About this Research Topic
Tropical savannas are diverse, extend across a large area of the world, and have been extensively studied in relation to the interactions of climate, fire, predation, and large mammal herbivory. However, the role of small mammals is poorly known here. This is despite the publication of hundreds of descriptive studies, presenting population fluctuations and species composition in such savannas. In contrast, carefully designed experimental studies that tease out important factors influencing small mammals are virtually absent for most savanna systems. Our goal, therefore, is to synthesize our current knowledge of the drivers of small mammal communities and populations in tropical savannas by bringing together the world’s top researchers in this field. Our focus includes the savannas of the Neotropics, Afrotropics, Southern Asia, and Australia.
We are primarily interested in manuscripts that present experimental studies of habitat factors controlling species composition, abundance, diversity, and trophic and non-trophic relations of small mammals within tropical/subtropical savannas, covering all four continents that include this biome. This would include the direct, indirect, and interaction effects of large mammalian herbivores (LMH), fire, soil, geology, predators, weather, and other factors on small-mammal habitats and communities. An example of an indirect effect might be habitat changes that increase actual or perceived predation risk (landscape of fear) and thus behavior or habitat use of small mammals. Interaction effects may occur, for example, between fire and precipitation patterns, or between grazing by LMH and soil type. Studies that are either natural or manipulative experiments are most desired, but meta-analyses, reviews, and commentaries may be appropriate in some cases.
Keywords: disturbance, fire ecology, habitats, herbivory, landscape of fear
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