It is recognized that spatial distribution of species within communities is not random, but rather reflects their shared ecological tolerances. For example, if extreme environmental conditions (i.e., dryness) limit the occurrence of species with certain functional traits, environmental filtering process increases the functional redundancy in communities. On the other hand, in areas with less stressful environmental conditions niche complementarity is considered to be the dominant process allowing greater functional diversity in the communities. However, studies evaluating the distribution of functional diversity of vertebrates along climatic gradients in the tropics are still scarce. In this project, we intend to evaluate the spatial distribution of tadpoles functional diversity along climatic gradients in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. For that, we test three climatic hypotheses that may influence the functional diversity of tadpoles: i) Water Availability Hypothesis - our prediction is that areas with low rainfall and high seasonality would harbor lower functional diversity than areas with high rainfall and low seasonality; ii) Heat Balance Hypothesis - Our prediction is that areas with high temperatures throughout the year harbor lower functional diversity than areas with greater seasonality in temperature; and iii) mixed effect hypothesis - Our prediction is that areas with low rainfall and high temperatures would harbor lower functional diversity than areas with high rainfall and moderate temperatures. Therefore, taking into consideration the possible global warming scenarios, we hope that our results may help in decision making to preserve the functional diversity of amphibians along climatic gradients in the Atlantic Forest. This project is linked to the Young Researcher Project (FAPESP 2013 / 50714-0).
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