Pollination and seed dispersal are important ecosystem services that can be disrupted due to the loss and fragmentation of natural vegetation areas, processes that shaped landscapes originally covered by the Brazilian Atlantic forest. Since mobile agents mediate pollination and seed dispersal by animals, the landscape structure can affect these processes, as the organisms move inside and between forest patches. In this sense, we will investigate how landscape structure affects the organization of pollination and seed dispersal systems. In the case of seed dispersal, we will focus on natural systems typical of mature forests. We will evaluate how habitat loss and fragmentation can rearrange the interactions between plants and frugivorous birds. In the case of pollination, we will turn our attention toward a very important system for Brazilian economy, the coffee crops. We will use empirical data on the bee community that act as potential pollinators of coffee plants in southeastern Brazil to evaluate the role landscape plays in organizing the interactions. By using an approach that combines empirical data and tools derived from landscape ecology and complex network theory, we expect to contribute to a better understanding on the relationships between landscape structure and ecological processes that constitute important ecosystem services. With the results from this study, we hope to identify landscape characteristics that promote seed dispersal and pollination services, contributing to the development of landscape management actions to maintain biodiversity and ecosystem services.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: