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Keywords:

  • Amazonia;
  • distribution pattern;
  • environmental gradient;
  • riparian area

Abstract

This study aimed to evaluate if anuran species distributions in riparian and non-riparian areas are influenced by environmental factors (i.e. niche) and/or by spatial factors (i.e. dispersal). The environmental variables analysed were altitude, distance from the stream and leaf litter depth. Spatial factors were represented by the eigenvectors extracted from geographical coordinates by eigenfunction analysis. The study was conducted in 24 km2 of terra-firme forest in Central Amazonia, Manaus – Amazonas, Brazil. Between November 2008 and May 2009, three samples were taken from 41 plots, 21 plots being placed at non-riparian areas and another 20 placed in riparian areas. We submitted the assemblage dataset to a partial redundancy analysis to evaluate the contributions of environmental and spatial variables (selected with a forward selection procedure). In addition, we tested if communities differ from riparian and non-riparian areas using a db-MANOVA. Species richness and species composition differed between riparian and non-riparian plots. Some species were restricted to riparian areas. Altitude was the only significant variable (P = 0.005) explaining 21% of the total variance. When analysing the data from all plots using the partial redundancy analysis, 27% of the variance was explained by spatial and environmental variables. The environmental variables explained exclusively 4% of the variance in assemblage composition, and 13% was explained by environmental variables that were also structured in space (i.e. the shared fraction), while 10% was explained exclusively by spatial variables. In conclusion, our results showed differences between the assemblages of riparian and non-riparian areas which can be explained by the distribution of anuran species along environmental gradients altitude and distance to streams, with little evidence of dispersal limitation.