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Effects of fragmentation on frugivory and use of artificial fruits in ecological research

Grant number: 13/21685-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2014
Effective date (End): March 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Ecosystems Ecology
Principal Investigator:Milton Cezar Ribeiro
Grantee:Ligia Pereira de Souza
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil


Consequences of the process of fragmentation include changes in the composition of the fauna over time, which lead to modifications of ecological processes necessary for the maintenance of the ecosystem; among the ecological processes changed are frugivory and seed predation and dispersal. The study of the relations between spatial patterns and ecological processes permits to understand how the anthropogenic changes affect biodiversity on a landscape scale. This study has an experimental part of the field and another focused on the literature review to understand the state of the art about use of artificial fruits in ecological studies. The objectives of this study are (1) to assess, using artificial fruits, how frugivory is affected by the position of food resources (i.e. in different types of environment: interior and edge of forest fragments, and forest corridors), path size and the percentage of vegetation cover in the vicinity of fragments; (2) conduct a systematic review of literature on the use of artificial fruits in ecological studies to analyze trends and new opportunities for research on the subject. Fifteen landscapes will be selected in the Corumbatai River hydrographic basin region. Each landscape will be sampled at edge, the interior and the corridor of a focal fragment. The process of frugivory will be evaluated with the aid of artificial fruits. The fruits will be attached to shrubs or young trees without flowers and fruits, with approximately 50 m between adjacent plants. Fifteen plants will be selected in each resource position (interior, edge and corridor), depending on space availability, and 15 fruits will be attached to each plant. The fruits will be checked after seven days and classified as consumed by birds, mammals or insects, intact, or simply removed. Data will be analyzed with selection of models from multiple competing hypotheses, based on the theory of Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) and Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMM). The models to be compared are: a) position of resource (interior, edge, corridor), b) vegetation cover in the surrounding area, and c) patch size, as well as combinations of these variables. In the systematic literature review will used articles dealing about using or use artificial fruits. Will be evaluated trends in research during recent decades, methods, scale of analysis, advances in knowledge and areas of studies published on the subject.