Microhabitat structure and food availability modelling a small mammal assemblage in restored riparian forest remnants

Matheus R.J. Corrêa 1 , Yuri M. Bellagamba 1 , Adriele P. de Magalhães 1 , Joice P.V. Martins 1 , Antônio J. do R. Cruz 1 , Alessandra R. Kozovitz 1 , Maria C.T.B. Messias 1 ,  and Cristiano S. de Azevedo 1
  • 1 Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia de Biomas Tropicais, Biodiversidade, Evolução e Meio Ambiente, Instituto de Ciências Exatas e Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Campus Morro do Cruzeiro, CEP: 35400.000, Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Matheus R.J. Corrêa
  • Corresponding author
  • Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia de Biomas Tropicais, Biodiversidade, Evolução e Meio Ambiente, Instituto de Ciências Exatas e Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Campus Morro do Cruzeiro, CEP: 35400.000, Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil
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, Yuri M. Bellagamba
  • Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia de Biomas Tropicais, Biodiversidade, Evolução e Meio Ambiente, Instituto de Ciências Exatas e Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Campus Morro do Cruzeiro, CEP: 35400.000, Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil
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, Adriele P. de Magalhães
  • Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia de Biomas Tropicais, Biodiversidade, Evolução e Meio Ambiente, Instituto de Ciências Exatas e Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Campus Morro do Cruzeiro, CEP: 35400.000, Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil
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, Joice P.V. Martins
  • Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia de Biomas Tropicais, Biodiversidade, Evolução e Meio Ambiente, Instituto de Ciências Exatas e Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Campus Morro do Cruzeiro, CEP: 35400.000, Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil
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, Antônio J. do R. Cruz
  • Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia de Biomas Tropicais, Biodiversidade, Evolução e Meio Ambiente, Instituto de Ciências Exatas e Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Campus Morro do Cruzeiro, CEP: 35400.000, Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil
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, Alessandra R. Kozovitz
  • Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia de Biomas Tropicais, Biodiversidade, Evolução e Meio Ambiente, Instituto de Ciências Exatas e Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Campus Morro do Cruzeiro, CEP: 35400.000, Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil
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, Maria C.T.B. Messias
  • Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia de Biomas Tropicais, Biodiversidade, Evolução e Meio Ambiente, Instituto de Ciências Exatas e Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Campus Morro do Cruzeiro, CEP: 35400.000, Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil
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and Cristiano S. de Azevedo
  • Corresponding author
  • Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia de Biomas Tropicais, Biodiversidade, Evolução e Meio Ambiente, Instituto de Ciências Exatas e Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Campus Morro do Cruzeiro, CEP: 35400.000, Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil
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Abstract

Small mammal populations respond to environmental changes in secondary riparian forest remnants in different ways, depending on the influences of biotic and abiotic variables. The present study evaluated how habitat/microhabitat structure and food availability influence small mammal assemblages in restored riparian forest remnants. Pitfall traps disposed in three linear transects were used to collect small mammals during 9 months of field work. General linear models were built to test the hypothesis that microhabitat structure (litter biomass and type – leaves and branches) and food availability (richness of zoochoric tree species and arthropods) influence species richness and abundance of small mammals. Three hundred and eighty-two individuals belonging to 14 species were captured. Biomass and type of litter (leaves or branches) provided greater structural to microhabitats, allowing the coexistence of morphologically similar species. Besides, food availability influenced foraging strategies of marsupials, forcing them to use the forest floor when zoochoric plants were rare. Thus, litter structure and food availability, allowing spatial segregation of the small mammal species using the forest fragments. We concluded that the maintenance of small mammals and their ecosystem services in restored riparian forests are dependent on habitat structure and food availability, thus, litter and zoochoric plants should be conserved in riparian forest fragments, especially those reforested.

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Mammalia is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the inventory, analysis and interpretation of Mammalian diversity. It publishes original results on all aspects of systematics (comparative, functional and evolutionary morphology; morphometrics; phylogeny; biogeography; taxonomy and nomenclature), biology, ecology and conservation of mammals.

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