Enrico Bernard, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
Research: Near Collapse: Investigating the Role of Bats as Seed Dispersers and Pollinators in a Hyper Fragmented and Faunistically Depurated Landscape in the Atlantic Forest in Northeastern Brazil
Abstract: The Brazilian Atlantic Forest holds 7% of its original distribution, and in some locations nearly 50% of its mammal species are locally extinct due to fragmentation and/or hunting and defaunation. Without those species, bats may have assumed a much more important ecological role, acting as the main remaining seed dispersers and pollinators. But bats' role may also be affected by declines in plant resources availability, pointing out the need for a better understand on the current role bats are playing in a hyper fragmented and severely faunistically depauperated landscapes. This study will identify bat species using a landscape composed by Atlantic Forest fragments surrounded by a matrix of sugarcane, study their mobility, habitats used, investigate how they interact with the sugarcane matrix, locate roosts, estimate the home ranges, quantify and qualify seed and pollen loads carried by bats, and investigate how the extirpation of other mammals may have affected bats' role as seed dispersers and pollinators.