The role of climate and environmental variables in structuring bird assemblages in the Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests (SDTFs).
ABSTRACT: Understanding the processes that influence species diversity is still a challenge in ecological studies. However, there are two main theories to discuss this topic, the niche theory and the neutral theory. Our objective was to understand the importance of environmental and spatial processes in structuring bird communities within the hydrological seasons in dry forest areas in northeastern Brazil. The study was conducted in two National Parks, the Serra da Capivara and Serra das Confusões National Parks, where 36 areas were sampled in different seasons (dry, dry/rainy transition, rainy, rainy/dry transition), in 2012 and 2013. We found with our results that bird species richness is higher in the rainy season and lower during the dry season, indicating a strong influence of seasonality, a pattern also found for environmental heterogeneity. Richness was explained by local environmental factors, while species composition was explained by environmental and spatial factors. The environmental factors were more important in explaining variations in composition. Climate change predictions have currently pointed out frequent drought events and a rise in global temperature by 2050, which would lead to changes in species behavior and to increasing desertification in some regions, including the Caatinga. In addition, the high deforestation rates and the low level of representativeness of the Caatinga in the conservation units negatively affects bird communities. This scenario has demonstrated how climatic factors affect individuals, and, therefore, should be the starting point for conservation initiatives to be developed in xeric environments.
Project description:Beta diversity can be portioned into local contributions to beta diversity (LCBD), which represents the degree of community composition uniqueness of a site compared to regionally sampled sites. LCBD can fluctuate among seasons and ecoregions according to site characteristics, species dispersal abilities, and biotic interactions. In this context, we examined anuran seasonal patterns of LCBD in different ecoregions of Western Brazil, and assessed their correlation with species richness and if environmental (climatic variables, pond area and ecoregions) and/or spatial predictors (spatial configuration of sampling sites captured by distance-based Moran's Eigenvector Maps) would drive patterns of LCBD. We sampled anurans in 19 ponds in different ecoregions in the Mato Grosso do Sul state, Western Brazil, during one dry and one rainy season. We found that LCBD patterns were similar between seasons with sites tending to contribute in the same way for community composition uniqueness during the dry and rainy season. Among studied ecoregions, Cerrado showed higher LCBD values in both seasons. In addition, LCBD was negatively correlated with species richness in the dry season. We also found that LCBD variation was explained by ecoregion in the dry season, but in the rainy season both environmental and spatial global models were non-significant. Our results reinforce the compositional uniqueness of the Cerrado ecoregion when compared to the other ecoregions in both seasons, which may be caused by the presence of species with different requirements that tolerate different conditions caused by seasonality.
Project description:We used the T-RFLP technique combined with Ion Torrent (PGM) sequencing of 16S rRNA and multivariate analysis to study the structure of bulk soil and rhizosphere bacterial communities of a cactus, Cereus jamacaru, from the Brazilian Caatinga biome, which is unique to Brazil. The availability of water shapes the rhizosphere communities, resulting in different patterns during the rainy and dry seasons. Taxonomic approaches and statistical analysis revealed that the phylum Actinobacteria strongly correlated with the dry season, while samples from the rainy season exhibited a strong correlation with the phylum Proteobacteria for rhizosphere samples and with the phyla Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Lentisphaerae, and Tenericutes for bulk soil samples. The STAMP software also indicated that the phylum Bacteroidetes, as well as two classes in the Proteobacteria phylum (? and ?), were the most significant ones during the rainy season. The average abundance of the phylum Actinobacteria and the genus Bacillus was significantly greater during the dry season. Some significant genera found during the dry season might reflect their tolerance to the extreme conditions found in the Caatinga biome. They may also indicate the ecological function that microorganisms play in providing plants with some degree of tolerance to water stress or in assisting in their development through mechanisms of growth promotion. Alterations in microbial communities can be due to the different abilities of native microorganisms to resist and adapt to environmental changes.
Project description:This study assessed the species composition, distribution, and functional profiles of cyanobacteria in Camamu Bay, a tropical oligotrophic estuarine system on the northeast coast of Brazil, using shotgun metagenomic sequencing. Surface-water samples were evaluated in two different rainfall periods (rainy and dry seasons), at nine stations in the three hydrodynamic regions of the bay. At a fixed sampling station, on each season, samples were taken over a tidal cycle at 3-h intervals over 12 h. A total of 219 cyanobacterial taxa were identified, demonstrating a diverse community of freshwater, euryhaline, and marine cyanobacteria. The genera of greater relative abundance, Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus, corresponded to the picoplankton fraction. Although Camamu Bay has conspicuous marine characteristics, the contribution of freshwater during the rainy season caused variation in cyanobacteria community, with an increase in species richness. Due the high prevalence of Synechococcus (90% of the sequences), the functional analysis revealed only minor differences in gene content between the dry and rainy seasons. In both rainy and dry seasons, an increase in Prochlorococcus relative abundance occurred during high tide, demonstrating the tidal influence in the bay. The environmental characteristics of the bay provide niche conditions for a wide variety of cyanobacteria, including freshwater, euryhaline, and marine strains.
Project description:Plants bearing extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) are common in the Brazilian cerrado savanna, where climatic conditions having marked seasonality influence arboreal ant fauna organization. These ant-plant interactions have rarely been studied at community level. Here, we tested whether: 1) EFN-bearing plants are more visited by ants than EFN-lacking plants; 2) ant visitation is higher in the rainy season than in dry season; 3) plants producing young leaves are more visited than those lacking young leaves in the rainy season; 4) during the dry season, plants with old leaves and flowers are more visited than plants with young leaves and bare of leaves or flowers; 5) the composition of visiting ant fauna differs between plants with and without EFNs. Field work was done in a cerrado reserve near Uberlândia, MG State, Brazil, along ten transects (total area 3,000 m2), in the rainy (October-January) and dry seasons (April-July) of 2010-2011. Plants (72 species; 762 individuals) were checked three times per season for ant presence. Results showed that 21 species (29%) and 266 individuals (35%) possessed EFNs. These plants attracted 38 ant species (36 in rainy, 26 in dry season). In the rainy season, plants with EFNs had higher ant abundance/richness than plants without EFNs, but in the dry season, EFN presence did not influence ant visitation. Plant phenology affected ant richness and abundance in different ways: plants with young leaves possessed higher ant richness in the rainy season, but in the dry season ant abundance was higher on plants possessing old leaves or flowers. The species composition of plant-associated ant communities, however, did not differ between plants with and without EFNs in either season. These findings suggest that the effect of EFN presence on a community of plant-visiting ants is context dependent, being conditioned to seasonal variation.
Project description:In this study, we aim to gain a better insight on how habitat filtering due to urbanization shapes bird communities of Vienna city parks. This may help to derive implications for urban planning in order to promote and maintain high diversity and ecosystem function in an increasing urbanized environment. The structure of wintering bird communities of 36 Vienna city parks - surveyed once a month in January 2009, December 2009, December 2012, and January 2013 - was described by species richness and the functional diversity measurements FRic (functional richness), FEve (functional evenness), and FDiv (functional divergence). Environmental filtering was quantified by park size, canopy heterogeneity within the park, and the proportion of sealed area surrounding each park. Species richness, FRic, and FDiv increased with increasing park size. Sealed area had a strong negative effect on species richness and FDiv. Canopy heterogeneity played a minor role in explaining variance in FDiv data. FEve did not respond to any of these park parameters. Our results suggest a loss of species richness and functional diversity, hence most likely indicate a decline in ecosystem function, with decreasing park size and increasing sealed area of the surrounding urban landscape matrix.
Project description:Background and Aims:The relationship between fruiting phenology and seed dispersal syndrome is widely recognized; however, the interaction of dormancy classes and plant life-history traits in relation to fruiting phenology and seed dispersal is understudied. Here we examined the relationship between fruiting season and seed dormancy and how this relationship is modulated by dormancy classes, dispersal syndromes, seed mass and seed moisture content in a Brazilian savanna (cerrado). Methods:Dormancy classes (non-dormancy and physical, morphological, morphophysiological, physiological and physiophysical dormancy) of 34 cerrado species were experimentally determined. Their seed dispersal syndrome (autochory, anemochory, zoochory), dispersal season (rainy, dry, rainy-to-dry and dry-to-rainy transitions), seed mass and moisture contents, and the estimated germination date were also determined. Log-linear models were used to evaluate how dormancy and dormancy classes are related to dispersal season and syndrome. Key Results:The proportions of dormant and non-dormant species were similar in cerrado. The community-estimated germination date was seasonal, occurring at the onset of rainy season. Overall, anemochorous non-dormant species released seeds during the dry-to-rainy transition; autochorous physically dormant species dispersed seeds during the dry season and rainy-to-dry transition; zoochorous species dispersed non-dormant seeds during the dry and rainy seasons, while species with morphological, morphophysiological or physiological dormancy dispersed seeds in the transitional seasons. Seed mass differed among dispersal seasons and dormancy classes, but seed moisture content did not vary with dispersal syndrome, season or dormancy class. Conclusions:The beginning of the rainy season was the most favourable period for seed germination in cerrado, and the germination phenology was controlled by both the timing of seed dispersal and seed dormancy. Dormancy class was influenced by dispersal syndrome and season. Moreover, dormancy avoided seed germination during the rainy-to-dry transition, independently of dispersal syndrome. The variability of dormancy classes with dispersal syndrome allowed animal-dispersed species to fruit all year round, but seeds germinated only during the rainy season. Conversely, seasonally restricted wind-dispersal species dispersed and germinated their non-dormant seeds only in the rainy season.
Project description:Spatial and temporal density and biomass of the infaunal mollusk Anomalocardia flexuosa (Linnaeus, 1767) evaluated a tidal plain at Goiana estuary (Northeast Brazil). Three hundred and sixty core samples were taken during an annual cycle from three intertidal habitats (A, B and C). Shell ranged from 2.20 to 28.48 mm (15.08 ± 4.08 mm). Recruitment occurred more intensely from January to March. Total (0-1,129 g m-2) differed seasons (rainy and dry), with highest values in the early rainy season (221.0 ± 231.44 g m-2); and lowest values in the late dry season (57.34 ± 97 g m-2). The lowest occurred during the late rainy (319 ± 259 ind m-2) and early dry (496 ± 607 ind m-2) seasons. Extreme environmental situations (e.g., river flow, salinity and water temperature) at the end of each season also affected density ranges (late dry: 0-5,798 ind m-2; late rainy: 0-1,170 ind m-2). A. flexuosa in the Goiana estuary presented a dominance of juvenile individuals (shell length < 20 mm), with high biomass main the recruitment period. Average shell length, density and biomass values suggest overfishing of the stock unit. A. flexuosa is an important food and income resource along its whole distribution range. The species was previously also known as Anomalocardia brasiliana (Gmelin, 1791).
Project description:Aim:Many studies have examined large-scale distributions of various taxa and their drivers, emphasizing the importance of climate, topography, and land use. Most studies have dealt with distributions over a single season or annually without considering seasonality. However, animal distributions and their drivers can differ among seasons because many animals migrate to suitable climates and areas with abundant prey resources. We aim to clarify seasonality in bird distributions and their drivers. Location:Japan. Methods:We examined the effects of climate (annual mean temperature, snow depth), topography (elevation), and land use (extent of surrounding habitat) on bird species richness, in the breeding and wintering seasons separately, using nationwide data (254 forest and 43 grassland sites, respectively). We separately analyzed the species richness of all species, residents, short-, and long-distance migrants in forests and grasslands. Results:In the breeding season, the annual mean temperature negatively affected all groups (except for forest and grassland residents), and the extent of surrounding habitat positively affected many groups. By contrast, in the wintering season, temperature positively affected all groups (except for forest residents), and the extent of surrounding habitat positively affected only grassland long-distance migrants. In both seasons, the species richness of forest and grassland residents was high in regions of moderate and high temperature, respectively. Moreover, snow depth negatively affected all forest groups in the wintering season. Mapping expected species richness suggested that regions with different climates served as habitats for different groups during different seasons. Main conclusions:All regions were important bird habitats depending on the season, reflecting the contrasting effects of temperature across seasons. In the breeding season, surrounding land use was also an important driver. To understand the seasonal role that each region and environment plays in maintaining species/communities, a large-scale study considering both environmental seasonality and species distribution is needed.
Project description:Tropical South America is rich in different groups of pollinators, but the biotic and abiotic factors determining the geographical distribution of their species richness are poorly understood. We analyzed the species richness of three groups of pollinators (bees and wasps, butterflies, hummingbirds) in six tropical forests in the Bolivian lowlands along a gradient of climatic seasonality and precipitation ranging from 410 mm to 6250 mm. At each site, we sampled the three pollinator groups and their food plants twice for 16 days in both the dry and rainy seasons. The richness of the pollinator groups was related to climatic factors by linear regressions. Differences in species numbers between pollinator groups were analyzed by Wilcoxon tests for matched pairs and the proportion in species numbers between pollinator groups by correlation analyses. Species richness of hummingbirds was most closely correlated to the continuous availability of food, that of bees and wasps to the number of food plant species and flowers, and that of butterflies to air temperature. Only the species number of butterflies differed significantly between seasons. We were not able to find shifts in the proportion of species numbers of the different groups of pollinators along the study gradient. Thus, we conclude that the diversity of pollinator guilds is determined by group-specific factors and that the constant proportions in species numbers of the different pollinator groups constitute a general pattern.
Project description:Background. One of the most difficult challenges for conservation biology is to reconcile growing human demands for resources with the rising need for protecting nature. Wind farms producing renewable energy have been recognised to be a threat for birds, but clear directives for environmental planning are still missing. Methods. Point counts were performed to study the relationship between eight environmental variables and bird populations in different parts of a year on the largest Polish wind farm between March 2011 and February 2013. Variables potentially related to species richness (Chao 1 estimator) and the abundance of the entire bird community as well as five selected farmland species were analysed with the use of generalized linear mixed models. Results. Some associations between the studied variables and bird populations were season/year specific, while others had a constant direction (positive or negative) across seasons and/or years. The latter were distance to the nearest turbine, field size, number of wind turbines, proximity of settlements and water bodies. Spatial autocorrelation and counting time were significantly correlated with bird population estimates but the directions of these relationships varied among seasons and years. Associations between abundance of individual species and environmental variables were species-specific. Conclusions. The results demonstrated a constant negative relationship between wind turbine proximity and bird numbers. Other environmental variables, such as field size, proximity of settlements and water bodies that also had constant associations with bird populations across seasons may be taken into account when minimizing adverse effects of wind farm development on birds or choosing optimal locations of new turbines.