Knowledge gaps are limiting factors to the development of studies in applied ecology and conservation initiatives. Despite the vast biodiversity in the Neotropics, many species lack primary information on occurrence, distribution, and natural history. Moreover, groups such as the neotropical mammals have many species that are rare, elusive, and hard to capture and observe, thus, the target of few studies, as in the case of Xenarthra. This superorder, which comprises armadillos and anteaters, lacks information on the biology and ecology of most species, from the most common and abundant to the threatened ones. Therefore, increasing basic and applied knowledge in this group is an important knowledge gap to be fulfilled. In this proposal, the objective is to generate information on the natural history and trophic ecology of Xenarthra species, assessing their functional role in ecosystems and their part in trophic webs. Specifically: i) determine differences in the resource and habitat use, and functional role of species; ii) unravel the proportion of food resources used by species from natural and anthropogenic habitats, and; iii) identify the role of Xenarthra in the trophic webs as predators, prey, and influencing ecological processes. To do this, it is intended to combine stable isotope analysis with other methods (occupancy models, landscape ecology, interaction networks) and datasets (diet, occurrence, land uses) in a robust analytic framework to elucidate aspects of basic and applied ecology in large temporal scale. This proposal includes the collaboration of both researchers and conservationists, highlighting its interdisciplinarity, that will seek to disseminate the results as scientific papers and to provide data for conservation public initiatives, such as the National Action Plans for Species Conservation of the ICMBio.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: