Journal of Tropical Ecology



Effects of forest fragmentation on frugivorous and nectarivorous bats in French Guiana


Jean-François  Cosson a1c1, Jean-Marc  Pons a2 and Didier  Masson a3
a1 Laboratoire de la Faune sauvage, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, 65 rue de St Brieuc, 35042 Rennes Cedex, France; and Laboratoire Génome et Populations, CNRS-UPR 9060, Université de Montpellier II, C.C. 63, 34095 Montpellier Cedex, France
a2 Laboratoire de Zoologie, Mammifères et Oiseaux, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, 55 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France
a3 386 Boulevard des Flamboyants, 40600 Biscarosse, France

Abstract

The effects of tropical forest fragmentation on frugivorous and nectarivorous bats were studied on recent islands created by the flooding of a dam in French Guiana. Study sites include forest islands isolated by water, and control plots in nearby continuous forest. Studies began 1y before the onset of forest fragmentation and encompassed the first 3y after flooding. Forest fragmentation greatly modified the diversity and abundance of bats. Changes occurred more rapidly in the smallest fragments than in the largest one, and trends were remarkably similar among all the studied islands. Bat captures in islands were characterised by the scarcity of understorey frugivores. Differences in home range size and foraging strategies may explain why understorey fruit bat species are more sensitive to fragmentation than canopy ones. Changes in the frugivorous bat community may have indirect consequences on both the demographic and the genetic structures of plant populations inside forest fragments.

(Accepted February 21 1999)


Key Words: bats; biodiversity; fragmentation; French Guiana; frugivores; nectarivores; rain forest.

Correspondence:
c1 Labortoire Génome et Populations, CNRS-UPR 9060, Université de Montpellier II, C.C. 63, 34095 Montpellier Cedex; E-mail: cosson@roazhon.inra.fr