41 research outputs found

    Reproductive biology of two bombacaceous trees in the Brazilian Central Amazon

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    Studies were carried out on the reproductive biology of two bombacaceous trees (Pseudobombax munguba and Ceiba pentandra) which occur in the seasonally flooded areas of the white-water river basins ('varzea') in the Amazon region. The unique pollinator of P. munguba, which has nectarless flowers, is the large-sized phyllostomid bat Phyllostomus hastatus. In contrast, the flowers of C. pentandra are visited by a wide range of nocturnal (bats, marsupials, night-monkeys, hawk moths) and diurnal (bees, wasps, hummingbirds) animals, but only the phyllostomid bats, especially Phyllostomus hastatus and Phyllostomus discolor, play a relevant role in the pollination of this mass-flowering species. Both species appear to be self-incompatible since hand self-pollinated flowers always abscised 5-8 days after pollination, whereas a proportion of cross-pollinated flowers (20-29% in P. munguba; 17% in C. pentandra) formed fruit. However, analysis of fixed pistils using fluorescence microscopy revealed that in both species the self-pollen germinated normally on the stigma and the self-pollen tubes penetrated the ovules at the same rate as the cross-pollen tubes. Mixed-pollinated flowers (self- plus cross-pollen on the stigma) also set some fruits (9-14% in P. munguba; 9% in C. pentandra). Paternity analyses using isozyme genetic markers indicated that fruits resulting from controlled mixed-pollinations set a few selfed seeds (range of 0-28% in P. munguba; ca 2% in the studied tree of C. pentandra). The multilocus estimate of the outcrossing rate (tm) was calculated for P. munguba using data from two isozyme loci of 29 parent trees and 728 progenies. The population outcrossing estimation was high (tm = 0.948) suggesting that the breeding population is large and the level of inbreeding (both uniparental and biparental) is very low. The proportion of selfed-seeds produced by two neighbouring C. pentandra trees, which flowered simultaneously, was estimated using isozyme genetic markers at 9% and 28% respectively. It is considered that a high level of genetic load is the main factor responsible for the self-sterility and the predominant outcrossing mating system observed in both species. The number of lethal equivalents per zygote estimated for each was high: average of 13.8 (minimum 6.4) in the P. munguba population, and 12.3 for the single assessed individual of C. pentandra

    Extreme long-distance dispersal of the lowland tropical rainforest tree Ceiba pentandra L. (Malvaceae) in Africa and the Neotropics

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    Many tropical tree species occupy continental expanses of rainforest and flank dispersal barriers such as oceans and mountains. The role of long-distance dispersal in establishing the range of such species is poorly understood. In this study, we test vicariance hypotheses for range disjunctions in the rainforest tree Ceiba pentandra , which is naturally widespread across equatorial Africa and the Neotropics. Approximate molecular clocks were applied to nuclear ribosomal [ITS (internal transcribed spacer)] and chloroplast ( psb B- psb F) spacer DNA sampled from 12 Neotropical and five West African populations. The ITS ( N  = 5) and psb B- psb F ( N  = 2) haplotypes exhibited few nucleotide differences, and ITS and psb B- psb F haplotypes were shared by populations on both continents. The low levels of nucleotide divergence falsify vicariance explanations for transatlantic and cross-Andean range disjunctions. The study shows how extreme long-distance dispersal, via wind or marine currents, creates taxonomic similarities in the plant communities of Africa and the Neotropics.Peer Reviewedhttp://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/71417/1/j.1365-294X.2007.03341.x.pd

    Local hydrological conditions influence tree diversity and composition across the Amazon basin

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    Tree diversity and composition in Amazonia are known to be strongly determined by the water supplied by precipitation. Nevertheless, within the same climatic regime, water availability is modulated by local topography and soil characteristics (hereafter referred to as local hydrological conditions), varying from saturated and poorly drained to well-drained and potentially dry areas. While these conditions may be expected to influence species distribution, the impacts of local hydrological conditions on tree diversity and composition remain poorly understood at the whole Amazon basin scale. Using a dataset of 443 1-ha non-flooded forest plots distributed across the basin, we investigate how local hydrological conditions influence 1) tree alpha diversity, 2) the community-weighted wood density mean (CWM-wd) – a proxy for hydraulic resistance and 3) tree species composition. We find that the effect of local hydrological conditions on tree diversity depends on climate, being more evident in wetter forests, where diversity increases towards locations with well-drained soils. CWM-wd increased towards better drained soils in Southern and Western Amazonia. Tree species composition changed along local soil hydrological gradients in Central-Eastern, Western and Southern Amazonia, and those changes were correlated with changes in the mean wood density of plots. Our results suggest that local hydrological gradients filter species, influencing the diversity and composition of Amazonian forests. Overall, this study shows that the effect of local hydrological conditions is pervasive, extending over wide Amazonian regions, and reinforces the importance of accounting for local topography and hydrology to better understand the likely response and resilience of forests to increased frequency of extreme climate events and rising temperatures

    Estimating the global conservation status of more than 15,000 Amazonian tree species

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    Estimates of extinction risk for Amazonian plant and animal species are rare and not often incorporated into land-use policy and conservation planning. We overlay spatial distribution models with historical and projected deforestation to show that at least 36% and up to 57% of all Amazonian tree species are likely to qualify as globally threatened under International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List criteria. If confirmed, these results would increase the number of threatened plant species on Earth by 22%. We show that the trends observed in Amazonia apply to trees throughout the tropics, and we predict thatmost of the world’s >40,000 tropical tree species now qualify as globally threatened. A gap analysis suggests that existing Amazonian protected areas and indigenous territories will protect viable populations of most threatened species if these areas suffer no further degradation, highlighting the key roles that protected areas, indigenous peoples, and improved governance can play in preventing large-scale extinctions in the tropics in this century

    Estimating the global conservation status of more than 15,000 Amazonian tree species

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    Geographic patterns of tree dispersal modes in Amazonia and their ecological correlates

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    Aim: To investigate the geographic patterns and ecological correlates in the geographic distribution of the most common tree dispersal modes in Amazonia (endozoochory, synzoochory, anemochory and hydrochory). We examined if the proportional abundance of these dispersal modes could be explained by the availability of dispersal agents (disperser-availability hypothesis) and/or the availability of resources for constructing zoochorous fruits (resource-availability hypothesis). Time period: Tree-inventory plots established between 1934 and 2019. Major taxa studied: Trees with a diameter at breast height (DBH) ≥ 9.55 cm. Location: Amazonia, here defined as the lowland rain forests of the Amazon River basin and the Guiana Shield. Methods: We assigned dispersal modes to a total of 5433 species and morphospecies within 1877 tree-inventory plots across terra-firme, seasonally flooded, and permanently flooded forests. We investigated geographic patterns in the proportional abundance of dispersal modes. We performed an abundance-weighted mean pairwise distance (MPD) test and fit generalized linear models (GLMs) to explain the geographic distribution of dispersal modes. Results: Anemochory was significantly, positively associated with mean annual wind speed, and hydrochory was significantly higher in flooded forests. Dispersal modes did not consistently show significant associations with the availability of resources for constructing zoochorous fruits. A lower dissimilarity in dispersal modes, resulting from a higher dominance of endozoochory, occurred in terra-firme forests (excluding podzols) compared to flooded forests. Main conclusions: The disperser-availability hypothesis was well supported for abiotic dispersal modes (anemochory and hydrochory). The availability of resources for constructing zoochorous fruits seems an unlikely explanation for the distribution of dispersal modes in Amazonia. The association between frugivores and the proportional abundance of zoochory requires further research, as tree recruitment not only depends on dispersal vectors but also on conditions that favour or limit seedling recruitment across forest types

    Mapping density, diversity and species-richness of the Amazon tree flora

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    Using 2.046 botanically-inventoried tree plots across the largest tropical forest on Earth, we mapped tree species-diversity and tree species-richness at 0.1-degree resolution, and investigated drivers for diversity and richness. Using only location, stratified by forest type, as predictor, our spatial model, to the best of our knowledge, provides the most accurate map of tree diversity in Amazonia to date, explaining approximately 70% of the tree diversity and species-richness. Large soil-forest combinations determine a significant percentage of the variation in tree species-richness and tree alpha-diversity in Amazonian forest-plots. We suggest that the size and fragmentation of these systems drive their large-scale diversity patterns and hence local diversity. A model not using location but cumulative water deficit, tree density, and temperature seasonality explains 47% of the tree species-richness in the terra-firme forest in Amazonia. Over large areas across Amazonia, residuals of this relationship are small and poorly spatially structured, suggesting that much of the residual variation may be local. The Guyana Shield area has consistently negative residuals, showing that this area has lower tree species-richness than expected by our models. We provide extensive plot meta-data, including tree density, tree alpha-diversity and tree species-richness results and gridded maps at 0.1-degree resolution

    Consistent patterns of common species across tropical tree communities

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    Trees structure the Earth’s most biodiverse ecosystem, tropical forests. The vast number of tree species presents a formidable challenge to understanding these forests, including their response to environmental change, as very little is known about most tropical tree species. A focus on the common species may circumvent this challenge. Here we investigate abundance patterns of common tree species using inventory data on 1,003,805 trees with trunk diameters of at least 10 cm across 1,568 locations1,2,3,4,5,6 in closed-canopy, structurally intact old-growth tropical forests in Africa, Amazonia and Southeast Asia. We estimate that 2.2%, 2.2% and 2.3% of species comprise 50% of the tropical trees in these regions, respectively. Extrapolating across all closed-canopy tropical forests, we estimate that just 1,053 species comprise half of Earth’s 800 billion tropical trees with trunk diameters of at least 10 cm. Despite differing biogeographic, climatic and anthropogenic histories7, we find notably consistent patterns of common species and species abundance distributions across the continents. This suggests that fundamental mechanisms of tree community assembly may apply to all tropical forests. Resampling analyses show that the most common species are likely to belong to a manageable list of known species, enabling targeted efforts to understand their ecology. Although they do not detract from the importance of rare species, our results open new opportunities to understand the world’s most diverse forests, including modelling their response to environmental change, by focusing on the common species that constitute the majority of their trees.Publisher PDFPeer reviewe

    Unraveling Amazon tree community assembly using Maximum Information Entropy: a quantitative analysis of tropical forest ecology

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    In a time of rapid global change, the question of what determines patterns in species abundance distribution remains a priority for understanding the complex dynamics of ecosystems. The constrained maximization of information entropy provides a framework for the understanding of such complex systems dynamics by a quantitative analysis of important constraints via predictions using least biased probability distributions. We apply it to over two thousand hectares of Amazonian tree inventories across seven forest types and thirteen functional traits, representing major global axes of plant strategies. Results show that constraints formed by regional relative abundances of genera explain eight times more of local relative abundances than constraints based on directional selection for specific functional traits, although the latter does show clear signals of environmental dependency. These results provide a quantitative insight by inference from large-scale data using cross-disciplinary methods, furthering our understanding of ecological dynamics
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