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Effect of Atlantic Forest vegetation remnants on the distribution modelling of bird species showing different levels of forest dependence

Grant number: 18/02591-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2018
Effective date (End): December 31, 2018
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:Fernando Rodrigues da Silva
Grantee:Anna Elizabeth de Oliveira Silva
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias para a Sustentabilidade (CCTS). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). Sorocaba , SP, Brazil


The species distribution modelling (SDM) is widely used in biogeographic studies to investigate how abiotic and biotic factors of the specie's localities estimates their geographic distribution. Although most studies use only climatic data as reference, variables such as land use and vegetation cover have been included in recent modelling. In general, models including vegetation data are expected to be more accurate. However, it may vary according to the species characteristics. For instance, models based on data from native vegetation can provide important information for conservation, especially in biodiversity hotspots, where endemic and endangered forest-dependent species lives, such as the Atlantic Forest biome. However, to ensure data quality, the modelling should be based on representative groups. The avifauna, one of the best-studied, diverse and threatened group, fits these criteria. Considering these factors, we intend to develop distribution models for 12 endemic bird species from the Atlantic Forest with different degrees of forest dependence. Finally, we will delimit consensual maps based on different modelling algorithms, considering two sets of predictor variables: i) only climatic variables; and ii) climatic variables + areas of native vegetation remnants. Our prediction is that the inclusion of vegetation cover data will provide more accurate results on the distribution of forest-dependent species than models based on climate information only. We hope that the final results provide a theoretical basis to discuss the impacts of forest fragmentation on the conservation of the avifauna in the Atlantic Forest.