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Functional diversity of the floral biology of plants in heterogenous landscapes of the Atlantic Rainforest

Grant number: 18/04337-3
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2018
Effective date (End): April 30, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Ecosystems Ecology
Principal Investigator:Danilo Boscolo
Grantee:Karoline Baptista de Lima
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil


Landscape changes, such as species' habitat loss and degradation, are the main propulsors of biodiversity loss. This occurs due to the resulting limitation of these species' resources and consequent increase in competition, apart from negatively affecting reproductive, social and dispersal behaviours, leading to population simplification and decline as well as species' extinction. In contrast, some studies involving environmental heterogeneity point to a positive effect over species diversity, by providing different types of habitat that can be required during their life cycles. Biodiversity loss can occur at the gene, specie and functional trait level, producing negative consequences for ecosystem functioning. Despite many studies quantifying biodiversity through species richness, there is growing consensus that functional diversity is more decisive for ecosystem functioning than just species richness alone. A function that is being impacted by landscape changes is pollination, an important ecosystem service for the maintenance of native biodiversity as well as for many agricultural crops. It is known that plant communities also act on the structuring of pollinator communities, mainly through flower and floral resource diversity. The objective of this project is to comprehend how landscape structure variations, more specifically forest proportion and land use heterogeneity, at 1 and 5 km scales, influence functional diversity related to the floral biology of understory plants in Atlantic rainforest fragments. Flowering plants were collected in 30 sample units inside Atlantic rainforest fragments during the research project entitled "Plant-Pollinator Interaction Networks in Heterogenous Landscapes of the Atlantic Rainforest" from the Universal MCTI/CNPq Call No 14/2014. Circular landscapes with 1 km radius around each sample unit were determined, being that each 3 landscapes with 1 km radius were nested in larger landscapes with 5 km radius, to calculate the forest proportion and land use heterogeneity in both scales. The plants collected in each sample unit will be classified in functional groups relative to the floral biology functional traits that are most relevant to flower and flower visitor interactions. With this data, the functional diversity for each chosen functional trait will be calculated using the Shannon Index (H'), however using the functional groups as equivalent to species and number of species within each functional group as equivalent to individuals. Generalised Linear Mixed Models (GLMM) will be used to analyse the influence of forest proportion and land use heterogeneity, in 1 and 5 km scales, over the functional diversity. Finally, the Akaike Information Criteria (AIC) will be used to identify which landscape parameters best explain the functional diversity for each of the chosen functional traits. The comprehension of how the loss of natural habitat and land use heterogeneity influence the floral biology functional diversity of ecosystems is fundamental to orientate conservationist policies and actions related to pollination services. (AU)