Publication Date

January 2022


Honorable Mention

Class Year



Environmental Studies


Walter Jetz


Geographic and taxonomic biases in ecological literature inhibit the ability of research to be generalized or translated to other systems. This is particularly true with research on climate change-related range shifts, where a diverse and representative set of observations is needed to understand the significant heterogeneity of range shifts and improve models. A literature review was conducted and biases were assessed by examining the geographic location of study areas, the taxonomic makeup of study species, and the location of study areas within species ranges. A substantial geographic skew towards terrestrial, mid-latitude North America and Europe was observed. However, taxonomic coverage was even and representative within plants and animals. At the level of individual species ranges, the vast majority of study areas were not representative and study areas failed to effectively include range extremes. Based on these results, scientists must more strategically design studies to include diverse geographic regions and to representatively capture range shifts throughout a species range.