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Research Article

Bat and rodent diversity in a fragmented landscape on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico [ 1-16 ]

Felipe Barragán, Consuelo Lorenzo, Alejandro Morón, Miguel A. Briones-Salas y Sergio López

We assessed the patterns of diversity, richness, abundance, and dissimilarity in rodent and bat communities for four sites on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca, Mexico, an important region given the enormous number of endemic Neotropical species. The main objective was to examine rodent and bat community parameters relative to habitat diversity and human habitat disturbance in a fragmented landscape. We captured 1,133 individuals of 13 rodent species and 26 bat species from January to August 2006. The site (landscape unit) with greatest habitat diversity also had the highest diversity of rodents. Species dissimilarity was low between sites that had similar degrees of human disturbance. For rodents, species dissimilarity between habitats on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec landscape was generally high; therefore, the species are not distributed evenly across the entire landscape. For bats, the degree of species dissimilarity between the different habitats of the landscape was low. The distribution of bat species across the landscape is a reflection of their high vagility and the spatial structure of the landscape. The results show the importance of a diversity of habitats to the patterns of richness, abundance, and dissimilarity of mammals in the study area.

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    English: Growth and needs of the human population in Mexico and all over the world have contributed to accelerate the use of natural resources, causing an evident transformation of the landscape. Currently, landscapes are a mixture of areas with representative vegetation, farmlands, pasture areas, areas without vegetation and human settlements; in other words, landscapes are fragmented areas that affect the establishment and displacement of plant and animal populations, particularly, indicators species of ecosystems, such as rodents and bats. In this work, we relate the patterns of diversity in communities of rodents and bats with the diversity of habitats and human disturbance in a fragmented landscape in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico. The results show the importance of habitat diversity in patterns of diversity of mammals. Rodents are not distributed regularly through the landscape, because there are vegetation fragments that do not favor their presence. Contrary, bats are present and move across all the landscape, therefore, not all the species respond to changes in the environment in the same way. We propose to consider conservation strategies promoting the protection of vegetation corridors that provide shelter and food for mammals and that increase connectivity between fragments of vegetation in the study area.

    Español: Barragan et al evaluaron los patrones de diversidad, riqueza de especies y disimilitud en las comunidades de roedores y murciélagos en cuatro paisajes en el Istmo de Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, México – región geográfica de Mesoamérica con una proporción alta de especies endémicas. Los autores reportan una diversidad alta de roedores asociada a una diversidad alta en hábitats. Sin embargo, este no fue el caso para los murciélagos debido a la capacidad de estos para desplazarse grandes distancias. En base a estos resultados, los autores argumentan que la presencia de fragmento de diferentes tipos de hábitat en los paisajes estudiados es importante para la persistencia de estos mamíferos, a pesar de las actividades antropogénico en curso. Finalmente recomiendan que una estrategia de conservación de estos mamíferos debe incorporar la protección de corredores de vegetación arbórea para favorecer la conectividad entre los fragmentos.
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