Predicting resilience to hurricane disturbance across forests of Puerto Rico

Catherine Hulshof (Virginia Commonwealth University), Carla Restrepo (University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras), Akito Kawahara (FLMNH), and Neil Cobb (NAU). Contact: cmhulshof[at]vcu[dot]edu

The proposed study will investigate the relationship between Lepidoptera diversity, abundance and life history traits (resource type, wing color and size, seasonal diapause, and flight period) in contrasting forest types following an extreme hurricane by integrating museum records, rapid biodiversity inventories, image recognition technologies, and Bayesian models. Specifically, we will quantify changes in species diversity, abundance, and trait variation among Lepidoptera assemblages through time in wet and dry subtropical forests of Puerto Rico. Wet and dry forests comprise more than half of the total land area in tropical latitudes and are directly impacted by rapidly changing disturbance regimes.

Do subtropical dry and wet forests differ predictably in the rate of change of species diversity and abundances following an extreme disturbance? Are these differences in responses mediated by environmental factors, traits, or both?

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