Ecosystem services mediated by plant-animal interactions in a context of change of land use in northwestern Argentina

Principal Investigator: Pedro G. Blendinger.
Co-Principal investigator: Natacha Chacoff.

Funded by: Universidad Nacional de Tucumán (PIUNT 2018- #G609). 2018-2021.

With this project, we plan to generate quantitative information on plant-pollinator systems in natural, urban and agricultural ecosystems of NW Argentina. We will use four study systems to assess the role of pollination as a key ecological process in natural ecosystems and as an important ecosystem service in Dry Chaco and Yungas of NW Argentina. In the conceptual framework of plant-animal interactions as providers of ecological functions and ecosystem services which are susceptible of alterations promoted by land use changes associated with human activities, we propose to study four study systems ("components") and seven specific objectives related to (i) provision of ecosystem services to soybean fields in the Dry Chaco; (ii) provision of ecosystem services to blueberry cultivars in Premontane Forests and the reciprocal effects of cultivated and natural vegetation that share pollinators; (iii) evaluation of changes in the structure of pollination networks in Yungas forest associated with logging; (iv) evaluation of changes in the structure of pollination networks in a natural-urban gradient in Yungas forest. We have the skills and means to achieve these objectives. We are a working group with extensive experience in the study of plant-animal interactions in Yungas and Chaco, with proven ability to conduct intensive sampling in the field, analyze data and disseminate the results in an adequate timetable. The project has an important component of field work, both observational and experimental. Sampling and data analysis techniques were already used and implemented for at least one of the members of the responsible investigator group. We count also with the technical capacity and with most of the field and lab equipment, included vehicles, and we also have the contacts of many land owners of the farms that may be used to perform the field studies. Other ongoing projects will provide counterpart financial support, and all the specific objectives are actually part of ongoing doctoral projects.


Other Members: Andrés Ramírez-Mejía, Alejandro Amado, Julieta Carrasco, Candela Russo, Julieta Magro, Roxana Aragón, Silvia Lomáscolo, Carolina Monmany.