Project properties

Title Do animals shape tree community assembly and functional composition of a Bolivian tropical rainforest?
Group Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group
Project type thesis
Credits 27-39
Supervisor(s) Dr. Ir. Lourens Poorter
Examiner(s) Prof. Dr. F. Bongers
Contact info
Begin date 2018/01/01
End date
Description Animals are an important component of tropical rain forests; through seed dispersal and predation, and the trampling and browsing of seedlings they can have a large filtering effect on what tree species are regeneration where. It is therefore thought that animals shape to a large extent the assembly of tropical tree communities. Apart from this, logging is also widespread in the tropics, opening up the canopy, changing resource availability and species composition. The aim of this desk study is to evaluate the effects of animals and logging on the composition of tree regeneration in different forest microhabitats (gap, understory, trails).

You will benefit from an exclosure experiment that has been established in in logged and unlogged forest and in different microhabitats in a Bolivian tropical moist forest. The area counts with a complete fauna (jaguars, tapirs, peccaries, and the rest). In total 72 plots have been established in which the establishment, growth and survival of all tree seedlings has been monitored for a five years period. Additionally 8 functional traits, related to seed size, seed dispersal mechanism, leaf traits and stem traits have been measured for 60 of the most common species. You can use all the census and trait data to evaluate how community composition shifts over time, what species increase in abundance due to animals and light, what species decrease, and why. You will calculate functional shifts in species composition, by calculating community-weighted mean trait values and functional diversity values. The results have large consequences for our ideas how animals and light contribute to the maintenance of a high species richness in tropical forests.

Biodiversity and functional ecology] [Plant-animal interactions][Population and forest dynamics] [Sustainable forest management][America's][Tropical]
Used skills desk top study
Requirements FEM-30306 Forest Ecology and Forest Management; TNV-31806 Ecological Methods I