Marine Sciences Seminar
|Start:||Friday, Dec. 11, 2009, 01:00PM|
|End:||Friday, Dec. 11, 2009, 03:00PM|
|Venue:||Marine Sciences Building, Room 105, BBC|
Dr. Ken Feeley – Assistant Professor of Tropical Plant Conservation Biology - FIU - "Ecological collapse in forest fragments: trophic drivers of species loss from man-made islands in Lago Guri, Venezuela"
As a result of ongoing deforestation and land conversion, over half of the world’s tropical forests have already been lost. An additional 1 – 4% are being destroyed each year. What often remains is a complex patchwork of isolated forest fragments embedded within matrixes of crops, pastures, or otherwise modified lands. While habitat fragmentation is widely recognized as one of the leading causes of species extinctions, the mechanisms underlying these extinctions remain poorly resolved. Dr. Feeley will report results from a series of experimental and observational studies he conducted to investigate the effects of habitat fragmentation on tropical floral and faunal communities using recently isolated land-bridge islands in Lago Guri, Venezuela, as a model system. These studies focused on understanding the indirect effects of fragmentation, specifically looking at the impacts of altered herbivore abundances on ecosystem processes and how these effects can ramify through the food web to affect the diversity and persistence of other taxonomic groups. The results of these studies have important implications for our understanding of the mechanisms through which habitat loss impacts tropical forest systems and the potential for conservation strategies to mitigate species losses.