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Diversity metrics, species turnovers and nestedness of bird assemblages in a deep karst sinkhole

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We reported a study on breeding birds occurring inside an 80 m-deep karst sinkhole, with the characterization of the assemblages recorded along its semi-vertical slopes from the upper edge until the bottom. The internal sides of the sinkhole have been vertically subdivided in four belts about 20 m high. The highest belt (at the upper edge of the cenote) showed the highest values in mean number of bird detections, mean and normalized species richness, and Shannon diversity index. The averaged values of number of detections and species richness significantly differ among belts. Species turnover (Cody’s β-diversity) was maximum between the highest belts. Whittaker plots showed a marked difference among assemblages shaping from broken-stick model to geometric series, and explicited a spatial progressive stress with a disruption in evenness towards the deepest belts. Bird assemblages evidenced a nested subset structure with deeper belts containing successive subsets of the species occurring in the upper belts. We hypothesize that, at least during the daytime in breeding season, the observed non-random distribution of species along the vertical stratification is likely due to (i) the progressive simplification both of the floristic composition and vegetation structure, and (ii) the paucity of sunlight as resources from the upper edge to the inner side of the cenote.

Affiliations: 1: “Torre Flavia” LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) Station, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Servizio Aree Protette, Via Tiburtina 691, 00159 Roma, Italia and Dipartimento di Scienze, Università degli Studi di Roma Tre, Viale Marconi 446, 00146 Rome. E-mail: f.marini@cittametropolitanaroma.gov.it; ; 2: Servizio Aree protette, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, via Tiburtina, 691, 00159 Rome, Italy; ; 3: Dipartimento di Biologia Ambientale, Università di Roma ‘Sapienza’, Piazzale Aldo Moro, 5, 00185 Rome, Italy. E-mail: marco.giardini@uniroma1.it; ; 4: Sustainable Development Foundation, via Garigliano 61/a, 00198 Rome, Italy. E-mail: dodaro@susdef.it; ; 5: Dipartimento di Scienze, Università degli Studi di Roma Tre, Viale Marconi 446, 00146 Rome, Italy. E-mail: leonardo.vignoli@uniroma3.it

10.1163/22244662-06301009
/content/journals/10.1163/22244662-06301009
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2017-02-07
2018-09-21

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