Top-down control of arthropods and herbivory by birds, ants and bats in tropical forest ecosystems along complete altitudinal gradient (GACR 14-32024P)


We started field work in early 2014 by selecting focal plant species. We decided for various Ficus sp., as they were already mapped and plotted at our study site. In March-May 2014, we set whole experiment: i.e. we protected 20 saplings against vertebrates, 20 saplings against ants, 20 saplings against ants + vertebrates, and we finally marked 20 saplings as a control. All this has been done at all eight study sites.At the same time, we conducted first survey of ants and birds at each study site. We spent June and July by work on database developing and entering first data, analyses of herbivory as measured at the beginning of the project. We (myself and my assistant Bonny Koane) went to present our first results to ATBC conference in Cairns. September and October 2014 was again devoted to field work and to first collections of insect and leaves.
We abandoned our experiment for November-December and resumed work in late January – when we prepared for next field work, accepted new student Peter Amick to work on bats and made some preliminary surveys to test new methods and equipment.

During a month in the field, Peter Amick with his assistants mist-netted more than 490 bat individuals of 11 bat species at eight study sites. We faced some problems with our bright new EchoMeter EM3+ so the vocalization is recorded only at 4 study sites till now, and seems to reveal another 5 species. Observed species richness seems to decrease with elevation while abundance doesn’t seem to decrease across the most of the gradient. We are really looking forward to our next field trip in June.

By the end of 2017, all work was finished, and we are still working on resulting manuscripts.