Long-term effects of anthropogenic habitat disturbance on a lizard assemblage inhabiting coastal dunes in Argentina
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We studied abundance and habitat use in two species of Liolaemus (Squamata: Tropiduridae) at a coastal dune site in eastern Argentina before and 7 years after a road was built at the site. Before disturbance, lizards exhibited similar abundances and a wide segregation in microhabitat use. Liolaemus multimaculatus used flat dunes scarcely covered by Spartina ciliata, while Liolaemus gracilis used the grass Panicum racemosum as cover. After disturbance, the mean number of L. multimaculatus detected by month was significantly less than that observed in the predisturbance period, owing to a drastic reduction in S. ciliata microhabitat patches. The mean number of L. gracilis was similar to that seen during the first period. These differences were clearly linked to habitat loss at the site. We concluded that human impact on the habitat structure of foredunes induced changes in the structure of the lizard assemblage, including shifts in the relative abundance of species and the proportional use of their preferred microhabitats.
author list (cited authors)
Vega, L. E., Bellagamba, P. J., & Fitzgerald, L. A.