A global analysis of habitat fragmentation research in reptiles and amphibians: what have we done so far?
Habitat change and fragmentation are the primary causes of biodiversity loss worldwide. Recent decades have seen a surge of funding, published papers and citations in the field as these threats to biodiversity continue to rise. However, how research directions and agenda are evolving in this field remains poorly understood. In this study, we examined the current state of research on habitat fragmentation (due to agriculture, logging, fragmentation, urbanisation and roads) pertaining to two of the most threatened vertebrate groups, reptiles and amphibians. We did so by conducting a global scale review of geographical and taxonomical trends on the habitat fragmentation types, associated sampling methods and response variables. Our analyses revealed a number of biases with existing research efforts being focused on three continents (e.g., North America, Europe and Australia) and a surplus of studies measuring species richness and abundance. However, we saw a shift in research agenda towards studies utilising technological advancements including genetic and spatial data analyses. Our findings suggest important associations between sampling methods and prevalent response variables but not with the types of habitat fragmentation. These research agendas are found homogeneously distributed across all continents. Increased research investment with appropriate sampling techniques is crucial in biodiversity hotpots such as the tropics where unprecedented threats to herpetofauna exist.