The BENS lab @ Swarthmore
The BENS lab @ Swarthmore
Biodiversity and Environmental Sustainability

Work at the conservation science-policy interface, in service of the world we want.


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BENS /beɪns/

In languages from Scots to Portuguese, the word bens is associated with well-being.


The BENS group quantifies biodiversity responses to conservation and management practices and policies. We also explore the science-policy interface through teaching, research, and application. Our research group spans countries, languages, academic areas, and institutions, and shares an inordinate fondness for dung beetles, a love for landscape-scale studies, and an abiding interest in the social dimensions of conservation. Current research is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), the Rufford Foundation (RGS), and Swarthmore College.



Metrics | PDFs


31.  Alarcon*, V., Pardini, R, Metzger, J.P. Nichols, E. (Manuscript form). Landscape structure regulates diversity and ecosystem services in novel ecosystems.

30.  Nichols, E., Flores*, E., Werbin*, Z., Metzger, J.P. (Manuscript form). Landscape structure modulates host-parasite networks in a dung beetle-fecal helminth system

29.  Ruggeiro, P., Metzger, J.P, Nichols, E. (Manuscript form). The Brazilian intergovernmental fiscal transfer for conservation (Ecological ICMS): a complex incentive

28.  Ruggeiro, P., Pfaff, A., Nichols, E. Rosa, M., Metzger, J.P, (Manuscript form). Political cycles drive deforestation in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest

27.  Boesing, L., et al. (In review). Landscape structure impacts avian cross-habitat spillover and resource use within pasture matrices

26.  Prevedello, J. A, Winck, G.R, Weber, M.M, Nichols, E. Sinervo, B. (In press). Impacts of forest change on local climate across the globe. PlosOne 


25.  Ruggeiro, P., et al. (2019). Payment for ecosystem services programs impact regeneration but not deforestation in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Land-Use Policy. 82: 283-291.

24.  Ribeiro, F. S., Nichols, E., Morato, R., Pardini, R. (2018). Disturbance or propagule pressure? Unraveling domestic dog invasion in Atlantic forest landscapes. Diversity & Distributions. 1-14.

23.  Boesing, L., Nichols, E., Metzger, J.P (2018). Biodiversity thresholds are modulated by matrix type.  Ecography 41(9) 1520-1533.

22.  Boesing, L., Nichols, E., Metzger, J.P (2017). Matrix type, forest cover and edge modulate avian cross-habitat spillover. Journal of Applied Ecology 55(3) 1252-1264.

21.  Galetti, M., et al. (2017). The ghosts of megafauna ecological interactions. Biol. Reviews 93: 845–862.

20.  Nichols, E., Alarcón, V., Forgie, S., Gomez-Puerta, L.P., Jones, M.S (2017). Coprophagous insects and the ecology of infectious diseases of wildlife. ILAR Journal 1-7.

19.  Pardini, R, Nichols, E., Püttker, T. (2017). Biodiversity response to habitat loss and fragmentation. Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene. Elsevier

18.  Roslin, T., et al. (2017). Higher predation risk for insect prey at low latitudes. Science 356, 742–744 (2017)

17.  Boesing, L., Nichols, E., Metzger, J.P. (2017). Landscape structure and avian-mediated pest control. Landscape Ecology 32(5): 931-944

16.  Nichols, E., Peres, C, Hawes J, Naeem, S. (2016). Multitrophic effects of network degradation. Ecology and Evolution, 6(14): 4936-4946.

15.  Naeem, S. et al. (2015). Get the science right when paying for nature’s services. Science 347: 1206-1207

14.  Gregory, N., Gómez, A., Oliveira, T., Nichols, E. (2015). Big dung beetles dig deeper: trait-based consequences for faecal parasite transmission. International J. of Parasitology 45:101-105

13.  Nichols, E., Gómez, A. (2014) Dung beetles and the epidemiology of parasitic nematodes: patterns, mechanisms and questions. Parasitology. 141(05): 614-623

12.  Nichols, E, et al. (2013). Human-induced trophic cascades along the fecal detritus pathway. PLOS ONE 8:e75819

11.  Gómez, A and Nichols, E. (2013). Neglected wild life: parasitic biodiversity as a conservation target. International Journal for Parasitology 2: 222-227

10.  Nichols, E. (2013). Fear begets function in the ‘brown’ world of detrital food webs. Journal of Animal Ecology 82: 717-720

9.     Nichols, E., et al. (2013). Trait-dependent response of dung beetle populations to tropical forest conversion at local to regional scales. Ecology 94(1): 180-189.

8.     Newton, P., Nichols, E, Endo, W., Peres, C. (2012). Consequences of actor level livelihood heterogeneity for additionality in an undifferentiated payment-based tropical forest PES program. Global Environmental Change 22(1): 127-136.

7.     Gómez, A., Nichols, E., Perkins, S. (2012). Parasite Conservation and Ecological Health. In: Aguirre, A., Daszak, P., Ostfeld, R. S. (eds.), Conservation Medicine: Applied Cases of Ecological Health. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

6.     Nichols, E., and Gardner, T.A. (2011). Dung Beetles as a Candidate Study Taxon in Applied Biodiversity Conservation Research. In: Simmons, L. W. and Ridsdill-Smith, J. (eds.), Dung Beetle Ecology and Evolution. Wiley-Blackwell.

5.     Nichols, E., Gómez A. (2011). Conservation education needs more parasites. Biological Conservation 114: 937–941.

4.     Louzada, J.N.C and Nichols, E. (2011). Detritivorous Insects. In: Bioecologia e Nutrição de Insetos: Base Para o Manejo Integrado de Pragas. Embrapa.

3.     Nichols, E., Gardner, T., Peres, C. A., Spector, S. (2009). Co-declining mammals and dung beetles: an impending ecological cascade. Oikos 118(4): 481-487.

2.     Nichols, E., et al. (2008). Ecological functions and ecosystem services of Scarabaeine dung beetles: a review. Biological Conservation 141(6): 1461-1474

1.     Nichols, E., et al. (2007). Dung beetle response to tropical forest modification and fragmentation: a quantitative literature review and meta-analysis. Biological Conservation 137(3): 1-19.


3.     Reyes, J*., Nichols., E (2017). Landscape structure and human management both influence the biodiversity value of livestock production systems. A Journal of Applied Ecology blog post.

4.     Swamy V, Pinedo-Vasquez M, Nichols E. (2013). Status of research on wild meat harvest in tropical forests: knowledge base, gaps and opportunities. Center for International Forestry.

2.     Gómez, A. & Nichols, E. (2010). Biodiversity Conservation and Human Health. Lessons in Conservation. AMNH - Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners (NCEP).

1.     Nichols, E., Spector, S. (2008). The Importance of Invertebrate Conservation. Lessons in Conservation. AMNH - Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners (NCEP).