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Defaunated movement: the role of animal behaviour and spatial interactions in mediating trophic cascades, niche partitioning and community dynamics in the Atlantic Forest

Grant number: 15/11521-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2015
Effective date (End): January 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Ecosystems Ecology
Principal researcher:Mauro Galetti Rodrigues
Grantee:Jose Ignacio Fernandez de La Pradilla Villar
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:14/01986-0 - Ecological consequences of defaunation in the Atlantic Rainforest, AP.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):18/20599-8 - Regulation of community and ecosystem dynamics by large tropical forest herbivores, BE.EP.PD

Abstract

Defaunation is one of the main drivers underpinning biodiversity loss and disruption of ecosystem processes and function in many systems across the world. A prominent consequence of defaunation are trophic cascades, where extirpation of keystone species can alter top-down and bottom-up regulation of ecosystem structure. For example, the removal of consumers from ecosystems can release their resources from density dependent consumption, with knock-on effects on other ecosystem processes. However, whether behavioural mechanisms such as anti-predator behaviour and social interactions contribute to limiting and/or regulating herbivore numbers and mediate trophic cascades in the wild is still a matter of contention.In large tracts of the Brazilian Atlantic forest, defaunation of keystone herbivores and predators might have led to trophic cascades. In this proposal we suggest to elucidate whether animal behaviour and spatial structure play a critical role in shaping trophic cascades, niche partitioning, community assembly and stability in this ecosystem. We will do so by evaluating the impact of several defaunation scenarios in the movement, habitat use and food selection of large herbivore and small mammals.First, we will evaluate the impact of niche partitioning, competition and predation on large herbivore movement in the Atlantic forest. For this we will use camera-traps in order to assess co-ocurrences in habitat use of white lipped peccaries (WLP) and other large herbivores and their predators, and GPS radio-collar data to investigate whether WLP movements respond to the herbivore-predator composition in their surroundings or at the landscape scale.Second, we will evaluate the impact of large herbivores on small mammal movements and niche partitioning in the Atlantic forest. We will use isotopic techniques to assess how large herbivore presence affects the diet within and across different small mammal species, and fluorescent pigments to investigate the impact of large herbivore presence on small mammal movement and habitat use. We will study responses within and across different small mammal species, so as to evaluate the potential for large herbivores and, indirectly, apex predators, to generate new ecological niches that alter the patterns of coexistence between small mammal species in the system.Third, we will evaluate the impact of herbivore movement and defaunation on spatial structure and community dynamics in the Atlantic forest using a theoretical approach. For this, we will use Individual-Based Models to investigate how defaunation and movement affects scale of interactions and spatial pattern in a spatially explicit approach. In addition, we will assess how defaunation affects stability and diversity of mammalian communities at different spatial and temporal scales using meta-community models.The combination of both empirical and theoretical approaches in a unique "natural" experimental set-up will allow us to evaluate the consequences of the extirpation of keystone mammal species from the Brazilian Atlantic forest. In doing so, we expect to inform conservation actions in these system, shed light on poorly studied and controversial aspects of animal behaviour and contribute to ecological theory.

Articles published in other media outlets (25 total):
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CFZ: Daily News (Reino Unido): Extinction of lowland tapir and white-lipped peccary would impair forest diversity (08/Nov/2019)
Phys.Org (Reino Unido): Extinction of lowland tapir and white-lipped peccary would impair forest diversity (05/Nov/2019)
Bioengineer (Reino Unido): Extinction of lowland tapir and white-lipped peccary would impair forest diversity (04/Nov/2019)
Science Codex: Extinction of lowland tapir and white-lipped peccary would impair forest diversity (04/Nov/2019)
Scienmag Science Magazine (Reino Unido): Extinction Of Lowland Tapir And White-Lipped Peccary Would Impair Forest Diversity (04/Nov/2019)
Brightsurf: Extinction of lowland tapir and white-lipped peccary would impair forest diversity (04/Nov/2019)
Career Biotech: Extinction of lowland tapir and white-lipped peccary would impair forest diversity (04/Nov/2019)
Pharma Jobs: Extinction of lowland tapir and white-lipped peccary would impair forest diversity (04/Nov/2019)
7thSpace: Extinction of lowland tapir and white-lipped peccary would impair forest diversity (04/Nov/2019)
Scienstack: Extinction of lowland tapir and white-lipped peccary would impair forest diversity (04/Nov/2019)
Anda - Agência de Notícias de Direitos Animais: Extinção de antas e queixadas pode comprometer diversidade florestal (09/Sep/2019)
APWR - Associação Park Way Residencial: Extinção da anta e da queixada causaria uma importante redução na biodiversidade florestal (09/Sep/2019)
Sociedade Científica: Extinção da anta e da queixada pode comprometer diversidade de florestas (09/Sep/2019)
Rádio Agência Nacional (EBC): Extinção de herbívoros pode comprometer diversidade de florestas (09/Sep/2019)
Em Defesa dos Direitos de Todos os Animais: Extinção de antas e queixadas pode comprometer diversidade florestal (09/Sep/2019)
EcoDebate: Extinção da anta e da queixada causaria uma importante redução na biodiversidade florestal (06/Sep/2019)
Revista Amazônia: Extinção da anta e da queixada e as suas consequências na diversidade das florestas (06/Sep/2019)
Antes que a Natureza Morra: Extinção da anta e da queixada causaria uma importante redução na biodiversidade florestal Estudo... (06/Sep/2019)
Esteta : Extinção da anta e da queixada pode comprometer diversidade de florestas (05/Sep/2019)
Conexão Tocantins : Extinção da anta e da queixada pode comprometer diversidade de florestas (05/Sep/2019)
JC Notícias (São Paulo, SP): Extinção da anta e da queixada pode comprometer diversidade de florestas (05/Sep/2019)
Portal Neo Mondo: Extinção da anta e da queixada pode comprometer diversidade de florestas (05/Sep/2019)
Jornal Joseense News: Extinção da anta e da queixada pode comprometer diversidade de florestas (05/Sep/2019)
Jornal Tabloide: Grandes herbívoros aumentam a diversidade de florestas tropicais (21/Aug/2019)
Long Room (EUA): Extinction of lowland tapir and white-lipped peccary would impair forest diversity (11/May/2019)

Scientific publications (4)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
VILLAR, NACHO; PAZ, CLAUDIA; ZIPPARRO, VALESCA; NAZARETH, SERGIO; BULASCOSCHI, LETICIA; BAKKER, ELISABETH S.; GALETTI, MAURO. Frugivory underpins the nitrogen cycle. FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, v. 35, n. 2 NOV 2020. Web of Science Citations: 1.
AKKAWI, PAULA; VILLAR, NACHO; MENDES, CALEBE P.; GALETTI, MAURO. Dominance hierarchy on palm resource partitioning among Neotropical frugivorous mammals. JOURNAL OF MAMMALOGY, v. 101, n. 3, p. 697-709, MAY 22 2020. Web of Science Citations: 2.
VILLAR, NACHO; SIQUEIRA, TADEU; ZIPPARRO, VALESCA; FARAH, FABIANO; SCHMAEDECKE, GABRIELA; HORTENCI, LUANA; BROCARDO, CARLOS RODRIGO; JORDANO, PEDRO; GALETTI, MAURO. The cryptic regulation of diversity by functionally complementary large tropical forest herbivores. JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, v. 108, n. 1, p. 279-290, JAN 2020. Web of Science Citations: 3.
VILLAR, NACHO; SIQUEIRA, TADEU; ZIPPARRO, VALESCA; FARAH, FABIANO; SCHMAEDECKE, GABRIELA; HORTENCI, LUANA; BROCARDO, CARLOS RODRIGO; JORDANO, PEDRO; GALETTI, MAURO. The cryptic regulation of diversity by functionally complementary large tropical forest herbivores. JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, AUG 2019. Web of Science Citations: 0.

Please report errors in scientific publications list by writing to: cdi@fapesp.br.