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Does the replacement of native forest with eucalyptus plantations influences the structure of anuran-prey trophic networks?

Grant number: 23/16700-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2024
Effective date (End): June 05, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Applied Ecology
Principal Investigator:Marcio Roberto Costa Martins
Grantee:Augusto Nunes Carvalho
Supervisor: Matthew Craig Hutchinson
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of California, Merced (UC Merced), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:23/06268-7 - Does the replacement of native forest with eucalyptus plantations influences the structure of anuran-prey trophic networks?, BP.IC

Abstract

Ecological interactions between predator and prey are fundamental to the comprehension of the organization of animal assemblages. These interactions can be collectively represented by interaction networks, through which it is possible to evaluate the emergence of non-random structures. Connectance describes the proportion of realized interactions in the network. Modularity is a commonly found structure, which describes sets of predators and prey that interact more with each other than with the rest of the network. Among the factors that shape connectance and modularity, we have community attributes, like species richness and abundance distributions, and species behaviour. These attributes are influenced by environmental changes, as already documented for vertebrates in tropical-forest ecosystems where native forest has been replaced by silviculture. Therefore, it is expected that the substitution of native forest with silviculture will lead to changes in the interaction networks patterns, but how this substitution impacts the structure of predator preferences and trophic networks is still underexplored. We hypothesize that, through a filtering of specialist predators, there is a rise in connectance and less modularity in the networks from silviculture sites, when compared with native forest sites. Preliminary network analyses find this hypothesis to not be corroborated. The silviculture environment presents low connectance and highly modular structure when the network is based in the core subsets of interactions. This project aims to explore these unexpected results through dietary analysis of an Atlantic Forest community and an Eucalyptus sp. plantation community. To achieve this, we will compare dietary abundance distributions and explore niche overlap and niche packing.

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