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Title: Effects of Geomorphology and Primary Productivity on Amazonian Leaf Litter Herpetofauna
Authors: Deichmann, Jessica L.
Lima, Albertina Pimental
Williamson, G. Bruce
Keywords: Amphibian
Food Chain
Geomorphological Response
Habitat Conservation
Habitat Fragmentation
Leaf Litter
Population Density
Primary Production
Species Richness
Trophic Cascade
Issue Date: 2011
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Biotropica
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 43, Número 2, Pags. 149-156
Abstract: The Amazon Basin, representing the largest expanse of intact tropical rain forest on the planet, harbors the largest diversity of amphibians and reptiles in the world. Limited elevation and climate differences across the Basin belie one major division of upland forests - geomorphological soil age and induced nutrient levels. We hypothesized that secondary consumers in the leaf litter herpetofauna community on ancient soils of Central Amazonia would exhibit reduced biomass compared with those found on younger soils of Western Amazonia, and that population densities on ancient soils could be driven below viable thresholds, reducing species richness. We found overall herpetofauna abundance, biomass and richness on young soils in Ecuador were significantly greater than those on ancient soils in the Brazilian Amazon. Separately, amphibians were only slightly more abundant, but their biomass on younger soils was twice that on ancient soils. Even more impressive was the variation exhibited by lizards: abundance was not significantly different, but biomass was five times greater on younger soils. Diversity of both taxa was greater on young soils. The most important driver of differences in herpetofauna biomass, abundance and possibly diversity across Amazonia may be the underlying geomorphologic differences. Reduced primary productivity on ancient soils appears to reverberate up the food chain, leaving fewer resources for higher trophic levels. We suggest that conservation initiatives must compensate for reduced biomass on ancient soils through increased reserve size, especially as forest fragmentation escalates. This study highlights the importance of including biomass as a standard measure in herpetofauna sampling. © 2010 The Author(s). Journal compilation © 2010 by The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation.
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2010.00683.x
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