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Effect of fragmentation on the persistence of anuran amphibians (Amphibia: Anura) within the Atlantic Forest

Grant number: 13/02883-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2013
Effective date (End): December 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:Milton Cezar Ribeiro
Grantee:Maurício Humberto Vancine
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Amphibians are sensitive to habitat loss, fragmentation and habitat quality, particularly because their limited mobility over large distances and high dependence of microhabitats for reproduction. The Atlantic Rainforest has about 400 species of amphibians, and 60 to 85% of them are endemic. Nowadays the Atlantic Rainforest is reduced to 11.4% - 16.0% of its original cover, with 80% of fragments < 50 ha, isolated and poorly connected. Therefore, understanding how the process of fragmentation influences the persistence of amphibians within the Atlantic Rainforest is essential for the development of strategic planning for species conservation. This study will evaluate the effect of landscape structure, relief and levels of urbanization at the regional scale on the persistence of species Vitreorana eurygnatha and Vitreorana uranoscopa. These two species are forest-dependent and have aquatic breeding, therefore are extremely susceptible to fragmentation. To carry out the study, the following steps will be taken: (i) model the potential distribution based on the environmental suitability of the species of interest, (ii) identify landscapes with high environmental suitability and surveys with high sampling effort in order to characterize the regional anurofauna, (iii) evaluate the relative contribution of landscape indices (percentage of forest cover, connectivity, relief and urban proximity) to the persistence of species using model selection for multiple competing hypotheses based on Akaike information theory.