Landscape ecology organization notes UF/IFAS faculty member’s research
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Research by University of Florida faculty member Emilio Bruna was recognized by the United States Chapter of the International Association for Landscape Ecology as the outstanding contribution to the field in 2011.
The award was announced April 10 during ceremonies in Providence, R.I.
Bruna, who holds joint appointments in UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and Center for Latin American Studies, worked with scientists from Columbia University, Louisiana State University and Brazil’s National Institute for Amazonian Research to study how deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest affects how birds disperse plant seeds.
The results of the National Science Foundation-funded research were published in the journal Ecology.
The study showed that deforestation can mean that seeds dispersed by birds might land where they can’t sprout and grow. If birds spread plant seeds in inhospitable places, the long-term consequences can be reduced diversity in large tracts of the Amazon, the study found. And that could be bad news for scientists trying to study and conserve species in the most biodiversity-rich land mass on Earth.
For the study, sceintists tracked plants, recorded bird flight patterns and studied their behavior, then incorporated all of their observations in sophisticated mathematical models and computer simulations.