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Effects of local processes and spatial isolation on aquatic community assembly: a simulation of land use intensification

Grant number: 17/04122-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2017
Effective date (End): February 29, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Theoretical Ecology
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Luis Cesar Schiesari
Grantee:Rodolfo Mei Pelinson
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:15/18790-3 - Environmental effects of the pasture-sugarcane conversion and pasture intensification, AP.PFPMCG.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):18/07714-2 - Effects of land use intensification on freshwater community similarity and beta diversity, BE.EP.DR


Land use intensification can affect aquatic community assembly processes by alterations in the terrestrial landscape, where organisms disperse, and by alterations in local aquatic habitat conditions. In this project, we propose to test how land use intensification and spatial isolation affect aquatic community assembly. To do so, we will perform a field experiment in which we will build replicated artificial ponds at different distances from a water body that will work as a source of colonizers. These ponds, that will be freely colonized by amphibians and insect predators, will be submitted to different environmental filters associated to land use intensification: introduction of fish predators; hydroperiod alterations; and use of agrochemicals. We expect that spatial isolation will have a negative effect on occupancy rates, abundance and species richness, especially for groups with poor dispersal ability such as amphibians. We also expect the local environmental filters to negatively affect occupancy rates, abundance, and species richness, and to alter species composition. Additionally, the effect of the local environmental filters should interact with spatial isolation making its effects: lower at not isolated communities, because of the constant arrival of migrants; lower at too isolated communities, because of dispersal limitation; and higher at moderately isolated communities, where dispersal limitation is not too low, allowing all species to arrive at all habitats, neither too high, preventing constant recolonization of unsuitable habitats. Therefore, this project has great potential to elucidate how land use can affect aquatic community assembly. (AU)