Long-term concentration of tropical forest nutrient hotspots is generated by a central-place apex predator

de Miranda, Everton B. P., Peres, Carlos A. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1588-8765, Oliveira-Santos, Luiz Gustavo Rodrigues and Downs, Colleen T. (2023) Long-term concentration of tropical forest nutrient hotspots is generated by a central-place apex predator. Scientific Reports, 13. ISSN 2045-2322

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Apex predators typically affect the distribution of key soil and vegetation nutrients through the heterogeneous deposition of prey carcasses and excreta, leading to a nutrient concentration in a hotspot. The exact role of central-place foragers, such as tropical raptors, in nutrient deposition and cycling, is not yet known. We investigated whether harpy eagles (Harpia harpyja) in Amazonian Forests—a typically low soil fertility ecosystem—affect soil nutrient profiles and the phytochemistry around their nest-trees through cumulative deposition of prey carcasses and excreta. Nest-trees occurred at densities of 1.5–5.0/100 km2, and each nest received ~ 102.3 kg of undressed carcasses each year. Effects of nests were surprisingly negative over local soil nutrient profiles, with soils underneath nest-trees showing reductions in nutrients compared with controls. Conversely, canopy tree leaves around nests showed significant 99%, 154% and 50% increases in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, respectively. Harpy eagles have experienced a 41% decline in their range, and many raptor species are becoming locally extirpated. These are general examples of disruption in biogeochemical cycles and nutrient heterogeneity caused by population declines in a central-place apex predator. This form of carrion deposition is by no means an exception since several large raptors have similar habits.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: Rufford Small Grants Foundation (18743-1, 23022-2 and 31091-B), Rainforest Biodiversity Group, Idea Wild, The Mamont Scholars Program of the Explorer’s Club Exploration Fund, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and the SouthWild.com Conservation Travel System. Logistical support was given by the Peugeot-ONF Carbon Sink Reforestation Project, based at the São Nicolau Farm in Cotriguaçu, Mato Grosso, Brazil. This project is a Peugeot initiative to fulfil some of the Kyoto Protocol directions and is run by the ONF-Brasil enterprise.
Uncontrolled Keywords: general ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1000
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2023 11:07
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2023 11:07
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/92356
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-31258-8


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