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Co-occurrence and ecological drivers of brocket deer occupancy in the Atlantic Forest

Grant number: 21/00966-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2021
Effective date (End): October 01, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Applied Ecology
Principal Investigator:José Maurício Barbanti Duarte
Grantee:Francisco Grotta Neto
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e Veterinárias (FCAV). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Jaboticabal. Jaboticabal , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:17/07014-8 - The use of actual topotypes to produce genotypes and cytotypes in the taxonomic review of the Mazama genus: the basis for the species conservation, AP.BTA.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):22/16572-2 - Population density of syntopic brocket deer species, BE.EP.PD


Understanding the interspecific interactions and the effect of landscape on habitat use is fundamental to understanding how biological community formations occur. Phylogenetically closer species tend to share greater ecological similarities and niche overlap. Thus, evolutionary adaptations are fundamental for the coexistence of congeners species. Brocket deer (Mazama genus) are a polyphyletic group divided into two clades that converged phenotypically during adaptation to forest environments. The ecology of this group has a phylogenetic structure, resulting in ecological questions about the relative importance of landscape features and interspecific interactions in the occurrence of species. Using non-invasive tools (camera traps and fecal DNA) and occupancy as a proxy of habitat use, the goal of this project is to determine the ecological factors that affect Mazama occupancy. Two alternative hypotheses will be tested: I) the habitat use of Mazama deer is mainly determined by the characteristics of the environment, being expected positive effects of habitat covariates that indicate mature forest for species of the red clade; and II) interspecific interactions are the main determinants of Mazama habitat use, being expected spatial avoidance between Mazama species and those with predators. Three protected areas in the Atlantic Forest, Brazil, with different species compositions will be sampled by camera traps and scat detection dogs for fecal sampling. Occupancy and co-occurrence models will be used to evaluate the effect of landscape covariates and other species (Mazama sp. and predators) on Mazama habitat use. Thus, the data that will be generated will contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms that affect the co-occurrence and the distribution of phylogenetically close and ecologically similar species in order to contribute to the conservation of Mazama species and to the understanding of the formation of biological communities. (AU)

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