Connecting Amazonian historical biogeography and local assemblages of understorey birds: Recurrent guild proportionality within areas of endemism

Pilar L. M. Braga, Sérgio H. Borges, Carlos A. Peres, Bette A. Loiselle, John G. Blake, Juliana Menger, Anderson S. Bueno, Marina Anciães, Fernando H. Teófilo, Marina F. A. Maximiano, Affonso H. N. Souza, Roberta L. Boss, Fabricio B. Baccaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Current diversity patterns in local communities result from historical and contemporary events that operate at distinct spatial and temporal scales. However, the contribution of local and large-scale processes in structuring species diversity remain a contentious topic in ecology. We investigated diversity patterns (species richness, composition and number of captures) of understorey bird assemblages in Amazonian unflooded (terra firme) forests. We sought to understand whether understorey bird assemblages in distinct areas of endemism show distinct patterns of diversity, and whether species replacements among areas of endemism occur while the proportion of species within guilds remains stable.

Location: Amazonia.

Taxon: Understorey birds.

Methods: To investigate diversity patterns, we compiled studies that mist-netted birds at 11 regions across seven Amazonian areas of endemism. We used coverage-based rarefaction curves, non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) and created a heatmap based on the proportion of captures in each area of endemism to access patterns of richness, composition and captures of understorey birds, respectively. The relative variance (RVgp index) was calculated to investigate the existence of guild proportionality within each area of endemism.

Results: Bird assemblages diverged across the seven areas of endemism, in terms of species richness, composition and captures. However, the proportion of species and individuals within guilds was similar among areas of endemism, indicating that species replacements across areas of endemism occur while maintaining the same ecological functions. Guild proportionality suggests that interspecific competition and resource availability are more important than environmental heterogeneity in structuring understorey bird assemblages.

Main conclusions: The similar proportion of species within guilds suggest that interspecific competition and resource availability are more important than environmental heterogeneity in structuring local assemblages, possibly via a process of limiting similarity in morphological and functional traits. The observed congruent structure in understorey bird assemblages across areas of endemism shows that coupled historical and ecological processes, operating at local to large scales, have led to current patterns of diversity and composition in Amazonian bird communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-338
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Biogeography
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes

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