Emilio conducting field work at Panga Ecological Station outside Uberlânida, Minas Gerais, Brazil (Photo by Laura V. B. Silva).

Emilio conducting field work at Panga Ecological Station outside Uberlânida, Minas Gerais, Brazil (Photo by Laura V. B. Silva).

Decades of research have demonstrated plant communities in African and Asian savannas are regulated by a combination of pervasive top-down and bottom-up effects. In contrast, studies investigating the dynamics of plants in the Neotropical savannas known as the Cerrado have focused almost exclusively on fire, soil chemistry, and other bottom-up drivers. In collaboration with Dr. Heraldo Vasconcelos from Brazil’s Universidade Federal de Uberlandia, I am investigating how herbivores (leaf-cutter ants) and granivores (small mammals) influence the diversity and demography of Cerrado plants. In collaboration with Michelle Mack (UF Botany) we are expanding by experimentally manipulating soil nutrients.

So what do you think?

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