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A Seed Predator, Revealed!

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posted on 06.10.2021, 16:46 by Luis Carlos Beltrán
This is a camera-trap photo of a Coues' rice rat (Oryzomys couesi) visiting one of my food patches that I scattered throughout a tropical forest restoration experiment in Los Tuxtlas, Mexico. The idea was to use food patches to determine the foraging preferences these rodents have for different kinds of forest cover, with implications for forest regeneration. To be brief, the trays that have the least leftover food reflect conditions that are preferred by the seed predators (i.e., they like that sort of forest). It is through the use of camera traps that I was able to determine that these rodents are present in our experiment and that they are the primary seed predators. Through this research project I was also able to show that forest patches that lack canopy cover but are overrun by invasive ferns (observed in photo) are more likely to have these rodents, as indicated by how much seed they consumed from trays in those locations. This suggests that the negative impacts the invasive ferns have on regeneration are compounded by the protection they offer seed-consuming rodents.

Funding

This exhibit competition is organized by the University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate College and the University Library.

History

Publisher Statement

Biological Sciences; Finalist; Copyright 2020, Luis Carlos Beltrán. Used with permission. For more information, contact the Graduate College at gradcoll@uic.edu

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