Portrait of Dr Richard Bodmer

Dr Richard Bodmer

Honorary Professor in Conservation Ecology

About

Dr Richard Bodmer's interests are to help conserve the Amazon using a holistic approach that combines biodiversity conservation, community-based conservation, cultural conservation and historic conservation. Rick did his MSc research in the Congo on the okapi with the Mbuti, his PhD studies at the University of Cambridge in Zoology studying the feeding ecology, evolution and digestive physiology of large Amazonian mammals, a postdoctoral position in the highlands of Borneo on the orangutan with the Dayak and another at the Goeldi Museum on conservation and research in the Amazon. 

Dr Bodmer has worked at the Brookfield Zoo, University of Florida as assistant professor in Wildlife Ecology and Latin American Studies, and at DICE, University of Kent. Rick’s current positions include the president of FundAmazonia and director of the Indigenous Cultures and Historic Boat museums in Iquitos, Peru.  

Since 2001, Dr Bodmer has been organising research expeditions to the Amazon for students from the School of Anthropology and Conservation. Over the years there have been around 250 DICE students who have conducted wildlife conservation and biodiversity undergraduate, MSc and PhD research at the Amazon sites. Students study a variety of topics and species, such as river dolphins, amphibians, primates, fish, caimans, macaws, river otters, manatee, jaguars, tapirs, palms and understory birds, among others. The student Amazon research expeditions run every year to the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in Peru during June-August. Please contact Rick for more information on the research expeditions to the Peruvian Amazon.  

Research interests

Dr Bodmer’s research looks at conservation strategies in the western Amazon that confront the current threats from climate change. Student and volunteer research teams collect wildlife monitoring data to examine impacts of climate change on wildlife and the livelihoods of local indigenous people, evaluate how sustainable use of fisheries and bush meat is being affected by climate fluctuations, understand adaptations, and examine mitigations using community co-management and economic incentives. 

The research will help understand climate change and wildlife in western Amazonia. The long-term dataset of the project discovered how recent climate fluctuations characterised by successive intensive floods and occasional droughts impact aquatic, terrestrial and arboreal species in flooded forests. Findings from the research will be used to develop conservation mitigation strategies and sustainable adaptations by local people. Research collaborations are with the Peruvian Protected Area Authority, the National University of the Peruvian Amazon, Earthwatch Institute, Operation Wallacea and Operation Earth.  

Publications

Article

  • Bowler, M. and Bodmer, R. (2011). Diet and Food Choice in Peruvian Red Uakaris (Cacajao calvus ucayalii): Selective or Opportunistic Seed Predation?. International Journal of Primatology [Online] 32:1109-1122. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10764-011-9527-6.
    Even primates considered dietary specialists tend to eat a combination of fruit pulp, seeds, other plant parts, or animals. Specialist seed predators could either feed on seeds preferentially, or to avoid competition when ripe pulps are scarce. Pitheciin monkeys have specialized dentition that allows them to feed on seeds protected by hard shells, and the upper limit on the hardness of these is likely to be a function of jaw size. We recorded the diet of Peruvian red uakaris (Cacajao calvus ucayalii) on the Yavari River, Peru, to test the prediction that this seed predator would feed on the seeds of hard-shelled fruits preferentially over softer ones in relation to their availability in the forest. We also tested predictions that adult male, adult female, and juvenile diets would differ, with larger individuals eating more hard fruits. Uakaris ate 55.4% seeds, 38.9% pulps and arils, and 5.6% other items, but proportions varied through the year. More pulps, especially from the palm Mauritia flexuosa, were eaten when fruit availability was low, and more hard fruits were positively selected for than softer ones. Juveniles did not open the hardest fruit species opened by adults, and adult males ate harder fruits than females. These results provide evidence that seed eating in some primates has evolved beyond a means of avoiding competition for the ripe pulps typically preferred by many primates. Specialist seeding-eating primates therefore occupy divergent niches that require separate consideration from those of similar-sized primates.
  • Mayor, P., Bodmer, R., Lopez-Bejar, M. and Lopez-Plana, C. (2011). Reproductive biology of the wild red brocket deer (Mazama americana) female in the Peruvian Amazon. Animal Reproduction Science [Online] 128:6-6. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anireprosci.2011.09.009.
    Knowledge of the reproductive biology is critical for the development of management strategies of the species both in captivity and in the wild, and to address conservation concerns regarding the sustainable use of a species. The present report characterizes some aspects of the reproductive biology of the wild red brocket deer inhabiting the Northeastern Peruvian Amazon region, based on the anatomical and histological examination of the female reproductive organs of 89 wild adult females in different reproductive states. The red brocket deer female presented ovarian follicular waves involving the synchronous growth of a cohort of an average 25 follicles but only one follicle generally survived and continued development, reaching maturity at 4 mm. Mean ovulation rate was 1.14 and litter size was 1 fetus. Females presented a low rate of reproductive wastage of 14.3% of embryos. Among the 89 adult females studied, 41(46.1%) were pregnant and 48(53.9%) were nonpregnant females. In the Northeastern Peruvian Amazon, conceptions occurred year-round in the red brocket deer but there were peaks in the rate of conception. Estimated yearly reproductive production was 0.76-0.82 young per adult female. Most pregnant females in advanced stage of pregnancy had at least one active CL, suggesting the persistence of CL throughout gestation.
  • Desbiez, A., Keuroghlian, A., Piovezan, U. and Bodmer, R. (2011). Invasive species and bushmeat hunting contributing to wildlife conservation: the case of feral pigs in a Neotropical wetland. Oryx [Online] 45:78-83. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0030605310001304.
    Knowledge of the reproductive biology is critical for the development of management strategies of the species both in captivity and in the wild, and to address conservation concerns regarding the sustainable use of a species. The present report characterizes some aspects of the reproductive biology of the wild red brocket deer inhabiting the North-eastern Peruvian Amazon region, based on the anatomical and histological examination of the female reproductive organs of 89 wild adult females in different reproductive states. The red brocket deer female presented ovarian follicular waves involving the synchronous growth of a cohort of an average 25 follicles but only one follicle generally survived and continued development, reaching maturity at 4 mm. Mean ovulation rate was 1.14 and litter size was 1 fetus. Females presented a low rate of reproductive wastage of 14.3% of embryos. Among the 89 adult females studied, 41 (46.1%) were pregnant and 48 (53.9%) were non-pregnant females. In the Northeastern Peruvian Amazon, conceptions occurred year-round in the red brocket deer but there were peaks in the rate of conception. Estimated yearly reproductive production was 0.76–0.82 young per adult female. Most pregnant females in advanced stage of pregnancy had at least one active CL, suggesting the persistence of CL throughout gestation.
  • Desbiez, A., Bodmer, R. and Tomas, W. (2010). Mammalian densities in a Neotropical wetland subject to extreme climatic events. Biotropica [Online] 42:372-378. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-7429.2009.00601.x.
    Effective management and conservation of an ecosystem requires information on species assemblages as well as reliable estimates of population sizes to plan, implement and evaluate management strategies. The Brazilian Pantanal is one of the world's largest freshwater wetlands and considered a priority landscape for wildlife conservation. It is subject to pluri-annual extreme dry and wet periods, which cause extreme flood and drought events, which strongly affect wildlife. Using the line-transect method, this study examined the distribution of densities and metabolic biomass of medium- to large-sized nonvolant mammals in forest, cerrado and floodplain landscapes, in an area with low anthropogenic influence, in the central area of the Brazilian Pantanal during a prolonged drought. Comparisons with a previous survey conducted during years of average rainfall in part of the study area suggest that population fluctuations of certain species are closely associated with water due to the drought. Results from this study showed that mammal assemblages varied between landscapes. Forested landscapes have the highest densities of mammals and are the most important in terms of relative energy consumption. In addition, at the time of the study, frugivores were found to have higher energy consumption than browser/grazers across the three landscapes; most fruits are produced in forested areas stressing their importance. By converting forested landscapes into grasslands, the intensification of ranching practices seriously threatens biodiversity and ecological processes in the region.
  • Naranjo, E. and Bodmer, R. (2007). Source-sink systems and conservation of hunted ungulates in the Lacandon Forest, Mexico. Biological Conservation [Online] 138:412-420. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2007.05.010.
    Native ungulate species constitute an important source of protein for Mesoamerican subsistence hunters. In this study, we (1) provide evidence supporting the hypothesis that source-sink systems help maintain some of the ungulate populations in the Lacandon Forest, Mexico; and (2) test the assumptions that density, age structure, and sex ratios are different in slightly hunted (potential sources) and persistently hunted (potential sinks) populations. From May 1998 to March 2001 we observed 1144 individuals and 1153 tracks of five ungulate species (Baird's tapir, collared peccary, white-lipped peccary, red brocket deer, and white-tailed deer) along 1908 km of line transects in slightly and persistently hunted sites of Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (MABR) and adjacent community lands. Densities of Baird's tapir and white-lipped peccary were lower in persistently hunted sites, where there were higher proportions of young tapirs and white-tailed deer. The sustainability of hunting was evaluated in five communities using information on harvest rates, production rates, and density of each population. Our results suggest that persistently hunted populations of Baird's tapir and white-lipped peccary are at risk of local extinction, while collared peccary hunting appears to be sustainable. The red brocket deer, although locally overhunted, maintains a relatively safe status probably through a source-sink system in which MABR functions as the source of individuals which are readily hunted'in adjacent community lands. Source-sink systems may be also important in maintaining Baird's tapir and white-lipped peccary populations outside protected areas of the Lacandon Forest, from evidence of migration observed during this study. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Bodmer, R. and Halme, K. (2007). Correspondence between scientific and traditional knowledge: rain forest classification by non-indigenous riberenos in the Peruvian Amazon. Biodiversity and Conservation [Online] 16:1785-1801. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10531-006-9071-4.
    Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) is a potential source of ecological information. Typically TEK has been documented at the species level, but habitat data would be equally valuable for conservation applications. We compared the TEK forest type classification of ribereños, the non-indigenous rural peasantry of Peruvian Amazonia, to a floristic classification produced using systematically collected botanical data. Indicator species analysis of pteridophytes in 300 plots detected two forest types on non-flooded tierra firme, each associated with distinct soil texture and fertility, and one forest type in areas subject to flooding. Nine TEK forest types were represented in the same set of plots. Each TEK forest type was consistently (>82%) associated with one of the three floristic classes and there were also clear parallels in the ecological characterizations of the forest types. Ribereños demonstrated clear preferences for certain forest types when selecting sites for slash-and-burn agriculture and hunting. Our results indicate that the non-tribal inhabitants of Amazonia possess valuable TEK that could be used in biodiversity inventories and wildlife management and conservation for characterizing primary rain forest habitats in Amazonia.
  • Halme, K. and Bodmer, R. (2007). Correspondence between Scientific and Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Rain Forest Classification by the Non-Indigenous Ribereños in Peruvian Amazonia. Biodiversity and Conservation [Online] 16:1785-1801. Available at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/v266mk424g536131/fulltext.pdf.
    Abstract Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) is a potential source of ecological information. Typically TEK has been documented at the species level, but habitat data would be equally valuable for conservation applications. We compared the TEK forest type classification of ribereños, the non-indigenous rural peasantry of Peruvian Amazonia, to a floristic classification produced using systematically collected botanical data. Indicator species analysis of pteridophytes in 300 plots detected two forest types on non-flooded tierra firme, each associated with distinct soil texture and fertility, and one forest type in areas subject to flooding. Nine TEK forest types were represented in the same set of plots. Each TEK forest type was consistently (>82%) associated with one of the three floristic classes and there were also clear parallels in the ecological characterizations of the forest types. Ribereños demonstrated clear preferences for certain forest types when selecting sites for slash-and-burn agriculture and hunting. Our results indicate that the non-tribal inhabitants of Amazonia possess valuable TEK that could be used in biodiversity inventories and wildlife management and conservation for characterizing primary rain forest habitats in Amazonia
  • Hurtado-Gonzales, J. and Bodmer, R. (2006). Reproductive biology of female Amazonian brocket deer in northeastern Peru. European Journal of Wildlife Research [Online] 52:171-177. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10344-006-0034-6.
    The aim of this study was to provide information on the reproductive biology of brocket deer. Hence, we analyzed female reproductive tracts collected by rural hunters from 1991 to 1998 in the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve, northeastern Peruvian Amazon. We characterized the basic reproductive biology of brocket deer, analyzed whether the distributions of conceptions and births are aseasonal, and compared their reproductive productivity in two different areas subject to heavy and slight hunting pressures, respectively. We found that: (1) red and gray brocket deer did not differ in ovulation, fertilization, and pregnancy rates; (2) average number of fetuses per birth was 1.2 for red brocket deer and one for gray brocket deer; (3) sex of fetuses suggests a male biased sex ratio for both species; (4) neither species shows reproductive seasonality; and (5) gross productivity does not differ between heavily and slightly hunted areas. Our results indicate that brocket deer exhibit reproductive characteristics similar to their conspecifics in other parts of their native distribution range.
  • Mayor, P., Fenech, M., Bodmer, R. and Lopez-Bejar, M. (2006). Ovarian features of the wild collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu) from the northeastern Peruvian Amazon. General and Comparative Endocrinology [Online] 147:268-275. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2006.01.010.
    In this study, the ovaries of 27 wild collared peccaries (Tayassu tajacu) fromthe Amazonian region of northeastern Peru were examined macroscopically and microscopically, and expression of major steroidogenic enzymes was detected by immunohistochemistry. Our observations suggest a mean ovulation rate of 2.3 +/- 0.6 follicles and a low rate of reproductive wastage (0.4 +/- 0.6 oocytes or embryos per pregnancy). The collared peccary seems to exhibit follicular waves involving the synchronous growth of a cohort of follicles, several of which seem to attain selection. The presence of antral follicles in pregnant females suggests that follicular turnover continues during pregnancy. In cyclic animals, corpora lutea were characterised by the presence of distinct large and small luteal cell populations. The luteal volume in pregnant females was larger than that recorded for non-pregnant females. Through immunohistochemistry, it was observed that luteal cells from active corpora lutea exhibit intensive 3 beta-HSD expression in advanced stages of pregnancy. This suggests that the corpora lutea seems to remain steroidogenically active throughout pregnancy and likely contribute to progesterone production during pregnancy. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Hurtado-Gonzales, J. and Bodmer, R. (2004). Assessing the sustainability of brocket deer hunting in the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve, northeastern Peru. Biological Conservation [Online] 116:1-7. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3207(03)00167-8.
    Since the 1800s, brocket deer have been an important source of meat and income for subsistence and professional hunters in the Peruvian Amazon. Today, local people continue to hunt brocket deer for subsistence meat and for sale in local meat markets. Although brocket deer are not hunted as frequently as peccaries, they make a significant contribution to rural household economies. This study assessed the sustainability of hunting of brocket deer by local communities in the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Communal Reserve (TTCR), northeastern Peru. We analyzed data from 1991 to 1999 using density comparisons, hunting pressures, an age structure model, and a harvest model comparing results between heavily hunted, slightly hunted, and non-hunted sites. The four approaches agreed that brocket deer are harvested sustainably. The sustainability of brocket deer hunting will depend on the continued presence of other valuable wildlife species (e.g. peccaries and large rodents), which are more preferred due to their ease of hunting and higher rates of encounters. Gross productivity indicates that brocket deer are showing resilience in the form of density dependent reproductive adjustments in the TTCR, but they may still be vulnerable to overhunting. Consequently, current levels of harvesting may be continued until further ecological and biological information on the species' population trends assist in defining more reliable sustainable offtake levels. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Naranjo, E., Guerra, M., Bodmer, R. and Bolanos, J. (2004). Subsistence hunting by three ethnic groups of the Lacandon forest, Mexico. Journal of Ethnobiology 24:233-254.
  • Newing, H. and Bodmer, R. (2003). Collaborative Wildlife Management and Adaptation to Change: the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Communal Reserve, Peru. Nomadic Peoples 7:110-122.
  • Bodmer, R. and Lozano, E. (2001). Rural development and sustainable wildlife use in Peru. Conservation Biology [Online] 15:1163-1170. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1523-1739.2001.0150041163.x.
    Tropical conservation has seen a convergence between conservation projects and rural development, with both approaches promoting participation of local people in sustainable resource use. But there is a discord between rural development and sustainable use of wildlife. Implementing more sustainable use of wildlife usually means decreased economic benefits for rural people, especially over the short term. In contrast, rural-development projects are often mandated to generate income for rural people over the short term. We examined this dilemma through an integrated economic and harvest analysis of the costs associated with converting unsustainable hunting to more sustainable hunting in the Peruvian Amazon. Our analysis suggests that a change in hunting practice would have significant economic costs for rural people and would result in a 36% decrease in the economic benefits they derive from wildlife hunting. In contrast, converting unsustainable hunting to more sustainable hunting would have little effect on meat markets in the urban center of Iquitos, Peru, with markets losing only 3.6% of their economic value. There would be no economic costs for the international pelt trade. If rural-development projects absorb the short-term economic costs, they can help people convert unsustainable wildlife use to more sustainable use and assist rural people in realizing the long-term benefits of more sustainable hunting. But many rural-development projects would need to change their mandate for short-term income generation to incorporate the realities of sustainability.
  • Cullen, L., Bodmer, R. and Valladares-Padua, C. (2001). Ecological consequences of hunting in Atlantic forest patches, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Oryx 35:137-144.
    This paper evaluates the ecological consequences of hunting by comparing mammalian densities, biomass, relative energy consumption and community structure between sites with different levels of hunting pressure. Hunting is carried out mainly by colonists who farm on the edge of Atlantic forest fragments in the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Mammals were studied over a period of 18 months, along 2287 km of line transects. Transects were distributed among two protected sites, one slightly hunted site and two heavily hunted sites. Tapirs, the two peccary species, brocket deer, armadillos and agoutis are preferred by hunters in the region. Primates are not hunted in the region. Hunting has affected community structure, with ungulates dominating mammalian biomass at protected sites and primates dominating at hunted sites. This has caused an ecological inversion in the hunted areas of the Atlantic forests. In amazonian regions of the Neotropics hunting is more evenly distributed among primates, large rodents, and ungulates and has resulted in an opposite inversion, with hunted sites having lower primate biomass. Atlantic forests are very susceptible to the possible ecological imbalances induced by hunting by humans, and this must be considered for management and conservation programmes.
  • Puertas, P., Bodmer, R., Calle, A. and Del Aguila, J. (2000). Comentario: La Importancia del Majeno Comunal para la Conservacion de la Fauna Silvestre en las Areas Protegidas del Nor-Oriente Peruano. Revista Peruana de Biologia [Online] 7. Available at: http://sisbib.unmsm.edu.pe/BVrevistas/biologia/v07_n2/impor_manejo.htm.

Book

  • Aquino, R., Bodmer, R. and Gil, J. (2001). Mamiferos De La Cuenca Del Rio Samiria: Ecologia, Poblacional Y Sustentabilidad De La Caza. Lima, Peru: Wildlife Conservation Society, and Programa Samiria.

Book section

  • Bodmer, R. and Ward, D. (2006). Frugivory in large mammalian herbivores. In: Danell, K., Bergström, R. and Duncan, P. eds. Large Herbivore Ecology, Ecosystem Dynamics and Conservation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 232-260.
  • Bodmer, R. (2005). Hunting for Conservation in the Amazon. In: Guynup, S. ed. State of the Wild: A Global Portrait of Wildlife, Wildlands and Oceans. Washington: Island Press, pp. 139-145.
  • Bodmer, R., Puertas, P. and Antunez, M. (2004). Use and sustainability of wildlife hunting in and around the proposed Yavari Reserved Zone. In: Pitman, N., Vriesendorp, C. and Moskovits, D. eds. Peru, Yavari: Rapid Biological Inventory. Chicago: The Field Museum, pp. 178-185.
  • Fragoso, J., Bodmer, R. and Silvius, K. (2004). Introduction - wildlife conservation and management in South and Central America: multiple pressures and innovative solutions. In: Silvius, K. M., Bodmer, R. E. and Fragoso, J. M. V. eds. People in Nature: Wildlife Conservation in South and Central America. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 1-8.
  • Salovaara, K., Bodmer, R., Recharte, M. and Reyes, C. (2004). Diversity and abundance of mammals. In: Pitman, N., Vriesendorp, C. and Moskovits, D. eds. Peru, Yavari: Rapid Biological Inventory. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, pp. 156-164.
  • Bodmer, R. and Robinson, J. (2004). Evaluating the sustainability of hunting in the Neotropics. In: Silvius, K. M., Bodmer, R. E. and Fragoso, J. M. V. eds. People in Nature: Wildlife Conservation in South and Central America. New York, USA: Columbia University Press, pp. 299-323.
  • Bodmer, R., Pezo Lozano, E. and Fang, T. (2004). Economic analysis of wildlife use in the Peruvian Amazon. In: Silvius, K. M., Bodmer, R. E. and Fragoso, J. M. V. eds. People in Nature: Wildlife Conservation in South and Central America. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 191-207.
  • Cullen, L., Bodmer, R., Valladares Padua, C. and Ballou, J. (2004). Mammalian densities and species extinctions in Atlantic Forest fragments: the need for population management. In: Silvius, K. M., Bodmer, R. E. and Fragoso, J. M. V. eds. People in Nature: Wildlife Conservation in South and Central America. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 211-226.
  • Naranjo, E., Bolanos, J., Guerra, M. and Bodmer, R. (2004). Hunting sustainability of ungulate populations in the Lacandon forest Mexico. In: Silvius, K. M., Bodmer, R. E. and Fragoso, J. M. V. eds. People in Nature: Wildlife Conservation in South and Central America. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 324-343.
  • Puertas, P. and Bodmer, R. (2004). Hunting effort as a tool for community-based wildlife management in Amazonia. In: Silvius, K. M., Bodmer, R. E. and Fragoso, J. M. V. eds. People in Nature: Wildlife Conservation in South and Central America. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 123-135.
  • Bodmer, R. (2004). Evaluating the sustainability of harvesting in the Neotropics using the unified harvest model. In: Bennett, E. and Argeno, F. eds. Hunting in Neotropical Forests: Review of the issues,identifying Gaps, and Developing Strategies. New York: Wildlife Conservation Society., pp. 201-206.
  • Bodmer, R. and Puertas, P. (2004). A brief history of the Yavari Valley. In: Pitman, N., Vriesendorp, C. and Moskovits, D. eds. Peru, Yavari: Rapid Biological Inventory. Chicago: The Field Museum, pp. 172-177.
  • Gottdenker, N. and Bodmer, R. (2003). The Peccaries: Family Tayassuidae. In: Hutchins, M. ed. Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group. Available at: http://bookshop.blackwell.co.uk/jsp/id/Grzimeks_Animal_Life_Encyclopedia_Vols_12_16/9780787665739.
  • Bodmer, R. (2003). The unified harvest model. In: Bennett, L. and Arengo, F. eds. Sustainability of Wildlife Use in the Neotropics. New York: Wildlife Conservation Society.
  • Bodmer, R. (2003). Evaluacion de la sustentabilidad de la caza en los Neotropicos: el modelo de cosecha unificado. In: Polanco, R. ed. Manejo De Fauna Silvestre En Los Neotropicos. Bogota, Colombia: CITES, Fundacion Natura., pp. 252-261.
  • Bodmer, R., Puertas, P., Aquino, R. and Reyes, C. (2001). Influence of habitat on the sustainability of mammal harvests in the Peruvian Amazon. In: Vieira, I. C. G., da Silva, J. M., Oren, D. C. and d’Incao, M. Ângela eds. Biological and Cultural Diversity of Amazonia. Belem, Brazil: Museu Goeldi Press, pp. 385-402.

Thesis

  • Upton, K. (2015). Amphibian Diversity in Amazonian Flooded Forests of Peru.
    Global biodiversity is currently facing the sixth mass extinction, with extinction rates at least 100 times higher than background levels. The Amazon Basin has the richest amphibian fauna in South America, but there remain significant gaps in our knowledge of the drivers of diversity in this region and how amphibian assemblages are responding to environmental change.
    Surveys were conducted in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (PSNR) in Amazonian Peru, with a view to (1) comparing assemblage structure on floating meadows and adjacent terrestrial habitats; (2) determining the predictors of diversity in these habitats; and (3) exploring the effects of disturbance and seasonal flooding on diversity measures. Eighty-one species of amphibians have been recorded in these habitats since 1996 representing 11 families and three orders. In 2012-2013 22 anuran species used the floating meadow habitat, of which 10 were floating meadow specialists. These specialists were predominantly hylids which breed on floating meadows all the year round. Floating meadows therefore host an assemblage of species which is different to that found in adjacent terrestrial areas which are subject to seasonal flooding. Floating meadows enhance the amphibian diversity of the region, and rafts of vegetation that break away and disperse frogs downstream may explain the wide distribution of hylids within the Amazon Basin.
    Fourteen different reproductive modes were represented within the 54 anuran species observed. The number of reproductive modes present was influenced by localised disturbance and seasonal flooding. Diversity increased in the low water period, with hylids breeding in temporary pools. When the forest is inundated most species disperse away from the flood waters.
    Disturbance, habitat change, emerging diseases and climate change would likely lead to changes in species composition and assemblage structure rather than wholescale extinctions. However, further studies are needed to evaluate long-term consequences of synergistic environmental change.
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