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Co-occurrence pattrerns of four mesocarnivores in the Atlantic Plateau of São Paulo

Grant number: 12/06555-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2012
Effective date (End): December 31, 2012
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal researcher:Renata Pardini
Grantee:Paula Elias Moraes
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Community structure is defined by four different processes and, despite the importance of these processes can vary among different communities, deterministic interactions among species, such as competition, seem to be important in some cases. Although it is not possible to infer competition among species without experiments, the development of null models has resulted in a more rigorous assessment of observational data on species distribution and co-occurrence, and together with information on natural history can indicate in which situations competition can be a determinant factor in structuring biological communities. Several studies indicate that mammal communities can be structured by competition. In this project, we aim at testing the following hypothesis: among mesocarnivores that occupy fragmented landscapes in the Atlantic Forest, the pairs of species most similar in relation to diet and activity period and therefore with more potential for competition - Nasua nasua and Eira Barbara, and Cerdocyon thous and Canis familiaris - present a spatially or temporally segregated distribution pattern. This will be done using an extensive dataset on camera-trap records already collected in two fragmented landscapes in the Atlantic Plateau of São Paulo. Two types of analysis will be used in order to verify, for each pair of species, if: (I) species co-occur spatially or temporally less than expected by chance; and (II) the presence of one species in space or time is more frequent when the other is absent. (AU)

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