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Influence of latitude and aquatic subsidies on niche breadth and structure of terrestrial communities

Grant number: 17/09052-4
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: February 01, 2018 - January 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:Gustavo Quevedo Romero
Grantee:Gustavo Quevedo Romero
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


The transport and flow of resources from donor ecosystems can subsidize an enormous biomass of consumers in recipient ecosystems. These allochthonous resources (i.e., resources derived from different ecosystems) may be characterized by nutrients and living organisms. The latter, typically represented by emergent aquatic insects, actively reach adjacent ecosystems and are consumed by terrestrial predators, thus being able to amplify trophic niche dimensions of these consumers. However, there is still a large gap in the knowledge of the distance that these resources migrate and subsidize terrestrial environments and this knowledge is critical to the integrity and conservation of biotic interactions in recipient ecosystems. We predict that allochthonous resources subsidize predators (spiders, birds and insectivorous bats) at distances from water bodies that are greater than those stipulated to the permanent protection areas by the New Brazilian Forest Act (Law # 12.651/2012). The importance of the allochthonous resources could be particularly important in the tropics, where there is supposedly greater consumer specialization (via competition) and, consequently, smaller niche breadth. However, this prediction has never been tested. We propose to test the role of allochthonous resources, via emerging aquatic insects, on the width (amplitude of a bell-shaped curve) and overlap of trophic niches of terrestrial predators (spiders, birds and insectivorous bats). We plan to compare the predator niches in different rainforests (Amazon and Atlantic Rainforest) to those in temperate forests. We will use modern techniques such as isotopic methods (15N and 13C) and Bayesian analytical approaches (SIAR, SIBER) to determine (i) the flow distance of aquatic resources to terrestrial environments (via isotopic signature of aquatic environments) and (ii) niche breadth of the main terrestrial insectivorous predators that inhabit different distances in relation to water bodies in all forests types (AU)