This is the research project for the internship to be conducted in the Instituto de Ecología A.C. (Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico) by the post-doctoral fellow João Carlos de Castro Pena. During the internship, the researcher will develop state of the art projects, including a pilot study related to his project in Brazil (FAPESP grant number 2018/00107-3, project "A continental scale assessment of predation risk on insect prey in urban landscapes: a collaborative research network"), in collaboration with two researchers, Ian MacGregor-Fors (with large experience in urban ecological research in Neotropical cities) and Wesley Dáttilo (with large experience in the use of dummy caterpillars to test influences of environmental aspects on predation risk and predator composition). Using information from the Ecology Atlantic Series datapapers, we will assess the influences of the urban sprawl on taxonomic and functional characteristics of the Atlantic Forest bird community. We will also develop the pilot study in Xalapa, distributing almost 1500 dummy caterpillar models (with different colors) through 18 sampling sites comprising a gradient of vegetation cover (from 5 to 100%). For each site are available information about 14 local variables (vegetation attributes and urban impacts) and data about different animal species groups. The internship will generate insights about how the urban sprawl is affecting the biodiversity and ecological processes in the Atlantic Forest biome. Further, we will be able to understand better the relationships between urban vegetation characteristics and predation risk and predator composition. The pilot study will help in the definition of important points of the methodology to be applied in the Brazilian research network, such as color and number of caterpillar models, and in the production of the guidelines to be used by the collaborating teams. From this internship, we expect, besides the strengthening of relations between national and foreign researchers, a considerable scientific development which will generate two manuscripts to be submitted to high impact journals.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: