Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences

Document Type



Evaluating the conservation status of threatened species requires a sequential process of 1) taxonomic classification, 2) distributional mapping, and 3) evaluation of species according to criteria established by the IUCN Red List. Knowledge gaps in the first two phases of this process have been termed the Linnaean and Wallacean Shortfalls, respectively. The Indonesian archipelago is one of the most biologically diverse areas of the planet, as well as one of the most threatened and poorly studied, and the Linnaean and Wallacean Shortfalls pose substantial challenges for conservation in the region. Here I address each of the three stages of categorizing threatened species through a series of case studies on birds in two regions of Indonesia: Java and the Northern Moluccas. The first chapter addresses an example of the Linnaean Shortfall; using behavioural and vocal data, I provide insight on the taxonomic status of woodcock (genus: Scolopax) on Java. The display and vocalizations of these birds confirm that they are a distinct biological species and should be evaluated separately from woodcock in New Guinea. The second chapter focuses on the Wallacean Shortfall, and clarifies avian distributions in three Javan montane areas and on the North Moluccan island of Obi. On Obi, in particular, previous knowledge of bird distribution is woefully incomplete; I report nine species of resident birds previously unknown on the island. In the third and final section, I incorporate criteria from the IUCN Red List to re-evaluate the conservation status of two species on Obi, Chattering Lory Lorius garrulus and Moluccan Woodcock Scolopax rochussenii. One case results in good news for conservation; the Moluccan Woodcock is more common than previously believed, tolerates human habitat modification, and should be ‘down-listed’ from Endangered to Vulnerable. The other is not; Chattering Lory is heavily trapped for the parrot trade and without conservation action, may likely become locally extinct. As such, it is more endangered than currently appreciated and should be considered Endangered rather than Vulnerable.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Brumfield, Robb