Virtual Issue on South America: Journal of Applied Ecology and Journal of Animal Ecology

Edited by Jos Barlow and Kenneth Wilson
June 2012

 South America has played a pivotal role in the development of ecological science, providing much of the early evidence for  ecological and evolutionary theories during the expeditions of von Humboldt, Darwin, Wallace and Bates. And ecological science in South America is just as important today, providing vital information on the sustainability of modern day human impacts, and informing us about populations, communities and ecosystems. In this Virtual Issue, we highlight the breadth and depth of ecological research in South America published in two of the British Ecological Society journals: Journal of Applied Ecology and Journal of Animal Ecology. The thirty studies we highlight here were mostly published in the last decade, and cover a range of countries. There is a strong Amazonian focus – reflecting the global importance of the world’s largest remaining tropical forest – but there are also many studies in other South American biomes, including the Cerrado savannas, oceans, mountains, deserts and steppe.

Within the Journal of Applied Ecology, articles are split into four themes. Many countries in South America are undergoing a period of rapid agricultural change, and we highlight how (i) biodiversity is an integral part of agricultural systems, and (ii) the consequences of this land-use change and habitat fragmentation for ecosystem functioning and biodiversity. We then assess how remaining habitats can be used sustainably, either for (iii) the harvesting of natural resources such as fish and bushmeat, or (iv) forest management for timber.

Within the Journal of Animal Ecology, articles are divided into three broad themes: (i) population ecology and demography; (ii) animal behaviour and species interactions; and (iii) community ecology and food webs. Most of the papers are empirical and highlight the challenges or opportunities associated with studying animals in South America. Studies span a range of taxonomic groups including insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, and illustrate the diverse range of fauna and landscapes the continent offers. Together, these papers capture the broad range of South American research published in Journal of Animal Ecology.

Agriculture and biodiversity

Ferreira, J., Pardini, R., Metzger, J.P., Fonseca, C.R., Pompeu, P., Sparovek, G., Louzada, J (2012) Towards environmentally sustainable agriculture in Brazil: challenges and opportunities for applied ecological research. Journal of Applied Ecology 49. 535-541

Dangles, O., Mesias, V., Crespo-Perez, V., Silvain, J.F. (2009) Crop damage increases with pest species diversity: evidence from potato tuber moths in the tropical Andes. Journal of Applied Ecology 46, 1115-1121.

Garcia, C., Renison, D., Cingolani, A.M., Fernandez-Juricic, E. (2008) Avifaunal changes as a consequence of large-scale livestock exclusion in the mountains of Central Argentina. Journal of Applied Ecology 45, 351-360.

Chacoff, N.P., Aizen, M.A. (2006) Edge effects on flower-visiting insects in grapefruit plantations bordering premontane subtropical forest. Journal of Applied Ecology 43, 18-27

Cingolani, A.M., Posse, G., Collantes, M.B. (2005) Plant functional traits, herbivore selectivity and response to sheep grazing in Patagonian steppe grasslands. Journal of Applied Ecology 42, 50-59.

Buttolph, L.P., Coppock, D.L. (2004) Influence of deferred grazing on vegetation dynamics and livestock productivity in an Andean pastoral system. Journal of Applied Ecology 41, 664-674.

Land-use change and fragmentation

Banks-Leite, C., Ewers, R.M., Kapos, V., Martensen, A.C., Metzger, J.P (2011) Comparing species and measures of landscape structure as indicators of conservation importance. Journal of Applied Ecology 48, 706-714.

Klingbeil, B.T., Willig, M.R. (2009) Guild-specific responses of bats to landscape composition and configuration in fragmented Amazonian rainforest. Journal of Applied Ecology 46, 203-213.

Gardner, T.A., Hernandez, M.I.M., Barlow, J., Peres, C.A. (2008) Understanding the biodiversity consequences of habitat change: the value of secondary and plantation forests for neotropical dung beetles. Journal of Applied Ecology 45, 883-893.

Hunting and fishing

Alfaro-Shigueto, J., Mangel, J.C., Bernedo, F., Dutton, P.H., Seminoff, J.A., Godley, B.J. (2011) Small-scale fisheries of Peru: a major sink for marine turtles in the Pacific. Journal of Applied Ecology 48, 1432-1440.

Levi, T., Shepard, G.H., Ohl-Schacherer, J., Peres, C.A., Yu, D.W. (2009) Modelling the long-term sustainability of indigenous hunting in Manu National Park, Peru: landscape-scale management implications for Amazonia. Journal of Applied Ecology 46, 804-814.

Novaro, A.J., Funes, M.C., Walker, R.S. (2005) An empirical test of source-sink dynamics induced by hunting. Journal of Applied Ecology 42, 910-920.

Sustainable management of forests

Herault, B., Ouallet, J., Blanc, L., Wagner, F., Baraloto, C. (2010) Growth responses of neotropical trees to logging gaps. Journal of Applied Ecology 47, 821-831.

Presley, S.J., Willig, M.R., Wunderle, J.M., Saldanha, L.N. (2008) Effects of reduced-impact logging and forest physiognomy on bat populations of lowland Amazonian forest. Journal of Applied Ecology 45, 14-25.

Verwer, C., Pena-Claros, M., van der Staak, D., Ohlson-Kiehn, K., Sterck, F.J. (2008) Silviculture enhances the recovery of overexploited mahogany Swietenia macrophylla. Journal of Applied Ecology 45, 1770-1779.

Population ecology and demography

Lima, M; Julliard R; Stenseth, NC; et al. (2001) Demographic dynamics of a neotropical small rodent (Phyllotis darwini): feedback structure, predation and climatic factors. Journal of Animal Ecology 70, 761-775

Fossette, S; Gaspar P; Handrich, Y; et al. (2008) Dive and beak movement patterns in leatherback turtles Dermochelys coriacea during internesting intervals in French Guiana. Journal of Animal Ecology 77, 236-246

Jahn, A. E.; Levey, D. J.; Hostetler, J. A.; et al. (2010) Determinants of partial bird migration in the Amazon Basin. Journal of Animal Ecology 79, 983-992

Plot, V; de Thoisy, B; Blanc S; et al. (2012) Reproductive synchrony in a recovering bottlenecked sea turtle population. Journal of Animal Ecology 81, 341-351

Animal behaviour and species interactions

Yaber, M. C.; Rabenold, K. N. (2002) Effects of sociality on short-distance, female-biased dispersal in tropical wrens. Journal of Animal Ecology 71, 1042-1055

Prado, P. I.; Lewinsohn, T. M. (2004) Compartments in insect-plant associations and their consequences for community structure. Journal of Animal Ecology 73, 1168-1178

Henry, M; Pons, J-M; Cosson, J-F (2007) Foraging behaviour of a frugivorous bat helps bridge landscape connectivity and ecological processes in a fragmented rainforest. Journal of Animal Ecology 76, 1365-2656

Bezerra, E. L. S.; Machado, I. C.; Mello, M. A. R. (2009) Pollination networks of oil-flowers: a tiny world within the smallest of all worlds. Journal of Animal Ecology 78, 1096-1101

Chacoff, N. P.; Vazquez, D. P.; Lomascolo, S. B.; et al. (2012) Evaluating sampling completeness in a desert plant-pollinator network. Journal of Animal Ecology 81, 190-200

Community ecology and food webs

Forero, M. G.; Bortolotti, G. R.; Hobson, K. A.; et al. (2004) High trophic overlap within the seabird community of Argentinean Patagonia: a multiscale approach. Journal of Animal Ecology 73, 789-801

Arim, M; Jaksic, F. M. (2005) Productivity and food web structure: association between productivity and link richness among top predators. Journal of Animal Ecology 74, 31-40

Stevens, R. D.; Lopez-Gonzalez, C.; Presley, S. J. (2007) Geographical ecology of Paraguayan bats: spatial integration and metacommunity structure of interacting assemblages. Journal of Animal Ecology 76, 1086-1093

Coddington, J. A.; Agnarsson, I.; Miller, J. A.; et al. (2009) Undersampling bias: the null hypothesis for singleton species in tropical arthropod surveys. Journal of Animal Ecology 78, 573-584

Powell, S.; Costa, A. N.; Lopes, C. T.; et al. (2011) Canopy connectivity and the availability of diverse nesting resources affect species coexistence in arboreal ants. Journal of Animal Ecology 80, 352-360

Farias, A. A.; Jaksic, F. M. (2011) Low functional richness and redundancy of a predator assemblage in native forest fragments of Chiloe Island, Chile. Journal of Animal Ecology 80, 809-817

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