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Animal nutrient movement

What role do large animals have on ecosystem function? How did the Pleistocene megafauna extinctions affect ecosystem function?  We develop models to answer these questions and then use field campaigns or paleodata to try and validate our models.  Our goal is to develop global models to accurately predict the loss of ecosystem function following animal extinctions or reintroductions.

Key papers

Doughty, C.E., S. Faurby, A. Wolf, Y Malhi, J. Svenning.  Changing NPP consumption patterns in the Holocene: from megafauna “liberated” NPP to “ecological bankruptcy” Anthropocene Review. 2016 PDF


Doughty, C.E., Faurby, S. and Svenning, J. (2016) The impact of the megafauna extinctions on savanna woody cover in South America. Ecography. PDF

Doughty, C.E., Roman, J., Faurby, S., Wolf, A., Haque, A., Bakker, E.S., Malhi, Y., Dunning, J.B. and Svenning, J.C. (2016) Global nutrient transport in a world of giants. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.PDF


Doughty, C.E., Wolf, A., Baraloto, C. and Malhi, Y. (2016) Interdependency of plants and animals in controlling the sodium balance of ecosystems and the impacts of global defaunation. Ecography. PDF


Doughty, C.E., Wolf, A., Morueta-Holme, N., Jorgensen, P.M., Sandei, B., Violle, C., Boyle, B., Kraft, N.J.B., Peel, R.K., Enquist, B.J., Svenning, J., Blake, S. and Galetti, M. (2016) Megafauna extinction, tree species range reduction and carbon storage in Amazonian forests. Ecography. PDF

Malhi, Y., Doughty, C.E., Galetti, M., Smith, F.A., Svenning, J. and Terborgh, J.W. (2016) Megafauna and ecosystem function from the Pleistocene to the Anthropocene. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Smith, F.A., Doughty, C.E. Malhi, Y. , Svenning J., and Terborgh J. (2016) Megafauna in the Earth system.  Volume 39, Issue 2, February 2016, Pages: 99–108,

Doughty, C.E. (2013) Preindustrial human impacts on global and regional environment. Environment and Resources, 38: 503-527. PDF


Doughty, C.E., Wolf, A. and Malhi, Y. (2013) The impact of large animal extinctions on nutrient fluxes in early river valley civilizations. Ecosphere, 4(12). PDF


Doughty, C.E., Wolf, A. and Malhi, Y. (2013) The legacy of the Pleistocene megafauna extinctions on nutrient availability in Amazonia. Nature Geoscience, 6(2013): 761-764. PDF

Wolf, A., Doughty, C.E. and Malhi, Y. (2013) Lateral Diffusion of Nutrients by Mammalian Herbivores in Terrestrial Ecosystems. PLoS ONE, 8(8).

Doughty, C.E. (2010) The development of agriculture in the Americas: an ecological perspective. Ecosphere, 1(6). PDF


Doughty, C.E. and Field, C.B. (2010) Agricultural net primary production in relation to that liberated by the extinction of Pleistocene mega-herbivores: an estimate of agricultural carrying capacity? Environmental Research Letters, 5. PDF

Doughty, C.E., Wolf, A. and Field, C.B. (2010) Biophysical feedbacks between the Pleistocene megafauna extinction and climate: The first human-induced global warming? Geophysical Research Letters, 37(15). PDF

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