Patterns of Vertebrate Abundance in a Tropical Mosaic Landscape
Multi‐faceted field sampling in a mosaic landscape in Venezuela generated insights on how topographical characteristics, forest composition, degree of habitat interspersion, and paleoecology influenced the abundance and distribution of vertebrates. Physical heterogeneity resulted in distinct vegetation types and a very uneven distribution of medium to large‐sized vertebrates. Variations in forest composition resulted in dramatic contrasts in primate densities. White‐tailed deer densities varied an order of magnitude between vegetation types. Yellow‐knobbed curassow densities peaked in moist forest. Similar chachalaca densities were encountered in dry forest. Although there was spatial overlap between jaguars and pumas, from a large‐scale perspective pumas made more use of drier habitats. In select habitats the abundance and biomass of red‐footed tortoises exceeded that of multiple species of large native mammals combined. This variation in animal abundance highlights the significance of scale in the interpretation of ecological data.
Polisar, John; Scognamillo, Daniel G.; Maxit, Ines Esperanza; and Sunquist, Melvin, "Patterns of Vertebrate Abundance in a Tropical Mosaic Landscape" (2008). Faculty Publications. 457.
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