Touchton, Janeene M; Smith, James N M
When a community loses species through fragmentation, its total food consumption may drop. Compensatory responses of remaining species, whereby survivors assume roles of extinct competitors, may reduce the impact of species loss through numerical or functional responses. We measured compensatory responses in two remaining antbird species on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, four decades after the loss of their dominant competitor, the Ocellated Antbird, Phaenostictus mcleannani. We compared current abundances and behavior of these two species on Barro Colorado to those reported before the island lost Ocellated Antbirds, and to those in a nearby mainland population where all three species still exist as a space-for-time substitution. The smaller, more subordinate Spotted Antbird, Hylophylax naevioides, responded far more strongly than the larger Bicolored Antbird, Gymnopithys leucaspis, which is functionally more like the Ocellated Antbird. Islandwide density of Spotted Antbirds has more than doubled since the loss of Ocellated Antbirds. Moreover, Spotted Antbirds now spend so much more of their time following ant swarms that their metabolic biomass at these swarms has more than tripled since Ocellated Antbirds disappeared. These responses in Spotted Antbirds were apparently delayed by >20 years. Bicolored Antbirds have not increased substantially in islandwide density or metabolic biomass at ant swarms. We hypothesize that behavioral flexibility, as shown by Spotted Antbirds on Barro Colorado Island, is a major factor governing the extent to which fragmented ecosystems can buffer the impacts of species loss.
Nylander Johan AA
Full Text Available Abstract Background The typical antbirds (Thamnophilidae form a monophyletic and diverse family of suboscine passerines that inhabit neotropical forests. However, the phylogenetic relationships within this assemblage are poorly understood. Herein, we present a hypothesis of the generic relationships of this group based on Bayesian inference analyses of two nuclear introns and the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. The level of phylogenetic congruence between the individual genes has been investigated utilizing Bayes factors. We also explore how changes in the substitution models affected the observed incongruence between partitions of our data set. Results The phylogenetic analysis supports both novel relationships, as well as traditional groupings. Among the more interesting novel relationship suggested is that the Terenura antwrens, the wing-banded antbird (Myrmornis torquata, the spot-winged antshrike (Pygiptila stellaris and the russet antshrike (Thamnistes anabatinus are sisters to all other typical antbirds. The remaining genera fall into two major clades. The first includes antshrikes, antvireos and the Herpsilochmus antwrens, while the second clade consists of most antwren genera, the Myrmeciza antbirds, the "professional" ant-following antbirds, and allied species. Our results also support previously suggested polyphyly of Myrmotherula antwrens and Myrmeciza antbirds. The tests of phylogenetic incongruence, using Bayes factors, clearly suggests that allowing the gene partitions to have separate topology parameters clearly increased the model likelihood. However, changing a component of the nucleotide substitution model had much higher impact on the model likelihood. Conclusions The phylogenetic results are in broad agreement with traditional classification of the typical antbirds, but some relationships are unexpected based on external morphology. In these cases their true affinities may have been obscured by convergent evolution and
Edwin O. Willis
Full Text Available Antbirds of the genera Myrmeciza (including Sipia and Myrmoborus, Gymnocichla, and Sclateria hop near or on the ground in fairly dense vegetation, "pounding" their tails downward. Where dense understory vegetation is widespread and ants move in it for long distances, certain of these antbirds become regular ant followers: M. immaculata and M. fortis in cluttered moist foothill forest from Costa Rica to upper Amazonia; Gymnocichla nudiceps in moist cluttered second growth of Central America to Colombia. Where the forest understory is more open, Myrmeciza species follow ants mainly in cluttered patches: M. exsul in lowland forest west of the Andes, M. myotherina east of the Andes. Myrmeciza or relatives that specialize on water-edge or very dense zones rarely follow ants.
Edwin O. Willis
Full Text Available Cercomacra and Schistocichla antbirds (Formicariidae favor dense foliage and seldom follow army ants for flushed prey, since the ants move through open forest understory as well as through dense zones. Two other lineages, the Drymophila-Hypocnemis lineage (of dense woodland understory and the Formicivora lineage (of dense bushes in dry or semiopen zones, also cannot follow ants regularly through open forest understory.
Schleuning, Matthias; Farwig, Nina; Peters, Marcell K.; Bergsdorf, Thomas; Bleher, Bärbel; Brandl, Roland; Dalitz, Helmut; Fischer, Georg; Freund, Wolfram; Gikungu, Mary W.; Hagen, Melanie; Garcia, Francisco Hita; Kagezi, Godfrey H.; Kaib, Manfred; Kraemer, Manfred; Lung, Tobias; Schaab, Gertrud; Templin, Mathias; Uster, Dana; Wägele, J. Wolfgang; Böhning-Gaese, Katrin
Forest fragmentation and selective logging are two main drivers of global environmental change and modify biodiversity and environmental conditions in many tropical forests. The consequences of these changes for the functioning of tropical forest ecosystems have rarely been explored in a comprehensive approach. In a Kenyan rainforest, we studied six animal-mediated ecosystem processes and recorded species richness and community composition of all animal taxa involved in these processes. We used linear models and a formal meta-analysis to test whether forest fragmentation and selective logging affected ecosystem processes and biodiversity and used structural equation models to disentangle direct from biodiversity-related indirect effects of human disturbance on multiple ecosystem processes. Fragmentation increased decomposition and reduced antbird predation, while selective logging consistently increased pollination, seed dispersal and army-ant raiding. Fragmentation modified species richness or community composition of five taxa, whereas selective logging did not affect any component of biodiversity. Changes in the abundance of functionally important species were related to lower predation by antbirds and higher decomposition rates in small forest fragments. The positive effects of selective logging on bee pollination, bird seed dispersal and army-ant raiding were direct, i.e. not related to changes in biodiversity, and were probably due to behavioural changes of these highly mobile animal taxa. We conclude that animal-mediated ecosystem processes respond in distinct ways to different types of human disturbance in Kakamega Forest. Our findings suggest that forest fragmentation affects ecosystem processes indirectly by changes in biodiversity, whereas selective logging influences processes directly by modifying local environmental conditions and resource distributions. The positive to neutral effects of selective logging on ecosystem processes show that the
Moyle, R.G.; Chesser, R.T.; Brumfield, R.T.; Tello, J.G.; Marchese, D.J.; Cracraft, J.
The infraorder Furnariides is a diverse group of suboscine passerine birds comprising a substantial component of the Neotropical avifauna. The included species encompass a broad array of morphologies and behaviours, making them appealing for evolutionary studies, but the size of the group (ca. 600 species) has limited well-sampled higher-level phylogenetic studies. Using DNA sequence data from the nuclear RAG-1 and RAG-2 exons, we undertook a phylogenetic analysis of the Furnariides sampling 124 (more than 88%) of the genera. Basal relationships among family-level taxa differed depending on phylogenetic method, but all topologies had little nodal support, mirroring the results from earlier studies in which discerning relationships at the base of the radiation was also difficult. In contrast, branch support for family-rank taxa and for many relationships within those clades was generally high. Our results support the Melanopareidae and Grallariidae as distinct from the Rhinocryptidae and Formicariidae, respectively. Within the Furnariides our data contradict some recent phylogenetic hypotheses and suggest that further study is needed to resolve these discrepancies. Of the few genera represented by multiple species, several were not monophyletic, indicating that additional systematic work remains within furnariine families and must include dense taxon sampling. We use this study as a basis for proposing a new phylogenetic classification for the group and in the process erect new family-group names for clades having high branch support across methods. ?? 2009 The Willi Hennig Society.
D. F. Perrella
Full Text Available Abstract The Thamnophilidae are one of the most speciose Neotropical bird families, yet aspects of their natural history remain poorly documented. Here we provide information on breeding phenology, the length of incubation and nestling periods, parental care, and nesting success of the Star-throated Antwren, Rhopias gularis, an Atlantic Forest endemic. The data are discussed in light of life history theories. We found 27 active nests during two breeding seasons (2013/2014 and 2014/2015 at Carlos Botelho State Park in southeastern Brazil. Nesting activities were observed from September to January. Incubation and nestling periods lasted 16.8 ± 0.6 and 11.0 ± 0.86 days, respectively, as with most other antbirds. Males and females shared equally in incubation and nestling provisioning. The small clutch size of two eggs is that most commonly found in tropical birds and is hypothesized to have evolved due to increased nest predation rates. However, our data was not consistent with this hypothesis as the nest survival probability was high (57%. This is one of only a handful of studies that provide comprehensive information on the breeding biology of a Thamnophilid species in undisturbed habitat.
Paul R Martin
Full Text Available Body size has long been recognized to play a key role in shaping species interactions. For example, while small species thrive in a diversity of environments, they typically lose aggressive contests for resources with larger species. However, numerous examples exist of smaller species dominating larger species during aggressive interactions, suggesting that the evolution of traits can allow species to overcome the competitive disadvantage of small size. If these traits accumulate as lineages diverge, then the advantage of large size in interspecific aggressive interactions should decline with increased evolutionary distance. We tested this hypothesis using data on the outcomes of 23,362 aggressive interactions among 246 bird species pairs involving vultures at carcasses, hummingbirds at nectar sources, and antbirds and woodcreepers at army ant swarms. We found the advantage of large size declined as species became more evolutionarily divergent, and smaller species were more likely to dominate aggressive contests when interacting with more distantly-related species. These results appear to be caused by both the evolution of traits in smaller species that enhanced their abilities in aggressive contests, and the evolution of traits in larger species that were adaptive for other functions, but compromised their abilities to compete aggressively. Specific traits that may provide advantages to small species in aggressive interactions included well-developed leg musculature and talons, enhanced flight acceleration and maneuverability, novel fighting behaviors, and traits associated with aggression, such as testosterone and muscle development. Traits that may have hindered larger species in aggressive interactions included the evolution of morphologies for tree trunk foraging that compromised performance in aggressive contests away from trunks, and the evolution of migration. Overall, our results suggest that fundamental trade-offs, such as those
Stiles Hurd Frank Galfierd
Full Text Available Using sight and auditory records made during extensive observations, supplemented by mist-net captures and tape recordings, we made an inventory of the birds of three sites differing in elevation and degree of human transformation of the landscape, in the Serranía de las Quinchas in the middle Magdalena valley of Colombia. We estimated per cent cover of different habitat types in each site and abundances of birds in each, based upon encounter frequencies, and developed an ecological classification of the birds that emphasized their degrees of association with primary, disturbed or manmade habitats. With 10-1 3 field days per site and a total of 833 birds captured in 1083 net-hours, we recorded a total of 308 species in the studv area. The form of the species accumulation curves and distributions of abundances indicated that the samples from the three sites were comparable. The numbers and abundances of species in different ecological categories varied in accord with the representation of the different habitat types between sites; the two sites with the largest extensions of primary forest had greater species richness. The majority of forest-restricted species occurred at a single site; on average, the most generalized species with respect to tree cover occured in two or more sites; and species of open habitats occurred in one site (elevation specialists or all three. Most species were breeding in April, also the best month for auditory records. The suboscine passerines of the suborder Furnarii (antbirds, ovenbirds and allies include the largest single group of forest- restricted species which could serve as an indicator of the state of conservation of forest habitat, provided the appropriate species are chosen - most families include species with diverse habitat requirements. The scarcity or absence of several groups subject to hunting pressure was noteworthy in an otherwise healthy forest avifauna. The known or suspected presence of several