Community Ecology

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 58–66 | Cite as

Small-mammal community structure in a South American deciduous Atlantic Forest

  • G. L. Melo
  • J. Sponchiado
  • A. F. Machado
  • N. C. Cáceres


We investigated how the small-mammal community is structured in a deciduous forest in southern Brazil, analysing the patterns of vertical and horizontal distribution. We used 12 transect lines, with 180 live-traps distributed on the ground and in the understory, and 12 pitfall traps in total. During six field sessions, we captured 510 individuals belonging to 12 small-mammal species. The combination of different methods of capture resulted in a relative high species richness for the area, although the presence of additional species cannot be ruled out. The forest complexity plays an important role allowing the coexistence of cursorial, scansorial and some arboreal species in this community. The structural variables, liana and bamboo, were the most important ones for species richness. However, the dominant species, Akodon montensis was associated to sites with dense vegetation at ground level such as ferns, bamboos, and shrubs.


Environmental complexity Habitat selection Heterogeneity Species diversity Vertical stratification 



Parque Estadual do Turvo


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© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2011

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Authors and Affiliations

  • G. L. Melo
    • 1
  • J. Sponchiado
    • 2
  • A. F. Machado
    • 3
  • N. C. Cáceres
    • 3
  1. 1.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia e Conservação, CCBSUniversidade Federal do Mato Grosso do SulCampo Grande, MSBrazil
  2. 2.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biodiversidade Animal, CCNEUniversidade Federal de Santa MariaCamobi, Santa Maria, RSBrazil
  3. 3.Laboratório de Ecologia e Biogeografia, Departamento de BiologiaUniversidade Federal de Santa MariaCamobi, Santa Maria, RSBrazil

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