La Selva Biological Station

Puerto Limón, Costa Rica

La Selva Biological Station

Puerto Limón, Costa Rica
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Haber W.A.,Apdo. 50 5655 | Wagner D.L.,University of Connecticut | De La Rosa C.,La Selva Biological Station
Zootaxa | Year: 2015

We describe a new species, Erythrodiplax laselva (Libellulidae), that breeds in bromeliads and Cochliostema (Commelinaceae) in the eastern lowlands of Costa Rica. The closest known relative is thought to be E. castanea, widespread in Central and South America, and not E. bromeliicola, which is known to breed in bromeliads in Cuba and Jamaica. The male, female, genitalia, and larva are described and illustrated. Copyright © 2015 Magnolia Press.


PubMed | Malaysian Forest Research Institute, MUSE Science Museum of Trento, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and 7 more.
Type: | Journal: Nature communications | Year: 2016

Defaunation is causing declines of large-seeded animal-dispersed trees in tropical forests worldwide, but whether and how these declines will affect carbon storage across this biome is unclear. Here we show, using a pan-tropical data set, that simulated declines of large-seeded animal-dispersed trees have contrasting effects on aboveground carbon stocks across Earths tropical forests. In our simulations, African, American and South Asian forests, which have high proportions of animal-dispersed species, consistently show carbon losses (2-12%), but Southeast Asian and Australian forests, where there are more abiotically dispersed species, show little to no carbon losses or marginal gains (1%). These patterns result primarily from changes in wood volume, and are underlain by consistent relationships in our empirical data (2,100 species), wherein, large-seeded animal-dispersed species are larger as adults than small-seeded animal-dispersed species, but are smaller than abiotically dispersed species. Thus, floristic differences and distinct dispersal mode-seed size-adult size combinations can drive contrasting regional responses to defaunation.


Ahumada J.A.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Silva C.E.F.,National Institute of Amazonian Research | Gajapersad K.,Conservation International Suriname | Hallam C.,Wildlife Conservation Society | And 11 more authors.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2011

Terrestrial mammals are a key component of tropical forest communities as indicators of ecosystem health and providers of important ecosystem services. However, there is little quantitative information about how they change with local, regional and global threats. In this paper, the first standardized pantropical forest terrestrial mammal community study, we examine several aspects of terrestrial mammal species and community diversity (species richness, species diversity, evenness, dominance, functional diversity and community structure) at seven sites around the globe using a single standardized camera trapping methodology approach. The sites-located in Uganda, Tanzania, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Suriname, Brazil and Costa Rica-are surrounded by different landscape configurations, from continuous forests to highly fragmented forests. We obtained more than 51 000 images and detected 105 species of mammals with a total sampling effort of 12 687 camera trap days. We find thatmammal communities from highly fragmented sites have lower species richness, species diversity, functional diversity and higher dominance when compared with sites in partially fragmented and continuous forest. We emphasize the importance of standardized camera trapping approaches for obtaining baselines for monitoring forest mammal communities so as to adequately understand the effect of global, regional and local threats and appropriately inform conservation actions. © 2011 The Royal Society.


Feeley K.J.,Florida International University | Feeley K.J.,Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden | Hurtado J.,La Selva Biological Station | Saatchi S.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory | And 3 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2013

Species are predicted to shift their distributions upslope or poleward in response to global warming. This prediction is supported by a growing number of studies documenting species migrations in temperate systems but remains poorly tested for tropical species, and especially for tropical plant species. We analyzed changes in tree species composition in a network of 10 annually censused 1-ha plots spanning an altitudinal gradient of 70-2800 m elevation in Costa Rica. Specifically, we combined plot data with herbarium records (accessed through GBIF) to test if the plots' community temperature scores (CTS, average thermal mean of constituent species weighted by basal area) have increased over the past decade as is predicted by climate-driven species migrations. In addition, we quantified the contributions of stem growth, recruitment, and mortality to the observed patterns. Supporting our a priori hypothesis of upward species migrations, we found that there have been consistent directional shifts in the composition of the plots, such that the relative abundance of lowland species, and hence CTS, increased in 90% of plots. The rate of the observed compositional shifts corresponds to a mean thermal migration rate (TMR) of 0.0065 °C yr-1 (95% CI = 0.0005-0.0132 °C yr-1). While the overall TMR is slower than predicted based on concurrent regional warming of 0.0167 °C yr-1, migrations were on pace with warming in 4 of the 10 plots. The observed shifts in composition were driven primarily by mortality events (i.e., the disproportionate death of highland vs. lowland species), suggesting that individuals of many tropical tree species will not be able to tolerate future warming and thus their persistence in the face of climate change will depend on successful migrations. Unfortunately, in Costa Rica and elsewhere, land area inevitably decreases at higher elevations; hence, even species that are able to migrate successfully will face heightened risks of extinction. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Ahumada J.A.,Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans | Hurtado J.,La Selva Biological Station | Lizcano D.,University of Pamplona
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Reducing the loss of biodiversity is key to ensure the future well being of the planet. Indicators to measure the state of biodiversity should come from primary data that are collected using consistent field methods across several sites, longitudinal, and derived using sound statistical methods that correct for observation/detection bias. In this paper we analyze camera trap data collected between 2008 and 2012 at a site in Costa Rica (Volcan Barva transect) as part of an ongoing tropical forest global monitoring network (Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network). We estimated occupancy dynamics for 13 species of mammals, using a hierarchical modeling approach. We calculated detection-corrected species richness and the Wildlife Picture Index, a promising new indicator derived from camera trap data that measures changes in biodiversity from the occupancy estimates of individual species. Our results show that 3 out of 13 species showed significant declines in occupancy over 5 years (lowland paca, Central American agouti, nine-banded armadillo). We hypothesize that hunting, competition and/or increased predation for paca and agouti might explain these patterns. Species richness and the Wildlife Picture Index are relatively stable at the site, but small herbivores that are hunted showed a decline in diversity of about 25%. We demonstrate the usefulness of longitudinal camera trap deployments coupled with modern statistical methods and advocate for the use of this approach in monitoring and developing global and national indicators for biodiversity change. © 2013 Ahumada et al.


Asao S.,Colorado State University | Bedoya-Arrieta R.,La Selva Biological Station | Ryan M.G.,Colorado State University | Ryan M.G.,U.S. Department of Agriculture
Tree Physiology | Year: 2015

As tropical forests respond to environmental change, autotrophic respiration may consume a greater proportion of carbon fixed in photosynthesis at the expense of growth, potentially turning the forests into a carbon source. Predicting such a response requires that we measure and place autotrophic respiration in a complete carbon budget, but extrapolating measurements of autotrophic respiration from chambers to ecosystem remains a challenge. High plant species diversity and complex canopy structure may cause respiration rates to vary and measurements that do not account for this complexity may introduce bias in extrapolation more detrimental than uncertainty. Using experimental plantations of four native tree species with two canopy layers, we examined whether species and canopy layers vary in foliar respiration and wood CO2 efflux and whether the variation relates to commonly used scalars of mass, nitrogen (N), photosynthetic capacity and wood size. Foliar respiration rate varied threefold between canopy layers, ∼0.74 μmol m-2 s-1 in the overstory and ∼0.25 μmol m-2 s-1 in the understory, but little among species. Leaf mass per area, N and photosynthetic capacity explained some of the variation, but height explained more. Chamber measurements of foliar respiration thus can be extrapolated to the canopy with rates and leaf area specific to each canopy layer or height class. If area-based rates are sampled across canopy layers, the area-based rate may be regressed against leaf mass per area to derive the slope (per mass rate) to extrapolate to the canopy using the total leaf mass. Wood CO2 efflux varied 1.0-1.6 μmol m-2 s-1 for overstory trees and 0.6-0.9 μmol m-2 s-1 for understory species. The variation in wood CO2 efflux rate was mostly related to wood size, and little to species, canopy layer or height. Mean wood CO2 efflux rate per surface area, derived by regressing CO2 efflux per mass against the ratio of surface area to mass, can be extrapolated to the stand using total wood surface area. The temperature response of foliar respiration was similar for three of the four species, and wood CO2 efflux was similar between wet and dry seasons. For these species and this forest, vertical sampling may yield more accurate estimates than would temporal sampling. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Soley F.G.,University of Costa Rica | Soley F.G.,Macquarie University | Alvarado-Diaz I.,La Selva Biological Station
Naturwissenschaften | Year: 2011

The ability of nonhuman animals to project individual actions into the future is a hotly debated topic. We describe the caching behaviour of tayras (Eira barbara) based on direct observations in the field, pictures from camera traps and radio telemetry, providing evidence that these mustelids pick and cache unripe fruit for future consumption. This is the first reported case of harvesting of unripe fruits by a nonhuman animal. Ripe fruits are readily taken by a variety of animals, and tayras might benefit by securing a food source before strong competition takes place. Unripe climacteric fruits need to be harvested when mature to ensure that they continue their ripening process, and tayras accurately choose mature stages of these fruits for caching. Tayras cache both native (sapote) and non-native (plantain) fruits that differ in morphology and developmental timeframes, showing sophisticated cognitive ability that might involve highly developed learning abilities and/or prospective thinking. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.


Russell A.E.,Iowa State University | Raich J.W.,Iowa State University | Arrieta R.B.,La Selva Biological Station | Valverde-Barrantes O.,Kent State University | Gonzalez E.,University of Costa Rica
Ecological Applications | Year: 2010

In the moist tropical forest biome, which cycles carbon (C) rapidly and stores huge amounts of C, the impacts of individual species on C balances are not well known. In one of the earliest replicated experimental sites for investigating growth of native tropical trees, we examined traits of tree species in relation to their effects on forest C balances, mechanisms of influence, and consequences for C sequestration. The monodominant stands, established in abandoned pasture in 1988 at La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica, contained five species in a complete randomized block design. Native species were: Hieronyma alchorneoides, Pentaclethra macroloba, Virola koschnyi, and Vochysia guatemalensis. The exotic species was Pinus patula. By 16 years, the lack of differences among species in some attributes suggested strong abiotic control in this environment, where conditions are very favorable for growth. These attributes included aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP), averaging 11.7 Mg C·ha-1·yr-1 across species, and soil organic C (0-100 cm, 167 Mg C/ha). Other traits differed significantly, however, indicating some degree of biological control. In Vochysia plots, both aboveground biomass of 99 Mg C/ha, and belowground biomass of 20 Mg C/ha were 1.8 times that of Virola (P = 0.02 and 0.03, respectively). Differences among species in overstory biomass were not compensated by understory vegetation. Belowground NPP of 4.6 Mg C·ha -1·yr-1 in Hieronyma was 2.4 times that of Pinus (P < 0.01). Partitioning of NPP to belowground components in Hieronyma was more than double that of Pinus (P = 0.03). The canopy turnover rate in Hieronyma was 42% faster than that of Virola (P < 0.01). Carbon sequestration, highest in Vochysia (7.4 Mg C·ha-1·yr-1, P = 0.02), averaged 5.2 Mg C·ha-1·yr-1, close to the annual per capita fossil, fuel use in the United States of 5.3 Mg C Our results indicated that differences in species effects on forest C balances were related primarily to differences in growth rates, partitioning of C among biomass components, tissue turnover rates, and tissue chemistry. Inclusion of those biological attributes may be critical for robust modeling of C cycling across the moist tropical forest biome. © 2010 by the Ecological Society of America.


Clark D.B.,University of Missouri-St. Louis | Hurtado J.,La Selva Biological Station | Saatchi S.S.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Rapid biological changes are expected to occur on tropical elevational gradients as species migrate upslope or go extinct in the face of global warming. We established a series of 9 1-ha plots in old-growth tropical rainforest in Costa Rica along a 2700 m relief elevational gradient to carry out long-term monitoring of tropical rain forest structure, dynamics and tree growth. Within each plot we mapped, identified, and annually measured diameter for all woody individuals with stem diameters >10 cm for periods of 3-10 years. Wood species diversity peaked at 400-600 m and decreased substantially at higher elevations. Basal area and stem number varied by less than two-fold, with the exception of the 2800 m cloud forest summit, where basal area and stem number were approximately double that of lower sites. Canopy gaps extending to the forest floor accounted for <3% of microsites at all elevations. Height of highest crowns and the coefficient of variation of crown height both decreased with increasing elevation. Rates of turnover of individuals and of stand basal area decreased with elevation, but rates of diameter growth and stand basal area showed no simple relation to elevation. We discuss issues encountered in the design and implementation of this network of plots, including biased sampling, missing key meteorological and biomass data, and strategies for improving species-level research. Taking full advantage of the major research potential of tropical forest elevational transects will require sustaining and extending ground based studies, incorporation of new remotely-sensed data and data-acquisition platforms, and new funding models to support decadal research on these rapidly changing systems.


PubMed | University of Missouri-St. Louis, Jet Propulsion Laboratory and La Selva Biological Station
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

Rapid biological changes are expected to occur on tropical elevational gradients as species migrate upslope or go extinct in the face of global warming. We established a series of 9 1-ha plots in old-growth tropical rainforest in Costa Rica along a 2700 m relief elevational gradient to carry out long-term monitoring of tropical rain forest structure, dynamics and tree growth. Within each plot we mapped, identified, and annually measured diameter for all woody individuals with stem diameters >10 cm for periods of 3-10 years. Wood species diversity peaked at 400-600 m and decreased substantially at higher elevations. Basal area and stem number varied by less than two-fold, with the exception of the 2800 m cloud forest summit, where basal area and stem number were approximately double that of lower sites. Canopy gaps extending to the forest floor accounted for <3% of microsites at all elevations. Height of highest crowns and the coefficient of variation of crown height both decreased with increasing elevation. Rates of turnover of individuals and of stand basal area decreased with elevation, but rates of diameter growth and stand basal area showed no simple relation to elevation. We discuss issues encountered in the design and implementation of this network of plots, including biased sampling, missing key meteorological and biomass data, and strategies for improving species-level research. Taking full advantage of the major research potential of tropical forest elevational transects will require sustaining and extending ground based studies, incorporation of new remotely-sensed data and data-acquisition platforms, and new funding models to support decadal research on these rapidly-changing systems.

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