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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.

SUBMITTER: Goncalves GSR 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5404791 | BioStudies | 2017-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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