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Living on the edge: plant-animal interactions and the cascading impacts of Amazon Forest fragmentation

Grant number: 23/03965-9
Support Opportunities:Research Projects - Thematic Grants
Duration: December 01, 2023 - November 30, 2027
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Ecosystems Ecology
Convênio/Acordo: NSF - Dimensions of Biodiversity and BIOTA
Principal Investigator:Mathias Mistretta Pires
Grantee:Mathias Mistretta Pires
Principal researcher abroad: Paulo Monteiro Brando
Institution abroad: Yale University, United States
Host Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers: André Felipe Alves de Andrade ; Barbara de Queiroz Carvalho Zimbres ; Bernard Josiah Barlow ; Bernardo Monteiro Flores ; Christopher Neill ; Craig Brodersen ; David Herrera Ramirez ; Divino Vicente Silvério ; Douglas Christopher Morton ; Elisangela Xavier da Rocha ; Emilia Patricia Medici ; Leandro Maracahipes dos Santos ; Leonardo Maracahipes dos Santos ; Liza Sheera Comita ; Lucas Navarro Paolucci ; Ludmila Maria Rattis Teixeira ; Marcia Nunes Macedo ; Maria del Rosario Uribe ; Mario Ribeiro de Moura ; Mauro Galetti Rodrigues ; Patrick Jantz ; Paulo Roberto de Souza Moutinho ; Peter Stoltenborg Groenendyk ; Rafael Silva Oliveira ; Rodrigo Ferreira Fadini

Abstract

Widespread fragmentation of Amazon tropical forests magnifies the compounding effects of climate change and human disturbances and threatens one of the Earth's most diverse and important ecosystems. Fragmentation causes natural disturbances such as droughts, heat waves, and windthrows to interact in new ways with human-caused changes to land use, climate, fire, and defaunation along vulnerable forest edges. The functional diversity of these forests has been shaped by interactions and feedbacks between abiotic and biotic filters. For example, disturbance-related forest mortality events alter vegetation structure, animal seed dispersal and predation patterns, and consequently seedling establishment, thereby contributing to the unique assemblage of functional traits in edge forests. This project integrates plant-animal ecological perspectives to address how changes in functional diversity associated with mortality events and animal functions shape the resistance and resilience of Amazon forests' edges to multiple stressors. It will focus on one of the driest portions of the Amazon, a region highly vulnerable to climate change and where expansion of agriculture has driven deforestation and defaunation. (AU)

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