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Fragmented Forest, Fragmented Food

may play in increasing vulnerability to nest predation.

"Adults spend less time guarding their nests when food is in short supply so predators may have more chances to rob the nest," she hypothesizes. "Nestlings that are not well fed also beg for food more vigorously, which may also increase the chance of attracting attention from predators."

Researchers are still not certain why small fragments have fewer invertebrates than large fragments, but Zanette believes that the small fragments have different microclimates. Edges of the forest tend to have drier soil and leaf litter and insects prone to desiccation may be excluded from these areas, she says.

"In addition to understanding whether food supply varies with fragment size, we need to know why it may vary, " says Zanette. "A clear connection between microclimate and invertebrate biomass needs to be made."


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Contact: Alison Gillespie
alison@esa.org
202-833-8773 ext.211
Ecological Society of America
5-Jun-2000


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