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PLoS One ; 19(1): e0295258, 2024.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38206918


Many plant species in high montane ecosystems rely on animal pollination for sexual reproduction, however, our understanding of plant-pollinator interactions in tropical montane habitats is still limited. We compared species diversity and composition of blooming plants and floral visitors, and the structure of plant-floral visitor networks between the Montane Forest and Paramo ecosystems in Costa Rica. We also studied the influence of seasonality on species composition and interaction structure. Given the severe climatic conditions experienced by organisms in habitats above treeline, we expected lower plant and insect richness, as well as less specialized and smaller pollination networks in the Paramo than in Montane Forest where climatic conditions are milder and understory plants are better protected. Accordingly, we found that blooming plants and floral visitor species richness was higher in the Montane Forest than in the Paramo, and in both ecosystems species richness of blooming plants and floral visitors was higher in the rainy season than in the dry season. Interaction networks in the Paramo were smaller and more nested, with lower levels of specialization and modularity than those in the Montane Forest, but there were no seasonal differences within either ecosystem. Beta diversity analyses indicate that differences between ecosystems are likely explained by species turnover, whereas within the Montane Forest differences between seasons are more likely explained by the rewiring of interactions. Results indicate that the decrease in species diversity with elevation affects network structure, increasing nestedness and reducing specialization and modularity.

Ecossistema , Flores , Animais , Estações do Ano , Costa Rica , Plantas , Polinização
PeerJ ; 11: e14445, 2023.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-36650840


The Costa Rican Paramo is a unique ecosystem with high levels of endemism that is geographically isolated from the Andean Paramos. Paramo ecosystems occur above Montane Forests, below the permanent snow level, and their vegetation differs notably from that of adjacent Montane Forests. We compared the composition and beta diversity of blooming plant species using phenological data from functional plant groups (i.e., insect-visited, bird-visited and insect + bird-visited plants) between a Paramo and a Montane Forest site in Costa Rica and analyzed seasonal changes in blooming plant diversity between the rainy and dry seasons. Species richness was higher in the Montane Forest for all plant categories, except for insect-visited plants, which was higher in the Paramo. Beta diversity and blooming plant composition differed between both ecosystems and seasons. Differences in species richness and beta diversity between Paramo and the adjacent Montane Forest are likely the result of dispersal events that occurred during the last glacial period and subsequent isolation, as climate turned to tropical conditions after the Pleistocene, and to stressful abiotic conditions in the Paramo ecosystem that limit species establishment. Differences in blooming plant composition between both ecosystems and seasons are likely attributed to differential effects of climatic cues triggering the flowering events in each ecosystem, but phylogenetic conservatism cannot be discarded. Analyses of species composition and richness based on flowering phenology data are useful to evaluate potential floral resources for floral visitors (insects and birds) and how these resources change spatially and temporarily in endangered ecosystems such as the Paramo.

Ecossistema , Florestas , Costa Rica , Filogenia , Plantas
AoB Plants ; 15(1): plac060, 2023 Jan.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-36654989


Gene flow connects populations and is necessary to sustain effective population sizes, and genetic diversity. In the Lower Central American (LCA) region, the complex topographic and climatic history have produced a wide variety of habitats resulting in high biodiversity. Phylogeographic studies of plants from this area are scarce, and to date none have been conducted on palms. We used SSR and chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) markers to study the genetic diversity and structure of populations of the understory palm Chamaedorea tepejilote in Costa Rica. We found that populations of C. tepejilote have moderate to high nuclear simple sequence repeat (SSR) genetic diversity, likely due to large population sizes and its outcrossing mating system. Habitat loss and fragmentation may have contributed to increased genetic structure within slopes. High-elevation mountain ranges appeared to be a significant barrier for gene flow among populations in the Caribbean and Pacific slopes; however, ranges are permeable through low-elevation passes. In contrast, most populations had a single distinct cpDNA haplotype, supporting the hypothesis of several isolated populations that experienced decline that likely resulted in eroded cytoplasmic genetic diversity within populations. The haplotype network and Bayesian analysis linked populations in the Caribbean and the southern Pacific coast, suggesting that gene flow between Pacific and Caribbean populations may have occurred through the southern extreme of the Talamanca Mountain range in Panama, a colonization pathway not previously suggested for LCA plants. This is one of the first phylogeographic studies conducted on tropical palms in the LCA region and the first in the genus Chamaedorea, which sheds light on possible gene flow and dispersal patterns of C. tepejilote in Costa Rica. Our results also highlight the importance of mountain ranges on shaping gene flow patterns of Neotropical plants.

Sci Rep ; 12(1): 6054, 2022 04 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35411055


Gene flow in birds can be affected by urbanization depending on natural history traits and adaptability to habitat change. Contrasting results can be expected when comparing species with opposite resilience to urbanization. In this study, we assessed genetic diversity and structure for two bird species, the urban avoider white-eared ground-sparrow, Melozone leucotis, and the urban dweller house wren Troglodytes aedon. We used seven microsatellite loci and sampled five locations with differing levels of urbanization in Costa Rica. We found considerably higher genetic structure in white-eared ground-sparrows than in house wrens. Circuit theory analyses proved a higher isolation from urban resistance for the white-eared ground-sparrow than for house wrens. These results support that urbanization is a significant barrier for gene flow in urban avoiders, in contrast to urban dweller species that showed little to no impact. Differences could be attributed to a higher plasticity in habitat and nesting site preferences in the house wren, and significant dispersal limitation for the white-eared ground-sparrow. These results emphasize the need for conservation strategies towards white-eared ground-sparrows and other urban avoider species whose habitat and connectivity have been reduced by the recent urban expansion.

Pardais , Urbanização , Animais , Ecossistema , Fluxo Gênico , Repetições de Microssatélites/genética , Pardais/genética
Mol Biol Rep ; 47(8): 6385-6391, 2020 Aug.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32557191


Palms are important components of tropical and subtropical ecosystems and have even been considered keystone plant resources that can support a large array of pollinators and frugivores. Palms are also economically important. Chamaedorea tepejilote Liebm. is a widely distributed palm with important bioeconomic potential for food, traditional medicine and ornamental purposes. Eighteen microsatellite primers were developed for C. tepejilote. Polymorphism and genetic diversity were evaluated in 71 individuals from four populations in Costa Rica. Thirteen loci were polymorphic and the number of alleles in the pooled sample ranged between 5 and 20, the average number of alleles was 10.61. Average observed heterozygosity was Ho = 0.607 ± 0.04 (SD) and the average expected heterozygosity was He = 0.600 ± 0.03. The exclusion probability of the combined 13 loci, was PE = 0.998. We tested transferability of the markers in the congeneric C. costaricana, C. pinnantifrons and C. macrospadix. Dioecious species are common in tropical forests; however, few studies have analyzed gene flow patterns in these species. The markers developed for C. tepejilote are an important tool to quantify gene flow patterns and the distribution of genetic diversity within populations. This information will be useful for the development of conservation and management practices of this dioecious tropical palm species.

Arecaceae/genética , Repetições de Microssatélites , Costa Rica , Ecossistema , Fluxo Gênico , Genes de Plantas , Variação Genética , Heterozigoto , Polimorfismo Genético
Evol Dev ; 21(6): 311-319, 2019 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31508876


Large part of the morphological diversity observed across taxa is attributed to the effect of sexual selection; and the static allometry of these structures vary largely from highly positive to negative, depending on their function, and position on the animal's body. In arthropods, information of how sexually selected contact and reaching male structures use during courtship scale on body size is scarce. We tested two complementary hypotheses: the reaching structure hypothesis and the contact-function hypothesis, in the spider Kukulcania hibernalis. We used the length of the proximal segments of the male pedipalp to test the reaching structure hypothesis, and claw features to test the contact-function hypothesis. Our results support both hypotheses. Small males have disproportionally longer pedipalps (highly negative allometry) than large males, increasing the probability of small-bodied males to inseminate even large females. We also found that both distal contact and noncontact homologous structures scaled shallow (slope < 1) on body size, but allometry was significantly shallower for contact than for noncontact distal structures, providing support to the contact-function hypothesis, and allowing teasing apart the effect of sexual selection on distal contact structures with dual functions.

Estruturas Animais/crescimento & desenvolvimento , Caracteres Sexuais , Aranhas/crescimento & desenvolvimento , Animais , Tamanho Corporal , Feminino , Masculino