Center for Computational and Theoretical Biology

Juliano Sarmento Cabral

Juliano Sarmento Cabral

Prof. Dr., group leader


Ecosystem Modeling, CCTB

University of Würzburg

Emil-Fischer-Str. 32, 97074 Würzburg

Tel: 0931 - 31 82667

eMail: juliano.sarmento_cabral@uni-wuerzburg.de



My research interests are very broad: niche ecology, metabolic theory, population and community dynamics, landscape ecology, tropical biology, macroecology, macroevolution, biogeography and conservation. I am particularly interested in synthesizing all these fields through the investigation of biodiversity dynamics across scales and ecological levels, from populations and species ranges to biogeographical scale dynamics of plant species (Cabral & Schurr 2010; Cabral & Kreft 2012; Cabral et al. 2015) and communities (e.g. Cabral & Kreft 2012; Petter et al. 2015; Cabral et al. 2017; Leidinger & Cabral 2017; Cabral et al. 2019a, b; Pontarp et al. 2019). In my research, I have investigated not only current local population and metapopulation dynamics (Cabral & Schurr 2010), but also the impact of land use and climate change (Sarmento Cabral et al. 2013; Figueiredo et al. 2019) and of exploitation (Cabral et al. 2011) at the landscape and regional scales. Moreover, I have an interdisciplinary research profile, working with plant genetics and chromosome evolution (e.g. Cabral et al. 2006; Koehler et al. 2008; de Oliveira et al. 2015; Moraes et al. 2017), macroecology (e.g. Cabral et al. 2014; Weigelt et al. 2016; Keil et al. 2017) and trait-based community analyses (Petter et al. 2015). My field experiences entail hitherto tropical forests in Brazil and Panama (Cabral et al. 2015; Petter et al. 2016) as well as Mediterranean-like vegetation in South Africa (e.g. Cabral & Schurr 2010), sky island systems in Kenya and tropical remnants in South China.

Further links:

Researchgate profile

ORCID profile

Google scholar


Curriculum Vitae

2016 - now Professor for Ecosystem Modeling (W1 non-tenure track, still looking for a tenure-track or tenured position) Center for Computational and Theoretical Biology (CCTB), Faculty of Biology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany
2015 - 2016 Postdoc Researcher Synthesis Center (sDiv) of the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Leipzig, Germany
2012     Visiting Scientist Smithsonian Tropical Research Insitute, Panama City, Panama
20010 - 2015 Postdoc Researcher Department of Biodiversity, Biogeography and Conservation, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
2008     Visiting Scientist South African National Biodiversity Institute, Cape Town, South Africa
2007     Visiting Scientist South African National Biodiversity Institute, Cape Town, South Africa
2006 - 2010 PhD (in Ecology) Department of Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
2003 - 2004 Undergraduate Exchange Semester Iowa State University, Ames, USA
2001 - 2005 Bachelor in Biological Sciences Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

Scientific acitivities

Reviewer for journals:

Annals of Botany

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Basic and Applied Ecology

Biodiversity and Conservation


Biology Letters

BMC Evolutionary Biology

Conservation Biology


Diversity and Distributions

Ecography (Copenhagen)

Ecological Research

Ecology Letters

Ecology and Evolution

Ecotropica (Bonn)



Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution

Global Ecology and Biogeography

Journal of Applied Ecology

Journal of Biogeography

Journal of Ecology

Methods in Ecology and Evolution

Nordic Journal of Botany


Proceedings of the Royal Society B

Scientific Reports

The American Naturalist

Web Ecology


Reviewer for academic funding agencies:

1) Funding of research proposals at:

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

Natural Environment Research Council Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (NERC – RCUK, UK)

Austrian Science Fund (FWF - Austria)

Leverhulme Trust (UK)

Swiss National Science Foundation (Switzerland)

2) Working group proposals at:

sDiv (Leipzig-Halle-Jena)

3) PhD project proposals at:

Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes

National Science Council (Poland)


Editorial work:

Associate editor at Diversity and Distributions (since 2019)


Major grant proposals and fellowships:

2018: Bavarian State Ministerium for Education, Science and Arts Funding for a subproject in the BLIZ  (Blick in die Zukunft) Consortium under the  BayKlif call

Biodiversity tipping points under climate and land-use change (Subproject 2). Support for personnel (2 PhD students and 1 postdoc) for developing process-based models with freshwater and terrestrial biodiversity for the State of Bavaria under Global Change scenarios and support for one summer school (ca. 400.000 €). Project written in German.

2017: DAAD Funding for International Summer School

Spatially-explicit modelling of ecological systems. Support for travel and accommodation expenses of international attendees as well as expendables (19.000 €). Project written in English.

2015-2016: sDiv Researcher’s own position

Drivers of plant diversity across spatiotemporal scales: integrating ecological, evolutionary and environmental processes. Position funding granted by the Synthesis Center (sDiv) of the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Leipzig, Germany, for 2 years (halted after 6 months due to the junior-professorship at University of Würzburg). Activities: Development of integrative multi-theoretical process-based models for biodiversity dynamics, with focus on island biogeography. Project written in English.

2010-2016: DFG Researcher’s own position (DFG SA-21331)

Modelling spatial dynamics of vascular epiphytes. It was based at the Department of Biodiversity, Macroecology and Biogeography (Prof. Dr. Holger Kreft), University of Göttingen, Germany (ca. 275.000 €). Activities: Spatiotemporal dynamics of vascular epiphytes (field work, data analysis and spatially-explicit 3D mechanistic modeling), PhD co-supervision. Project written in English.

2005-2009: DAAD full PhD Fellowship

Demographic processes determining the range dynamics of plant species, and their consequences for biodiversity maintenance in the face of environmental change. Fellowship from the German Exchange Service (DAAD), including intensive German course (6 months) at interDaF e.V. Language School of the Herder-Institut of the University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany, and PhD studies (3 years and a half) at University of Potsdam, Germany (under supervision of Prof. Dr. Florian Jeltsch and Prof. Dr. Frank Schurr). Project written in English.

2004: Exchange Semester

Fellowship from CAPES („Coordination for the improvement of Personal with Undergraduate Level“): exchange semester and research internship (Prof. Dr. Kirk Moloney's lab) at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA.

2002-2004: IC („Scientific Initiation“)

Citotaxonomy and Chromosomal evolution of Maxillariinae orchids. Fellowship from CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development): Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil. 2 years funding.


Honours and Awards:

2019: Winner of the E4 Award 2019b (Ecography Award for Excellence in Ecology and Evolution).

2016: Finalist of the first E4 Award (Ecography Award for Excellence in Ecology and Evolution) for selected review papers (E4 special issue).

2011: MCED Award for Innovative Contributions to Ecological Modelling (based on my PhD thesis), sponsored by Springer and Modelling Complex Ecological Dynamics book editors.

2005: ‘Laureate’ student (highest final grade) of the graduating class in Biological Sciences of the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco.

2004: Dean’s List (All grades being A+) Spring Semester 2004, Iowa State University.




[ submitted ] [ 2021 ] [ 2020 ] [ 2019 ] [ 2018 ] [ 2017 ] [ 2016 ] [ 2015 ] [ 2014 ] [ 2013 ] [ 2012 ] [ 2011 ] [ 2010 ] [ 2008 ] [ 2006 ] [ 2003 ]

submitted [ nach oben ]


2021 [ nach oben ]

  • Towards agent-based modelling of the effects of forest dynamics, selective logging and fragment size on epiphyte communities. Petter, Gunnar; Zotz, Gerhard; Kreft, Holger; Cabral, Juliano Sarmento in Ecology and Evolution (2021). in press.
  • Niche evolution reveals disparate signatures of speciation in the ‘great speciator‘ (White-eyes, Aves: genus Zosterops). Engler, Jan O.; Lawrie, Yvonne; Cabral, Juliano S.; Lens, Luc in Journal of Biogeography (2021). in press.
  • Anthropogenic and environmental drivers shape diversity of non-native plants across the Pacific. Wohlwend, Michael; Craven, Dylan; Weigelt, Patrick; Seebens, Hanno; Kreft, Holger; Winter, Marten; Zurell, Damaris; Cabral, Juliano Sarmento; Essl, Franz; van Kleunen, Mark; Pergl, Jan; Pysek, Petr; Knight, Tiffany in Diversity and Distributions (2021). in press.
  • Accuracy of the pneumatic method for estimating xylem vulnerability to embolism in temperate diffuse-porous tree species. Paligi, Sharath Shyamappa; Link, Roman M.; Isaza, Emilie; Bittencourt, Paulo; Cabral, Juliano Sarmento; Jansen, Steven; Oliveira, Rafael S; Pereira, Luciano; Schuldt, Bernhard in bioRxiv (2021).

2020 [ nach oben ]

  • The effect of species extinctions on island biogeographic patterns. Matthews, Tom; Leidinger, Ludwig; Cabral, Juliano in Ecological Research (2020). 35 372–381.
  • Mapping human pressures on biodiversity across the planet uncovers anthropogenic threat complexes. Bowler, D. E.; Bjorkman, A.D.; Dornelas, M.; Myers-Smith, I.; O’Connor, M.; Navarro, L.M.; Niamir, A.; Supp, S.R.; Waldock, C.; Vellend, M.; Blowes, S.A.; Böhning-Gaese, K.; Bruelheide, H.; Elahi, R.; Antão, L.H.; Hines, J.; Isbell, F.; Jones, H.P.; Magurran, A.E.; Cabral, J.S.; Winter, M.; Bates, A.E. in People and Nature (2020). 2 380–394.
  • Macroecology in the age of big data – where to go from here?. Wüest, Rafael O.; Zimmermann, Niklaus E.; Zurell, Damaris; Alexander, Jake; Fritz, Susanne A.; Hof, Christian; Kreft, Holger; Normand, Signe; Sarmento Cabral, Juliano; Szekely, Eniko; Thuiller, Wilfried; Wikelski, Martin; Karger, Dirk Nikolaus in Journal of Biogeography (2020). 47 1–12.
  • Integrating the underlying structure of stochasticity into community ecology. Shoemaker, Lauren G.; Sullivan, Lauren L.; Donohue, Ian; Cabral, Juliano S.; Williams, Ryan J.; Mayfield, Margaret M.; Chase, Jonathan M.; Chu, Chengjin; Harpole, W. Stanley; Huth, Andreas; HilleRisLambers, Janneke; James, Aubrie R.M.; Kraft, Nathan J.B.; May, Felix; Muthukrishnan, Ranjan; Satterlee, Sean; Taubert, Franziska; Wang, Xugao; Wiegand, Thorsten; Yang, Qiang; Abbott, Karen C. in Ecology (2020). 101 e02922.
  • Disentangling the drivers of local species richness using probabilistic species pools. Karger, Dirk Nikolaus; Wüest, Rafael; König, Christian; Cabral, Juliano; Weigelt, Patrick; Zimmermann, Nikaus; Linder, Peter in Journal of Biogeography (2020). (47) 879–889.

2019 [ nach oben ]

  • Understanding extinction debts: spatio-temporal scales, mechanisms and a roadmap for future research. Figueiredo, Ludmilla; Krauß, Jochen; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Sarmento Cabral, Juliano in Ecography (2019). 42 1973–1990.
  • The latitudinal diversity gradient - novel understanding through mechanistic eco-evolutionary models. Pontarp, Mikael; Bunnefeld, Lynsey; Cabral, Juliano Sarmento; Etienne, Rampal S.; Fritz, Susanne A.; Gillespie, Rosemary; Graham, Catherine H.; Hagen, Oskar; Hartig, Florian; Huang, Shan; Jansson, Roland; Maliet, Odile; Münkemüller, Tamara; Pellissier, Loïc; Rangel, Thiago F.; Storch, David; Wiegand, Thorsten; Hurlbert, Allen H. in Trends in Ecology & Evolution (2019). 34 211–223.
  • The dimensionality of stability depends on disturbance type. Radchuk, Viktoriia; De Laender, Frederik; Sarmento Cabral, Juliano; Boulangeat, Isabelle; Crawford, Michael; Bohn, Friedrich; De Raedt, Jonathan; Scherer, Cedric; Svenning, Jens-Christian; Thonicke, Kirsten; Schurr, Frank; Grimm, Volker; Kramer-Schadt, Stephanie in Ecology Letters (2019). 22 674–684.
  • Species richness change across spatial scales. Chase, Jonathan; McGill, Brian; Thompson, Patrick; Antao, Laura; Bates, Amanda; Blowes, Shane; Dornelas, Maria; Gonzalez, Andrew; Magurran, Anne; Supp, Sarah; Winter, Marten; Bjorkman, Anne; Bruelheide, Helge; Byrnes, Jarrett; Cabral, Juliano Sarmento; Elahi, Robin; Gomez, Catalina; Guzmán, Héctor; Isbell, Forest; Myers-Smith, Isla; Jones, Holly; Hines, Jessica; Vellend, Mark; Waldock, Conor; O’Connor, Mary in Oikos (2019).
  • Interactions between ecological, evolutionary, and environmental processes unveil complex dynamics of insular plant diversity. Cabral, J.S.; Wiegand, K.; Kreft, H. in Journal of Biogeography (2019).
  • Assessing predicted isolation effects from the general dynamic model of island biogeography with an eco-evolutionary model for plants. Cabral, J.S.; Whittaker, R.J.; Wiegand, K.; Kreft, H. in Journal of Biogeography (2019).
  • A minimal model for the latitudinal diversity gradient suggests a dominant role for ecological limits. Etienne, Rampal S.; Cabral, Juliano S.; Hagen, Oskar; Hartig, Florian; Hurlbert, Allen H.; Pellissier, Loïc; Pontarp, Mikael; Storch, David in The American Naturalist (2019). (194) E122-E133.

2018 [ nach oben ]

  • Spatial scaling of extinction rates: theory and data reveal non-linearity, and a major upscaling and downscaling challenge. Keil, P.; Pereira, H.M.; Cabral, J.S.; Chase, J.; May, F.; Martins, I.S.; Winter, M. in Global Ecology and Biogeography (2018). 27 2–13.
  • Integrating community assembly and biodiversity reveals new dimensions of ecosystem functions: the Community Assembly and the Functioning of Ecosystems (CAFE) approach. Bannar-Martin, Katherine; Kremer, Colin; Ernest, Morgan; Leibold, Mathew; Auge, Harald; Chase, Jonathan; Declerck, Steven; Eisenhauer, Nico; Harpole, Stanley; Hillebrand, Helmut; Isbell, Forest; Koffel, Thomas; Larsen, Stefano; Narwani, Anita; Petermann, Jana; Roscher, Christiane; Sarmento Cabral, Juliano; Supp, Sarah in Ecology Letters (2018). 21 167–180.

2017 [ nach oben ]

  • Oceanic island biogeography through the lens of the general dynamic model: assessment and prospect. Borregaard, Michael K.; Amorim, Isabel R.; Borges, Paulo A. V.; Cabral, Juliano S.; Fernández-Palacios, José M.; Field, Richard; Heaney, Lawrence R.; Kreft, Holger; Matthews, Thomas J.; Olesen, Jens M.; Price, Jonathan; Rigal, Francois; Steinbauer, Manuel J.; Triantis, Konstantinos A.; Valente, Luis; Weigelt, Patrick; Whittaker, Robert J. in Biological Reviews (2017). 92 830–853.
  • Mechanistic models in macroecology and biogeography: state-of-art and prospects. Cabral, Juliano Sarmento; Valente, Luis; Hartig, Florian in Ecography (2017). 40(267-280)
  • Karyotype diversity and genome size variation in Neotropical Maxillariinae orchids. Moraes, A.; de Mesquita Filho, J.; Koehler, S.; Cabral, J.; Lopes Gomes, S.; Viccini, L.; Barros, F.; Felix, L.; Guerra, M.; Forni-Martins, E. in Plant Biology (2017). 19 298–308.
  • Interactions between ecological, evolutionary, and environmental processes unveil complex dynamics of island biodiversity. Cabral, J.S.; Wiegand, K.; Kreft, H. in bioRxiv (2017). (099978)
  • Flagship umbrella species needed for conservation of overlooked biodiversity. Kalinkat, G.; Cabral, J.S.; Darwall, W.; Ficetola, F.; Fisher, J.; Giling, D.; Gosselin, M.-P.; Grossart, H.-P.; Jähnig, S.; Jeschke, J.; Knopf, K.; Larsen, S.; Onandia, G.; Pätzig, M.; Saul, W.-C.; Singer, G.; Jarić, I. in Conservation Biology (2017). 31 481–485.
  • Effects of time and isolation on plant diversity: testing island biogeography theory with an eco-evolutionary model. Cabral, J.S.; Whittaker, R.J.; Wiegand, K.; Kreft, H. in bioRxiv (2017). (100289)
  • Biodiversity dynamics on islands: explicitly accounting for causality in mechanistic models. Leidinger, Ludwig; Cabral, Juliano Sarmento in Diversity (2017). 9(30)

2016 [ nach oben ]

  • Late Quaternary climate change shapes island biodiversity. Weigelt, Patrick; Steinbauer, Manuel Jonas; Cabral, Juliano Sarmento; Kreft, Holger in Nature (2016). 532(7597) 99–102.
  • Functional leaf traits of vascular epiphytes: vertical trends within the forest, intra- and interspecific trait variability, and taxonomic signals. Petter, G.; Wagner, K.; Wanek, W.; Sánchez Delgado, E.J.; Zotz, G.; Cabral, J.S.; Kreft, H. in Functional Ecology (2016). 30 188–198.
  • Delineating probabilistic species pools in ecology and biogeography. Karger, D.N.; Cord, A.; Kessler, M.; Kreft, H.; Kühn, I.; Pompe, S.; Sandel, B.; Sarmento Cabral, J.; Smith, A.; Svenning, J.-C.; Tuomisto, H.; Weigelt, P.; Wesche, K. in Global Ecology and Biogeography (2016). 25 489–501.
  • Benchmarking novel approaches for modelling species range dynamics. Zurell, Damaris; Thuiller, Wilfried; Pagel, Jörn; Cabral, Juliano S.; Münkemüller, Tamara; Gravel, Dominique; Dullinger, Stefan; Normand, Signe; Schiffers, Katja H.; Moore, Kara A.; Zimmermann, Niklaus E. in Global Change Biology (2016). 22(8) 2651–2664.

2015 [ nach oben ]

  • Chromosomal evolution in Pleurothallidinae (Orchidaceae: Epidendroideae) with emphasis on the genus Acianthera: chromosome numbers and heterochromatin. de Oliveira, I.G.; Moraes, A.P.; de Almeida, E.M.; de Assis, F.N.M.; Cabral, J.S.; de Barros, F.; Felix, L.F. in Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society (2015). 178 102–120.
  • Branchfall as a demographic filter for epiphyte communities: Lessons from a forest floor-based sampling. Cabral, J.S.; Petter, G.; Mendieta-Leiva, G.; Wagner, K.; Zotz, G.; Kreft, H. in PloS one (2015). 10 e0128019.

2014 [ nach oben ]

  • Biogeographic, climatic and spatial drivers differentially affect α-, β- and γ-diversities on oceanic archipelagos. Cabral, Juliano Sarmento; Weigelt, Patrick; Kissling, W. Daniel; Kreft, Holger in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences (2014). 281(1784)

2013 [ nach oben ]

  • Process, correlation and parameter fitting in species distribution models: a response to Kriticos et al. 2012. Schymanski, S.J.; Dormann, C.F.; Cabral, J.; Chuine, I.; Graham, C.; Hartig, F.; Kearney, M.; Morin, X.; Römermann, C.; Schröder, B.; Singer, A. in Journal of Biogeography (2013). 40 611–613.
  • Impacts of past habitat loss and future climate change on the range dynamics of South African Proteaceae. Sarmento Cabral, Juliano; Jeltsch, Florian; Thuiller, Wilfried; Higgins, Steven; Midgley, Guy F.; Rebelo, Anthony G.; Rouget, Mathieu; Schurr, Frank M. in Diversity and Distributions (2013). 19(4) 363–376.

2012 [ nach oben ]

  • Linking ecological niche, community ecology and biogeography: insights from a mechanistic niche model. Cabral, Juliano Sarmento; Kreft, Holger in Journal of Biogeography (2012). 39(12) 2212–2224.
  • How to understand species’ niches and range dynamics: a demographic research agenda for biogeography. Schurr, Frank M.; Pagel, Jörn; Cabral, Juliano Sarmento; Groeneveld, Jürgen; Bykova, Olga; O’Hara, Robert B.; Hartig, Florian; Kissling, W. Daniel; Linder, H. Peter; Midgley, Guy F.; Schröder, Boris; Singer, Alexander; Zimmermann, Niklaus E. in Journal of Biogeography (2012). 39(12) 2146–2162.
  • Correlation and process in species distribution models: bridging a dichotomy. Dormann, Carsten F.; Schymanski, Stanislaus J.; Cabral, Juliano; Chuine, Isabelle; Graham, Catherine; Hartig, Florian; Kearney, Michael; Morin, Xavier; Römermann, Christine; Schröder, Boris; Singer, Alexander in Journal of Biogeography (2012). 39(12) 2119–2131.

2011 [ nach oben ]

  • Effects of Harvesting Flowers from Shrubs on the Persistence and Abundance of Wild Shrub Populations at Multiple Spatial Extents. Cabral, Juliano Sarmento; Bond, William J.; Midgley, Guy F.; Rebelo, Anthony G.; Thuiller, Wilfried; Schurr, Frank M. in Conservation Biology (2011). 25(1) 73–84.

2010 [ nach oben ]

  • The virtual ecologist approach: simulating data and observers. Zurell, Damaris; Berger, Uta; Cabral, Juliano S.; Jeltsch, Florian; Meynard, Christine N.; Münkemüller, Tamara; Nehrbass, Nana; Pagel, Jörn; Reineking, Björn; Schröder, Boris; Grimm, Volker in Oikos (2010). 119(4) 622–635.
  • Keeping the Cape Lowland archipelago afloat. Krug, C.B.; Brandl, R.; Boonzaier, C.; Cabral, J.S.; Esler, K.J.; Grant, P.B.C.; Heelemann, S.; Horn, A.; Keil, M.; Kongor, R.Y.; Meyer, J.; Nottebrock, H.; Poschlod, P.; Reisch, C.; Rösner, S.; Samways, M. J.; Schurr, F.; Vrdoljak, S. (2010). (Vol. Biodiversity in southern Africa. Volume 3: Implications for landuse and management) 151–179.
  • Estimating demographic models for the range dynamics of plant species. Cabral, Juliano S.; Schurr, Frank M. in Global Ecology and Biogeography (2010). 19(1) 85–97.

2008 [ nach oben ]

  • Molecular phylogeny of the neotropical genus Christensonella (Orchidaceae, Maxillariinae): species delimitations and insights into chromosome evolution. Koehler, S.; Cabral, J.S.; Whiten, W.M.; Williams, N.H.; Singer, R.B.; Neubig, K.M.; Guerra, M.; Souza, A.P.; Amaral, M.C.E. in Annals of Botany (2008). 102(491-507)

2006 [ nach oben ]

  • Heterochromatin diversity and its co-localization with 5S and 45S rDNA sites in chromosomes of four Maxillaria species (Orchidaceae). Cabral, Juliano S.; Felix, Leonardo P.; Guerra, Marcelo in Genetics and Molecular Biology (2006). 29 659–664.
  • Atlantic forest fragments in Pernambuco and Alagoas and theirs bromeliads: distribution, composition, richness and conservation. Siqueira-Filho, J.A.; Santos, A.M.M.; Leme, E.M.C.; Cabral, J.S. (2006). (Vol. Fragments of the Atlantic Forest of Northeast Brazil: Biodiversity, Conservation and the Bromeliads) 101–131.

2003 [ nach oben ]

  • Dieta de coruja murucututu (Pulsatrix perspicillata perspicillata Lathan, 1790) no Campus de UFRPE, Recife, PE. Cabral, J.S.; de Vasconcelos, S.L.; Rodrigues, M.F.; Pontual, R.M.; Mascarenhas, L.L. (2003). (Vol. Volume III) 273–274.