Wet tropical forests harbor the highest biodiversity of any ecosystem on earth. They are also some of the most threatened. Which species are most at risk, and why are they declining?
We have used long-term citizen-science data collected at La Selva Biological Station in the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica to quantify rates of population change, and associate both declines and successes with species-level traits to test hypotheses regarding why some species are doing well and others are disappearing, even from intact forest. Some of these results are surprising, revealing that not only are understory insectivores at risk (a group commonly identified as being particularly susceptible to fragmentation), but small-bodied birds of all dietary guilds are declining. These results suggest that physiological and energetic constraints along with climatic conditions may be more important than commonly appreciated in driving declines.
Alice has also collaborated with multiple other researchers working in the same region to synthesize evidence in support of alternative explanations for population change in this region.