My research interests lie at the nexus of community ecology, macroecology, and biogeography. Part of my work examines the basic community ecology of bats and rodents in Paraguay, Mexico, Puerto Rico, California and Louisiana, in particular the effects of species environment interactions, seasonality and competition on the structure of communities. I am beginning a project to examine rodent metacommunity dynamics in the Mojave National Preserve in southern California. I am also interested in the mechanistic bases of broad-scale patterns in the structure and diversity of communities. Recently, I have been exploring spatial variation among a number of New World sites using indices of diversity that are more resolved and incorporate information regarding not only richness and evenness but also the ecological and evolutionary attributes of species (e.g., functional, phylogenetic, and phenetic diversity). Moreover, I am evaluating how variation among these communities along primary environmental gradients (e.g., temperature, productivity, heterogeneity) contributes to one of the most ubiquitous patterns describing the distribution and abundance of organisms-- the latitudinal gradient in biodiversity.
R. D. Stevens and J. S. Tello. 2009. Micro- and macro- habitat associations in Mojave Desert rodent communities. Journal of Mammalogy 90: 388-403.
J. S. Tello, R. D. Stevens and C. W. Dick. 2008. Patterns of species occurrence and density compensation: a test for interspecific competition in bat ectoparasite infracommunities. Oikos 117: 693-702.
J. E. Houlahan, Cottenie, K, Cumming, G.S., Currie, D.J., Ernest, S.K.M., Findlay, C.S., Fuhlendorf, S.D., Gaedke, U., Legendre, P., Magnuson, J.J., McArdle, B.H., Muldavin, E.H., Noble, D., Russell, R., Stevens, R.D., Willis, T.J., Woiwod, I.P., Wondzell, S.M. 2008. Compensatory dynamics are rare in natural communities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104: 3273-3277.
D. A. Ray, H. J. T. Pagan, M. L. Thompson and R. D. Stevens. 2007. Bats with hATs: evidence for an active DNA transposon in genus Myotis. Molecular Biology and Evolution 24: 632-639.
R. D. Stevens. 2006. Historical processes enhance patterns of diversity along latitudinal gradients. Proceedings of the Royal Society 273: 2283-2289.
R. D. Stevens, M. R. Willig, and I. Gamarra de Fox. 2004. Comparative community ecology of bats in Eastern Paraguay: taxonomic, ecological, and biogeographic perspectives. Journal of Mammalogy 85: 698-707.
D. Vazquez and R. D. Stevens. 2004. The latitudinal gradient in niche breadth: concepts and evidence. American Naturalist 164: E1-E19.
R. D. Stevens, S. B. Cox, M. R. Willig, and R. E. Strauss. 2003. Patterns of functional diversity across an extensive environmental gradient: vertebrate consumers, hidden treatments, and latitudinal trends. Ecology Letters 6: 1099-1108.
R. D. Stevens, and M. R. Willig. 2002. Geographical ecology at the community level: perspectives on the diversity of New World bats. Ecology 83: 545-560.