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Research Goals

An adult grotto salamander

Mexican Freetail Bats
The emergence of a massive colony of Mexican Freetail bats in Oklahoma
I am interested in the community ecology of microhabitats. For example, I have investigated: (1) forest canopy communities inhabiting plant held waters (phytotelmata) in Madagascar, Peru, Brazil, and Ecuador, (2) cave communities inhabiting subterranean waterways of the Ozarks, (3) termite mound communities of the Brazilian Cerrado, (4) leaf litter communities of the upper Amazon Basin, and (5) splash zone communities in xeric habitats of Central Brazil. I am particularly interested in environments that pose challenges to the organisms living there and the adaptations (physiological, morphological, and behavioral) observed in those organisms to meet the challenging circumstances. For example, forest canopies challenge organisms seeking to exploit those habitats in offering few sources of fresh water. Wind and direct exposure to bright sunlight enhance the effects of the circumstance. Plant held waters become key resources. I am interested in the community of organisms living in and around those resources and their solutions to challenges such as fluctuating water levels and drought. I am also interested in external factors that influence these communities.

My dissertation project involved the influence of airborne pollutants on phytotelmic canopy communities across several field sites in the neotropics. I am using amphibians that live and breed in the microhabitats as indicator species of the general health of the greater community. I have received support from the Amazon Conservation Association to establish a field site in Southeastern Peru and from Systema Naturae Consultoria Ambiental LTDA. to establish several field sites across Brazil. I will include at least one more field site in Costa Rica.

I continue my collaboration with Dr. G.O. Graening and Dr. E. Bergey in recording the biodiversity of the subterranean communities in the Western Ozarks and the Arbuckles of Oklahoma.

©2002-2013, Danté Fenolio
Last updated April 28, 2013 10:42 PM