- BZ2440: Ecology and Conservation (Level 2; TSV)
- BZ3220: Population and Community Ecology (Level 3; TSV)
- BZ3755: Biodiversity and Climate Change: Impact, Mitigation and Adaptation (Level 3; TSV)
- BZ5220: Population and Community Ecology (Level 5; TSV)
- BZ5440: Ecology and Conservation (Level 5; TSV)
- BZ5755: Biodiversity and Climate Change: Impact, Mitigation and Adaptation (Level 5; TSV)
- SC1101: Science: Nature, Knowledge and Understanding (Level 1; TSV)
- Global Climate Change
- Conservation of species and habitat
- Research Disciplines
I started the Centre for Tropical Biodiversity & Climate Change research (CTBCC) in 2006 and was the inaugural Director for six years. I convene the National Adaptation Network for Natural Ecosystems hosted by James Cook University for the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF). I currently run the biodiversity and Global Change program within the CTBCC and teach biodiversity and climate change science. Over the last 5 years I ran the Rainforest Biodiversity program in the National Environmental Research Program (Terrestrial Ecosystems hub) and I was the Director of the Australian National Climate Change Adaptation research Facility Adaptation Research Network - Terrestrial Biodiversity. I am the Chair of the IUCN Climate Change & Biodiversity Specialist Group and Wet Tropics Management Authority Science Advisory Committee.
My research is focused on understanding biodiversity, assessing the vulnerability of biodiversity to global climate change and using this knowledge to maximise the positive benefits of conservation management and adaptation. My research group is currently examining a diverse range of research topics on climate change and biodiversity (vertebrates, invertebrates, plants and ecosystem processes) including biodiversity patterns and processes, population genetics, thermal physiology, paleo-modelling of habitats and species distributions, extinction proneness, phenology, nutrient cycling, climatic seasonality, trophic interactions, net primary productivity, vegetation structure, resilience and estimating the relative vulnerability of species and habitats
My research was one of the first to identify global climate change as a severe threatening process in the tropics and that we may be facing many species extinctions in mountain systems around the world. This work resulted in the Australian Wet Tropics being internationally recognized by the IPCC as one of the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems. Papers in PLoS Biology, PNAS, Nature, American Naturalist, Global Change Biology, Diversity & Distributions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of London have made significant contributions to the high profile of climate change biology in the literature. My research is highly cited and has produced significant outcomes in research, policy and management at all levels from regional to international.
- Earthwatch Institute Principal Investigator of the year awarded for an “outstanding contribution to conservation research and public education”.
- JCU Faculty of Science & Engineering Deans award for “Excellence in Research
- The Wet Tropics Management Authority “Cassowary Award” for contributions to science
These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.
- Journal Articles
- Staunton K, Nakamura A, Burwell C, Robson S and Williams S (2016) Elevational distribution of flightless ground beetles in the tropical rainforests of north-eastern Australia. PLoS ONE, 11 (5). pp. 1-21
- Anderson A, Marques T, Shoo L and Williams S (2015) Detectability in audio-visual surveys of tropical rainforest birds: the influence of species, weather and habitat characteristics. PLoS ONE, 10 (6). pp. 1-24
- Pacifici M, Foden W, Visconti P, Watson J, Butchart S, Kovacs K, Scheffers B, Hole D, Martin T, Akçakaya H, Corlett R, Huntley B, Bickford D, Carr J, Hoffman A, Midgley G, Pearce-Kelly P, Pearson R, Williams S, Willis S, Young B and Rondinini C (2015) Assessing species vulnerability to climate change. Nature Climate Change, 5. pp. 215-225
- Parsons S, Valdez-Ramirez V, Congdon R and Williams S (2014) Contrasting patterns of litterfall seasonality and seasonal changes in litter decomposability in a tropical rainforest region. Biogeosciences, 11 (18). pp. 5047-5056
- Parsons S, Congdon R, Shoo L, Valdez-Ramirez V and Williams S (2014) Spatial variability in litterfall, litter standing crop and litter quality in a tropical rain forest region. Biotropica, 46 (4). pp. 378-386
- Reside A, Welbergen J, Phillips B, Wardell-Johnson G, Keppel G, Ferrier S, Williams S and Vanderwal J (2014) Characteristics of climate change refugia for Australian biodiversity. Austral Ecology, 39 (8). pp. 887-897
- Scheffers B, Edwards D, Diesmos A, Williams S and Evans T (2014) Microhabitats reduce animal's exposure to climate extremes. Global Change Biology, 20 (2). pp. 495-503
- Staunton K, Robson S, Burwell C, Reside A and Williams S (2014) Projected distributions and diversity of flightless ground beetles within the Australian Wet Tropics and their environmental correlates. PLoS ONE, 9 (2). pp. 1-16
- Storlie C, Merino-Viteri A, Phillips B, VanDerWal J, Welbergen J and Williams S (2014) Stepping inside the niche: microclimate data are critical for accurate assessment of species' vulnerability to climate change. Biology Letters, 10 (9). pp. 1-4
- Anderson A, Storlie C, Shoo L, Pearson R and Williams S (2013) Current analogues of future climate indicate the likely response of a sensitive montane tropical avifauna to a warming world. PLoS ONE, 8 (7). pp. 1-13
- Capon S, Chambers L, Mac Nally R, Naiman R, Davies P, Marshall N, Pittock J, Reid M, Capon T, Douglas M, Catford J, Baldwin D, Stewardson M, Roberts J, Parsons M and Williams S (2013) Riparian ecosystems in the 21st century: hotspots for climate change adaptation? Ecosystems, 16 (3). pp. 359-381
- Book Chapters
- Williams S, Scheffers B and Isaac J (2014) Australian tropical rainforests. In: Ten Commitments Revisited: securing Australia's future environment. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, VIC, Australia, pp. 83-89
ResearchOnline@JCU stores 103+ research outputs authored by Prof Stephen Williams from 1993 onwards.
- Current Funding
Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.
NCCARF - Phase 2: Adaptation Networks
NCCARF Phase 2: Natural Ecosystems Adaptation Research Network
- Indicative Funding
- $435,000 over 3 years (administered by Griffith University)
- The NCCARF Natural Ecosystems project will be convened by Prof Stephen Williams and hosted by James Cook University. The Network will bring together three previous adaptation research networks established in NCCARF Phase 1: terrestrial, marine and freshwater biodiversity. The project will provide open exchange of knowledge information, and resources across an inclusive collaborative network that includes representation across states, sectors, stakeholder groups, ecosystems and fields of expertise. Outputs from the project will provide explicit and practical strategies that will guide decision-makers and increase the resilience and adaptive potential of natural ecosystems in the face of climate change.
- Stephen Williams in collaboration with Damien Burrows, Bob Pressey, Jeremy Vanderwal and Nadiah Roslan (College of Science & Engineering, TropWATER and Research Infrastructure)
- Climate Change; Adaptation; Research; Network; Biodiversity; Natural Ecosystems
Earthwatch Institute Australia - Contract Research
Wildlife of the Cloud Forest
- Indicative Funding
- $60,693 over 6 years
- This project takes Earthwatch volunteers into the Wet Tropics rainforest to undertake scientific data collection and learn about the impacts of climate change on tropical biodiversity. This project undertakes monitoring of biodiversity along standardised transects in the rainforest and trains members of the general public to undertake these activities.
- Stephen Williams (College of Science & Engineering)
- Wet tropics; Climate Change
Wet Tropics Management Authority - Contract Research
2015-2016 State of the Wet Tropics Report "Ancient, Endemic, Rare and Threatened Animals of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area"
- Indicative Funding
- The report will include an executive summary, introduction and up-to-date literature review. The review will summarize the current state of knowledge on the distributions (including historical and future refugial dynamics), conservation status, relative vulnerability (in the past, currently and in the future), phylogeographic patterns and evolutionary history of the regions vertebrate fauna with specific emphasis on the ancient, rare, endemic and threatened species.
- Stephen Williams, Lorena Falconi Lopez and Craig Moritz (College of Science & Engineering and Australian National University)
- Wet Tropics World Heritage Area; Conservation; Phylogeography; Vertebrate Fauna; Species Distributions
Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.
These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.
- Biogeography of Bats in the Australian Wet Tropics: Current Distribution and Response to Future Climate Change. (PhD, Secondary Advisor)
- The Ecology of an Arboreal Rainforest gecko: Saltuarius cornutus. (Masters, Secondary Advisor)
- Assessing Vulnerability of Thailand's Rainforest Birds to Climate Change. (PhD, Primary Advisor)
- Diversity, Habitat Use and Movements of Small Mammals in Fragmented Landscapes (PhD, Secondary Advisor)
- Locating adaptive diversity in the face of climate change (2016, PhD, Secondary Advisor)
- Balancing the costs and benefits of increasing information in ecological models (2015, PhD, Secondary Advisor)
- Implications of Climate Change and Shifting Fire Regimes for Vegetation Types (2016, PhD, Primary Advisor)
- Systematic conservation planning for the Paranã River Basin, Brazil, under climate change (2016, PhD, Primary Advisor)
- Influences of past, present and future climate on the structure and diversity of rainforest bird assemblages in north-eastern Australia (2012, PhD, Primary Advisor)
- The vulnerability of flightless ground beetles (Carabidae) to climate change in the Australian tropical rainforest (2014, PhD, Primary Advisor)
- Host-parasite interactions: bird immune genes, blood parasites and climate change implications (2014, PhD, Secondary Advisor)
- Understanding patterns of endemic dung beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) biodiversity in the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest: implications of climate change (2015, PhD, Primary Advisor)
These are the most recent metadata records associated with this researcher. To see a detailed description of all dataset records, visit the JCU Research Data Catalogue.
- Williams, S. (2013) Vertebrate monitoring in the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest at WU13A6 (145.00915495, -16.22966978, 1300.0m above MSL) collected by Reptile Surveys. James Cook University
- Williams, S. (2013) Vertebrate monitoring in the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest at CU8A0 (145.29786706, -16.58720761, 800.0m above MSL) collected by Microhylid survey. James Cook University
- Williams, S. (2013) Microclimate monitoring of the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest at BK16A2 (145.85488893, -17.26264035, 1600.0m above MSL) collected by iButton Hygrochron. James Cook University
- Williams, S. (2013) Vertebrate monitoring in the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest at CU4A4 (145.36937008, -16.53464361, 400.0m above MSL) collected by Microhylid survey. James Cook University
- Williams, S. (2013) Vertebrate monitoring in the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest at CU1A6 (145.32033147, -16.4710519, 100.0m above MSL) collected by Reptile Surveys. James Cook University
- Williams, S. (2013) Vertebrate monitoring in the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest at AU4A0 (145.76635518, -17.61036448, 400.0m above MSL) collected by Microhylid survey. James Cook University
- Williams, S. (2013) Vertebrate monitoring in the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest at AU8A0 (145.63251523, -17.60341917, 800.0m above MSL) collected by Reptile Surveys. James Cook University
- Williams, S. (2013) Vertebrate monitoring in the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest at CU8A5 (145.30148584, -16.58382136, 800.0m above MSL) collected by Microhylid survey. James Cook University
- Williams, S. (2013) Vertebrate monitoring in the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest at CU4A0 (145.36989105, -16.53508145, 400.0m above MSL) collected by Reptile Surveys. James Cook University
- Williams, S. (2013) Vertebrate monitoring in the Australian Wet Tropics rainforest at WU9A3 (145.08538855, -16.28471358, 900.0m above MSL) collected by Transect surveys for birds. James Cook University
The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.
- 5+ collaborations
- 4 collaborations
- 3 collaborations
- 2 collaborations
- 1 collaboration
- Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)