivory, S.J., Early, R., Sax, D.F. and Russell, J. (2016) Niche expansion and temperature sensitivity of tropical African montane forests. Global Ecology and Biogeography 25: 693-703.

Javeline, D., Hellmann, J.J., McLachlan, J.S., Sax, D.F., Schwartz, M.W. and Cornejo, R.C. (2015) Expert opinion on extinction risk and climate change adaptation for biodiversity. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene 3 :057, doi: 10.12952/journal.elementa.000057

Armsworth, P.R., Larson, E.R., Jackson, S.T., Sax, D.F., Simonin, P., Blossey, B., Green, N., Klein, M.L., Lester, L., Ricketts, T.H., Runge, M.C. and Shaw, M.R. (2015) Are conservation organizations configured for effective adaptation to global change? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 13: 163–169.

Early, R. and Sax, D.F. (2014) Climatic niche shifts between species' native and naturalized ranges raise concern for ecological forecasts during invasions and climate change. Global Ecology and Biogeography 23: 1356-1365.

Fridley, J.D. and Sax, D.F. (2014) The imbalance of nature: revisiting a Darwinian framework for invasion biology. Global Ecology and Biogeography 23: 1157-1166.

Colautti, R.I., Parker, J.D., Cadotte, M.W., Pysek, P., Brown, C.S., Sax, D.F. and Richardson, D.M. (2014) Quantifying the invasiveness of species. Neobiota 21: 7–27.

Sax, D.F., Early, R. and Bellemare, J. (2013) Niche syndromes, species extinction risks and management under climate change. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 28: 517-523.

van der Geer, A.A, Lyras, G.A., Palombo, M.R., Lomolino, M.V. and Sax, D.F. (2013) Body size evolution of palaeo-insular mammals: temporal variations and interspecific interactions. Journal of Biogeography 40: 1440-1450.

Lomolino, M.V., van der Geer, A.A., Lyras, G.A., Palombo, M.R., Sax, D.F. and Rozzi, R. (2013) Of mice and mammoths: generality and antiquity of the island rule. Journal of Biogeography 40: 1427-1439.

Heard, M.J. and Sax, D.F. (2013) Coexistence between native and exotic species is facilitated by asymmetries in competitive ability and predator tolerance. Ecology Letters 16: 206-213.

Schlaepfer, M.A, Sax, D.F. and Olden, J.D. (2012) Towards a more balanced view of non-native species. Conservation Biology 26: 1156-1158.

Heard, M.J., Sax, D.F. and Bruno, J.F. (2012) Dominance of non-native species increases over time in a historically invaded strandline community. Diversity and Distributions 18: 1232-1242. Faculty of 1000 – recommended article.

Schwartz, M.W., Hellmann, J.J., McLachlan, J.M., Sax, D.F. et al. (2012) Managed Relocation: integrating the scientific, regulatory and ethical challenges. Bioscience 62: 732-743.

Lomolino, M.V., Sax, D.F., Palombo, M.R. and van der Geer, A.A. (2012) Of mice and mammoths: Evaluations of causal explanations for body size evolution in insular mammals. Journal of Biogeography 39: 842-854.

Guo, Q., Sax, D.F., Qian, H. and Early, R. (2012) Latitudinal shifts of introduced species: possible causes and implications. Biological Invasions 14: 547-556.

Early, R. and Sax, D.F. (2011) Analysis of climate paths reveals potential limitations on species range shifts. Ecology Letters 14: 1125-1133.   Faculty of 1000 – recommended article.

Schlaepfer, M.A, Sax, D.F. and Olden, J.D. (2011) The potential conservation value of non-native species. Conservation Biology 25: 428-437.

Jackson, S.T and Sax, D.F. (2010) Response to ‘Biodiversity “surpluses” and “deficits” are not novel issues’: We agree. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 25: 621-622.

Jackson, S.T and Sax, D.F. (2010) Balancing biodiversity in a changing environment: extinction debt, immigration credit and species turnover. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 25:153-160. Faculty of 1000 – recommended article.

Smith, K.F., Behrens, M. and Sax, D.F. (2009) Local scale effects of disease on biodiversity. Ecohealth 6: 287-295.

Sax, D.F., Smith, K.F. and Thompson, A.R. (2009) Managed relocation: a nuanced evaluation is needed. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 24: 472-473.

Richardson, D.M, Hellmann, J.J., McLachlan, J., Sax, D.F., Schwartz, M.W. et al. (2009) Multidimensional evaluation of managed relocation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107: 9721-9724.

Sax, D.F. and Gaines, S.D. (2008) Species invasions and extinction: The future of native biodiversity on islands. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105: 11490-11497.

Sax, D.F., Stachowicz, J.J., Brown, J.H., Bruno, J.F., Dawson, M.N., Gaines, S.D., Grosberg, R.K., Hastings, A., Holt, R.D., Mayfield, M.M., O’Connor, M.I. and Rice, W.R. (2007). Ecological and evolutionary insights from species invasions. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 22: 465-471.

Vellend, M., Harmon, L.J., Lockwood, J.L., Mayfield, M.M., Hughes, A.R., Wares, J.P. and Sax, D.F. (2007) Effects of exotic species on evolutionary diversification. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 22: 481-488.

Smith, K.F., Sax, D.F., Gaines, S.D., Guernier, V. and Guegan, J.F. (2007) Globalization of human infectious disease. Ecology 88:1903-1910.

Mittelbach, G.G. et al. (2007) Evolution and the latitudinal diversity gradient: Speciation, extinction and biogeography. Ecology Letters 10: 315-331.

Fridley, J.D., Stachowicz, J.J., Naeem, S., Sax, D.F., Seabloom, E.W., Smith, M.D., Stohlgren, T.J., Tilman, D. and Von Holle, B. (2007) The invasion paradox: Reconciling pattern and process in species invasions. Ecology 88: 3-17. Faculty of 1000 – recommended article.

Lomolino, M.V., Sax, D.F., Riddle, B.R. and Brown, J.H. (2006) The island rule and a research agenda for studying ecogeographic patterns. Journal of Biogeography 33: 1503-1510.

Smith, K.F., Sax, D.F. and Lafferty, K.D. (2006) Evidence for the role of infectious disease in species extinction and endangerment. Conservation Biology 20: 1349-1357.

Cassey, P., Blackburn, T.M., Lockwood, J.L. and Sax, D.F. (2006) A stochastic model for integrating changes in species richness and community similarity across spatial scales. Oikos 115: 207-218.

Brown, J.H. and Sax, D.F. (2005) Biological invasions and scientific objectivity: Reply to Cassey et al. (2005). Austral Ecology 30: 481-483.

Sax, D.F., Kinlan, B.P. and Smith, K.F. (2005) A conceptual framework for comparing species assemblages in native and exotic habitats. Oikos 108: 457-464.

Brown, J.H. and Sax, D.F. (2004) An essay on some topics concerning invasive species. Austral Ecology 29: 530-536.

Sax, D.F. and Gaines, S.D. (2003) Species diversity: from global decreases to local increases. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 18: 561-566.

Sax, D.F., Gaines, S.D. and Brown, J.H. (2002) Species invasions exceed extinctions on islands worldwide: a comparative study of plants and birds. American Naturalist 160: 766-783.

Sax, D.F. (2002) Equal diversity in disparate species assemblages: a comparison of native and exotic woodlands of California. Global Ecology & Biogeography 11: 49-58.

Sax, D.F. (2002) Native and naturalized plant diversity are positively correlated in scrub communities of California and Chile. Diversity & Distributions 8: 193-210.

Sax, D.F. (2001) Latitudinal gradients and geographic ranges of exotic species: implications for biogeography. Journal of Biogeography 28: 139-150.

Sax, D.F. and Brown, J.H. (2000) The Paradox of Invasion. Global Ecology & Biogeography 9: 363-372.

 

Book Chapters

Sax, D.F. and Gaines, S.D. (2011) The equilibrium theory of Island Biogeography. In, Scheiner, S.M. and M.R. Willig. The Theory of Ecology. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Lomolino, M.V., Brown, J.H. and Sax, D.F. (2009) Island biogeography theory: Reticulations and reintegration of a biogeography of the species. In, Losos, J. B., and R. E. Ricklefs. The Theory of Island Biogeography Revisited. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Sala, O.E., Sax, D.F. and Leslie, H. (2009) Biodiversity consequences of increased biofuel production. In, Howarth, R.W. and S. Bringezu, Biofuels: Environmental Consequences and Interactions with Changing Land Use. Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), Ithaca, NY.

Sax, D.F. and Gaines, S.D. (2006) The biogeography of naturalized species and the species-area relationship. In, Cadotte, M.W. et al. Conceptual ecology and invasions biology: reciprocal approaches to nature. Springer, Netherlands.

Rice, W.R. and Sax, D.F. (2005) Testing fundamental evolutionary questions at large spatial and demographic scales. In, Sax, D.F et al. Species Invasions: Insights into Ecology, Evolution and Biogeography. Sinauer, Sunderland, MA.

Sax, D.F., Brown, J.H., White, E. and Gaines, S.D. (2005) The dynamics of species invasions: Insights into the mechanisms that limit species diversity. In, Sax, D.F., Stachowicz, J.J., and Gaines, S.D., editors. Species Invasions: Insights into Ecology, Evolution and Biogeography. Sinauer, Sunderland, MA.

Sax, D.F., Stachowicz, J.J. and Gaines, S.D. (2005) Capstone: Where do we go from here? In, Sax, D.F., Stachowicz, J.J., and Gaines, S.D., editors. Species Invasions: Insights into Ecology, Evolution and Biogeography. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MA.

Sax, D.F. and Whittaker, R.J. (2004) Dynamics of species diversity. In, Heaney, L.R. and Lomolino, M.V. Frontiers of Biogeography: New Directions in the Geography of Nature. Sinauer, Sunderland, MA.

Brown, J.H. and Sax, D.F. (2004) Geographic gradients in diversity. In, Lomolino, M.V., Sax, D.F. and Brown, J.H, editors. Foundations of Biogeography: Classic Works with Commentaries. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

 

Book Reviews

Sax, D.F. (2012) Review of “Saving a Million Species: Extinction Risk from Climate Change”, Hannah, L., 2012, Island Press. Bioscience 62: 844-845.

Sax, D.F. (2007) Review of “Plants on Islands”, Cody, M.L., 2006, University of California Press. Ecology 88: 1068-1069.

Sax, D.F. (2004) Review of “The Structure and Dynamics of Geographic Ranges”, Gaston, K.J., 2003, Oxford U. Press. Quarterly Review of Biology 79: 100-101.

Sax, D.F. (2002) Review of “Trees and shrubs of California”, Stuart, J.D. and Sawyer, J.O., 2001, University of California Press. Diversity & Distributions 8: 309-310.

 

Popular Press Publications & Non-Refereed Journal Articles

Sax, D.F. (2010) Journal Club: A conservation biologist considers the role of nature reserves in a warming world. Nature 466: 669.

Brown, J.H. and Sax, D.F. (2007) Do biological invasions decrease biodiversity? Conservation Magazine 8: 16-17.

Gibbons, W. and [Sax, D.F. – principal author of text] (2007) Why not let the aliens take over? Part 2. New York Times Regional News Group (publisher of 14 regional news papers), Sunday, April 22.

Whittaker, R.J. and Sax, D.F. (2003) A 21st century Pangea? The emergence of a new international forum for Biogeographers. Journal of Biogeography 30: 315-317.

 

research overview

My research examines how species invasions and climate change impact native species and ecosystems. I am particularly interested in understanding when species extinctions are likely and what strategies we can take to prevent them from occurring. To investigate these issues I conduct local-scale ecological research and biogeographic synthesis of regional and global patterns. I have also worked with collaborators to model species responses to climate change and to collect paleo-ecological data that informs our understanding of extinction dynamics over longer time periods. My aim is to improve our understanding of ecological systems so that we can inform natural resource policy and management.

funded research

Conserving Threatened Plants in a Non-stationary World: A Predictive Framework for Assessing Risks and Guiding Management. SERDP (Department of Defense) $936,963. PI: Sax, D.F. (with co-PIs Jesse Bellemare and Regan Early).

Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Local Extinctions: A 300 year-Experiment. National Science Foundation, $395,364 (2010-2013). Lead-PI: Sax, D.F. ($695,055 total for collaborative project, with Co-PI Jackson, S.T.).

Toward a General Theory of Body Size Across Space and Time. National Science Foundation, $4,418 (2010-2011). PI: Sax, D.F. ($100,000 total for collaborative project, with Lead-PI Lomolino, M.V.).

Sax, D.F., McLachlan, J.S., and Hellmann, J.J. (2007-2009). Assisted Migration: Evaluating a New Strategy for Species Conservation. Cedar Tree Foundation, $102,000.

Sax, D.F., Hellmann, J.J., McLachlan, J.S. and Schwartz, M.W. (2007-2008). Collaborative Research: Interdisciplinary workshop on assisted migration - August 2008, Milwaukee, WI. National Science Foundation, $14,950 (Sax), $29,900 (total for collaborative project).

Sax, D.F. and Guo, Q. (2007-2008). An early warning system for plant invasions: predicting risk in the context of multiple environmental stresses. US Forest Service, Research Grant, $59,172.

Sax, D.F. (2006-2007). U.S. Graduate Student Travel to the International Biogeography Society Conference. National Science Foundation, $37,100.

Sax, D.F., Gaines, S.D. and Stachowicz, J.J. (2004-2007). Exotic species: a source of insight into Ecology, Evolution and Biogeography. National Center of Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Research Project Grant, $58,700.

Lomolino, M.V., Sax, D.F. and Brown, J.H. (2000-2001). The foundations and future of biogeography. National Center of Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Research Project Grant, $27,000.

Sax, D.F. (1997). Plant invasions of the Santa Monica Mountains. Southwest Parks and Monuments Association, Research Grant, $4,100.

Sax, D.F. (1997). Plant invasions of central Chile. Institute of Latin American Studies, University of New Mexico, Travel Fellowship Award, $1,276.

Sax, D.F. (1996-1998). Vice President's Graduate Research Fund & Student Research Allocation Council, University of New Mexico, Travel Awards, $840.

Sax, D.F. (1996-1999). Biology Graduate Student Association, University of New Mexico, Travel Awards, $575.