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Rector, PA, United States

Oppel S.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | Mack A.L.,Powdermill Nature Reserve

Most tropical trees produce fleshy fruits that attract frugivores that disperse their seeds. Early demography and distribution for these tree species depend on the effects of frugivores and their behavior. Anthropogenic changes that affect frugivore communities could ultimately result in changes in tree distribution and population demography. We studied the frugivore assemblage at 38 fruiting Elmerrillia tsiampaca, a rain forest canopy tree species in Papua New Guinea. Elmerrillia tsiampaca is an important resource for frugivorous birds at our study site because it produces abundant lipid-rich fruits at a time of low fruit availability. We classified avian frugivores into functional disperser groups and quantified visitation rates and behavior at trees during 56 canopy and 35 ground observation periods. We tested predictions derived from other studies of plant-frugivore interactions with this little-studied frugivore assemblage in an undisturbed rain forest. Elmerrillia tsiampaca fruits were consumed by 26 bird species, but most seeds were removed by eight species. The most important visitors (Columbidae, Paradisaeidae and Rhyticeros plicatus) were of a larger size than predicted based on diaspore size. Columbidae efficiently exploited the structurally protected fruit, which was inconsistent with other studies in New Guinea where structurally protected fruits were predominantly consumed by Paradisaeidae. Birds vulnerable to predation foraged for short time periods, consistent with the hypothesis that predator avoidance enhances seed dispersal. We identified seven functional disperser groups, indicating there is little redundancy in disperser groups among the regular and frequent visitors to this tropical rain forest tree species. © 2009 The Author(s). Journal compilation © 2009 by The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. Source

Sagata K.,PNG Institute of Biological Research | Mack A.L.,Powdermill Nature Reserve | Wright D.D.,PNG Institute of Biological Research | Lester P.J.,Victoria University of Wellington
Insectes Sociaux

Tropical ant communities are frequently diverse, but highly patchy in nature. The availability of suitable nest sites may be a regulating force in structuring litter ant communities. Our aim was to examine ant resource utilization in naturally occurring twigs, and to modify the availability of these resources in order to quantify the influence of nest availability on ant communities in a Papua New Guinean forest. First, we compared ant communities that assemble in artificial twigs (drilled, wooden dowels), naturally occurring twigs, and the leaf litter. A total of 55 ant species were captured: 33 from the leaf litter, 29 from naturally occurring twigs, and only 12 from artificial nests. Significantly different communities formed in each of the three nest types. Second, we examined how the density of natural or artificial nest material influenced the ant abundance and species richness. Plots had between 5 and 96 potential nest sites. An average of only 11.2% of these twigs was colonized. Both species richness and the total abundance of adult ants were significantly positively correlated with increasing naturally occurring twig density. Conversely, increasing the availability of artificial nests from 5 to 20 per plot had no significant effect on the proportion of artificial nests colonized, species richness, or the colony size. We observed that ant species richness and abundance increased with natural twig density, at least for naturally occurring communities. But why so many twigs remain vacant and available for ant colonization remains unknown. Other biotic and abiotic factors likely influence the use of nesting habitat in these ant communities. © International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI) 2010. Source

Pearce T.A.,Carnegie Museum of Natural History | Mulvihill R.S.,Powdermill Nature Reserve | Porter K.A.,National Aviary

We describe the discovery of two slugs, Arion subfusciis and Deroceras reticulatum, on living adult birds captured for banding at Powdermill Nature Reserve, Rector, Pennsylvania. The presence of slugs on birds suggests that bird transport might play a role in slug dispersal. Source

Deiner K.,California Academy of Sciences | Deiner K.,University of California at Davis | Lemmon A.R.,Florida State University | Mack A.L.,Powdermill Nature Reserve | And 3 more authors.

New Guinea is a biologically diverse island, with a unique geologic history and topography that has likely played a role in the evolution of species. Few island-wide studies, however, have examined the phylogeographic history of lowland species. The objective of this study was to examine patterns of phylogeographic variation of a common and widespread New Guinean bird species (Colluricincla megarhyncha). Specifically, we test the mechanisms hypothesized to cause geographic and genetic variation (e.g., vicariance, isolation by distance and founder-effect with dispersal). To accomplish this, we surveyed three regions of the mitochondrial genome and a nuclear intron and assessed differences among 23 of the 30 described subspecies from throughout their range. We found support for eight highly divergent lineages within C. megarhyncha. Genetic lineages were found within continuous lowland habitat or on smaller islands, but all individuals within clades were not necessarily structured by predicted biogeographic barriers. There was some evidence of isolation by distance and potential founder-effects. Mitochondrial DNA sequence divergence among lineages was at a level often observed among different species or even genera of birds (5-11%), suggesting lineages within regions have been isolated for long periods of time. When topographical barriers were associated with divergence patterns, the estimated divergence date for the clade coincided with the estimated time of barrier formation. We also found that dispersal distance and range size are positively correlated across lineages. Evidence from this research suggests that different phylogeographic mechanisms concurrently structure lineages of C. megarhyncha and are not mutually exclusive. These lineages are a result of evolutionary forces acting at different temporal and spatial scales concordant with New Guinea's geological history. © 2011 Deiner et al. Source

Calinger K.,Ohio State University | Calhoon E.,Ohio State University | Chang H.-C.,Ohio State University | Whitacre J.,Powdermill Nature Reserve | And 7 more authors.

Anthropogenic disturbances often change ecological communities and provide opportunities for non-native species invasion. Understanding the impacts of disturbances on species invasion is therefore crucial for invasive species management. We used generalized linear mixed effects models to explore the influence of land-use history and distance to roads on the occurrence and abundance of two invasive plant species (Rosa multiflora and Berberis thunbergii) in a 900-ha deciduous forest in the eastern U.S.A., the Powdermill Nature Reserve. Although much of the reserve has been continuously forested since at least 1939, aerial photos revealed a variety of land-uses since then including agriculture, mining, logging, and development. By 2008, both R. multiflora and B. thunbergii were widespread throughout the reserve (occurring in 24% and 13% of 4417 10-m diameter regularly-placed vegetation plots, respectively) with occurrence and abundance of each varying significantly with land-use history. Rosa multiflora was more likely to occur in historically farmed, mined, logged or developed plots than in plots that remained forested, (log odds of 1.8 to 3.0); Berberis thunbergii was more likely to occur in plots with agricultural, mining, or logging history than in plots without disturbance (log odds of 1.4 to 2.1). Mining, logging, and agriculture increased the probability that R. multiflora had >10% cover while only past agriculture was related to cover of B. thunbergii. Proximity to roads was positively correlated with the occurrence of R. multiflora (a 0.26 increase in the log odds for every 1-m closer) but not B. thunbergii, and roads had no impact on the abundance of either species. Our results indicated that a wide variety of disturbances may aid the introduction of invasive species into new habitats, while high-impact disturbances such as agriculture and mining increase the likelihood of high abundance post-introduction. © 2015 Calinger et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Source

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