Jessica Castro Prieto
M.S. Student, University of Puerto Rico
Location: Valle del Lunarejo in the department of Rivera, Uruguay
Research: Habitat and Landscape Characteristics that Determine Mammal Species Composition and Distribution in a Fragmented Landscape, Northeastern Uruguay
Species/Topic: Non-flying mammal community
Abstract: Valle del Lunarejo is one of the largest natural forest remnants of Uruguay. However, it is surrounded by a human-managed matrix used mainly for cattle pastures and plantations. The area includes subtropical and tropical vegetation and more than fifteen mammal species, including nine species with their southern distribution limit in Uruguay. The project proposes to develop a mammal community level survey to determine species richness, composition and distribution in a human-managed landscape in Uruguay. This will be addressed by selecting 30 sites for habitat characterization and direct and indirect mammal species survey. In addition, using satellite images, land cover (e.g., natural forest, pastures and plantations) will be determined around each site. The relationships between mammal species composition with habitat and landscape characteristics will be determined using multivariate analysis. The project results will help to evaluate the importance of Valle del Lunarejo for the conservation of mammal species in Uruguay.