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Response of ants to different levels of environmental disturbance on a fragment of Atlantic Rainforest (Parque Estadual do Xixová-Japuí) based on analysis of morphological variables and environmental resources

Grant number: 10/17051-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2010
Effective date (End): June 30, 2012
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:Carlos Roberto Ferreira Brandão
Grantee:Rodolfo da Silva Probst
Home Institution: Museu de Zoologia (MZ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Certain taxonomic groups are considered better bioindicators than others by their ability to better predict the degree of environmental disturbance, by the dynamic response of their communities to disturbances occurring in their habitat. The prominent role that the ants (Formicidae) play in this context results, in tropical ecosystems, mainly, of ecological relationships performed by these organisms--since the maintenance of trophic networks to the regulation of the richness and abundance of other organisms' communities. As ants play a key role in monitoring the recovery of degraded areas, the study of ecological plasticity of the mirmecofauna is essential to structure the management of conservation plan in units that suffers intense anthropic pressure. This is the case of the State Park Xixová-Japuí, where we intend to infer more susceptible regions to occupation by ants and, consequently, for the establishment of a gradient of environmental recovery. In this study, the form chosen to analyze the response of the mirmecofauna at different levels of disturbance will be through the collection using pitfall traps and litter for later extraction in Winkler apparatuses; and the record of environmental variables in the collection points of the selected areas. After this, statistical analyses will be conducted to ascertain the influence of the measured variables in morphology, richness and composition of communities and the relationship between the environmental resources.