A new study by Dr. Therese Lamperty, a University of Washington postdoctoral researcher in biology, and Dr. Berry Brosi, a UW associate professor of biology, concerning the health of the Atlantic Forest, a shrinking stretch of tropical forest and critical biodiversity hotspot on the coast of Brazil was recently featured in UW News.
Dr. Lamperty and Dr. Brosi report that losing a particular group of endangered animals — those that eat fruit and help disperse the seeds of trees and other plants — could severely disrupt seed-dispersal networks in the Atlantic Forest. The findings, published this morning in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, indicate that a high number of plant species in today’s Atlantic Forest rely on endangered frugivores (the scientific term for animals that eat primarily fruit) to help disperse their seeds throughout the forest. As a result, losing those endangered frugivores would leave a high proportion of plants without an effective means to disperse and regenerate — endangering these plants, reducing diversity in the Atlantic Forest and crippling critical portions of this ecosystem.
Read the full story on UW News.