Inara Roberta Leal

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Ants are a dominant faunal group in tropical forests, but their responses to human disturbances remain poorly investigated. Here we examine the relative effects of habitat fragmentation (fragment size and amount of forest cover retained in the surrounding landscape) and habitat structure (tree density and richness) on ant species and functional composition(More)
Recent evidence suggests that the traditional view of myrmecochory as a highly diffuse interaction between diaspores and a wide range of ant species attracted to their elaiosomes may not be correct. The effectiveness of dispersal varies markedly among ant species, and combined with differential attractiveness of diaspores due to elaiosome size and(More)
BACKGROUND AND AIMS Myrmecochory is a conspicuous feature of several sclerophyll ecosystems around the world but it has received little attention in the semi-arid areas of South America. This study addresses the importance of seed dispersal by ants in a 2500-km(2) area of the Caatinga ecosystem (north-east Brazil) and investigates ant-derived benefits to(More)
Anthropogenic disturbance can have important indirect effects on ecosystems by disrupting species interactions. Here we examine the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on distance dispersal by ants for the diaspores of myrmecochorous Euphorbiaceae in Brazilian Caatinga. Rates of diaspore removal and distances removed of Croton sonderianus and Jatropha(More)
Habitat fragmentation studies have produced complex results that are challenging to synthesize. Inconsistencies among studies may result from variation in the choice of landscape metrics and response variables, which is often compounded by a lack of key statistical or methodological information. Collating primary datasets on biodiversity responses to(More)
Leaf-cutting ants (Atta spp.) have become a topical issue in Neotropical ecology, particularly because they are reaching hyper-abundance due to escalating levels of fragmentation in recent years. Yet, despite intensive research on their role as dominant herbivores, there is still insufficient documentation on the impacts of their large, long-lived nests on(More)
Alien floras have been examined at regional and continental scales, but the connections between the cause of introduction and the nature and invasiveness of alien floras remain poorly explored. This is despite the fact that initial introduction determines the alien species pool from which the invasion proceeds. Here we examine the profile of the alien flora(More)
Chronic disturbances, such as selective logging, firewood extraction and extensive grazing, may lead to the taxonomic and phylogenetic impoverishment of remaining old-growth forest communities worldwide; however, the empirical evidence on this topic is limited. We tested this hypothesis in the Caatinga vegetation--a seasonally dry tropical forest restricted(More)
Old-growth tropical forests are being extensively deforested and fragmented worldwide. Yet forest recovery through succession has led to an expansion of secondary forests in human-modified tropical landscapes (HMTLs). Secondary forests thus emerge as a potential repository for tropical biodiversity, and also as a source of essential ecosystem functions and(More)
Insect herbivores largely affect plant population structure, community organization, and ecosystem functioning, but little is known on how insect herbivory is altered in human-modified landscapes. Here we assessed 3,566 woody seedlings inhabiting 20 Atlantic forest fragments (3-91 ha) in northeast Brazil to examine the extent to which standing levels of(More)