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National Science Foundation (USA) 2007

Interactive effects of Mammalian Herbivores on Semi-Agrid Grassland Ecosystems

Mammalian Herbivores Grassland


Titre : Interactive effects of Mammalian Herbivores on Semi-Agrid Grassland Ecosystems

Organismes NSF : Office Of Internatl Science &Engineering (OISE)

Durée : September 1, 2007 - August 31, 2009

Grasslands are among the most imperiled ecosystems in the world due to agricultural intensification, desertification, and the loss of native species. In order to manage and conserve these systems in the face of multiple, and often conflicting interests, there is a critical need to understand the primary mechanisms that drive grassland ecosystem dynamics and biodiversity. Megaherbivores and small burrowing herbivores are known to play key roles in the structure and function of grasslands worldwide. Although domestic livestock have replaced native megaherbivores throughout much of the world, surprisingly little is known about their interactive effects with native wildlife and the consequent effects on grassland systems.

Description The primary objective of this research will be to determine the independent and interactive effects of domestic megaherbivores (cattle) and small herbivores (prairie dogs) on semi-arid grassland ecosystems in the Janos region of northern Chihuahua, Mexico. This research will manipulate cattle and prairie dogs simultaneously using a controlled, long-term, replicated experiment. This multidisciplinary research will evaluate the impacts of cattle and prairie dogs on soils, plants, and animals, using a 2x2 factorial design. This region supports the largest remaining colony of black-tailed prairie dogs in the world, and provides a rare opportunity to conduct large-scale manipulative research in the context of a largely intact grassland ecosystem that retains a high diversity of threatened and endangered species. This postdoctoral fellowship will be part of a long-term project conducted by a team of researchers from the United States and Mexico. The PI’s role will be to design, implement, and lead this research and develop a long-term collaboration with the host in order to follow the effects of this important research over time. The research will advance our knowledge of ecology by assessing the interactive effects of key herbivores on grassland ecosystem structure and function. The role of herbivory in the desertification of semi-arid grasslands remains one of the most important questions in ecology and conservation worldwide.

Partenaires : Ana Davidson (Principal Investigator)

Financement : $157,705.00

Présentation (National Science Foundation)

Page publiée le 2 juillet 2017, mise à jour le 31 octobre 2017