Diadema

Theme

DIssecting Amazonian Diversity by Enhancing a Multiple taxa Approach

Funding & duration

Labex Ceba, 2013 à 2015 (3 years)

Scientist manager

Christopher Baraloto

Presentation of the project

Tropical diversity is extraordinarily high both at local and regional scales, including a significant turnover in species composition across habitats and regions. Yet we still know little about the factors underlying species distributions for most species groups. In particular, the relative roles of historical biogeography, dispersal limitations and abiotic and biotic filters in limiting species distributions remain a subject of debate. As a result, the extent to which local communities are random samples of the regional species pool persists as a fundamental question in tropical ecology. Most studies examining this question have focused on particular species groups, such as plants or amphibians, and these studies alone represent substantial investments. A comparison of local vs regional community structure among species groups in the same region has yet to be attempted, despite the value it would provide to address the mechanisms behind structuration of biodiversity of different groups at different scales, not to mention to identify conservation priorities. The DIADEMA project aims at providing a comprehensive evaluation of tropical biodiversity across broad geographic and environmental gradients in French Guiana. We will integrate data for eight species groups (plants, arthropods, amphibians, large animals, fish, freshwater invertebrates, earthworms and fungi), with the potential to expand pending collaborations with non-CEBA partners. We believe our teams are in a unique position to make this contribution to both basic and applied science given the extensive infrastructure in biodiversity research that has been established in French Guiana over the past decades. The databases and modeling approaches we offer to develop in DIADEMA will contribute to an increased understanding of the factors that influence species turnover in the most diverse ecosystems on earth. Most of the groups on which we focus are critically understudied in the tropics, and no attempt to date has been made to study them simultaneously for the same sites, especially with a well-replicated experimental design. The datasets we have already generated and will continue to assemble will therefore be essential for regional estimates of biodiversity, to assist policy makers to choose protected areas across the region, and to improve models of biodiversity dynamics in response to climate and land use change scenarios.

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