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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Effects of Forest Fragmentation on the Vertical Stratification of Neotropical Bats

by Inês Silva 1,2,3,*,†, Ricardo Rocha 2,3,4,†, Adrià López-Baucells 2,3,5, Fábio Z. Farneda 2,3,6 and Christoph F. J. Meyer 2,3,7
1
Conservation Ecology Program, School of Bioresources and Technology, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkhunthien, Bangkok 10150, Thailand
2
Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes – cE3c, Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal
3
Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project, National Institute for Amazonian Research and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Manaus 69011-970, Brazil
4
CIBIO/InBIO-UP, Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, University of Porto, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal
5
Granollers Museum of Natural Sciences, Granollers 08402, Spain
6
Department of Ecology, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro 21941-902, Brazil
7
School of Science, Engineering and Environment, University of Salford, M5 4WT Salford, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors have contributed equally to this work.
Diversity 2020, 12(2), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12020067
Received: 30 December 2019 / Revised: 31 January 2020 / Accepted: 5 February 2020 / Published: 7 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Pressure on Bat Populations)
Vertical stratification is a key component of the biological complexity of rainforests. Understanding community- and species-level responses to disturbance across forest strata is paramount for evidence-based conservation and management. However, even for bats, known to extensively explore multiple layers of the complex three-dimensional forest space, studies are biased towards understory-based surveys and only few assessments of vertical stratification were done in fragmented landscapes. Using both ground and canopy mist-nets, we investigated how the vertical structure of bat assemblages is influenced by forest fragmentation in the experimentally fragmented landscape of the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project, Central Amazon, Brazil. Over a three year-period, we captured 3077 individuals of 46 species in continuous forest (CF) and in 1, 10 and 100 ha forest fragments. In both CF and forest fragments, the upper forest strata sustained more diverse bat assemblages than the equivalent understory layer, and the midstory layers had significantly higher bat abundance in fragments than in CF. Artibeus lituratus and Rhinophylla pumilio exhibited significant shifts in their vertical stratification patterns between CF and fragments (e.g. R. pumilio was more associated with the upper strata in fragments than in CF). Altogether, our study suggests that fragmentation modulates the vertical stratification of bat assemblages.
Keywords: Amazon; Chiroptera; community ecology; deforestation; Neotropics; vertical space Amazon; Chiroptera; community ecology; deforestation; Neotropics; vertical space
MDPI and ACS Style

Silva, I.; Rocha, R.; López-Baucells, A.; Farneda, F.Z.; Meyer, C.F.J. Effects of Forest Fragmentation on the Vertical Stratification of Neotropical Bats. Diversity 2020, 12, 67.

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