Dominik Rabl

Relationships between species diversity and functional diversity within moth communities across three forest types in the Golfo Dulce region, SW Costa Rica

In lowland rainforest near the tropical research station La Gamba, three topographically defined types of near-natural forest can be distinguished, viz. ridge, slope, and ravine forest. These forests differ prominently in vegetation composition and various ecosystem properties. Their associated diurnal butterfly communities are also distinct.

This project will explore (a) whether nocturnal moth assemblages differ in a similar manner between the forest types in species composition and (b) whether concordant compositional patterns can be extracted if focussing on measures of functional, instead of species, diversity. Moth samples will be assembled by automatic light traps over a period of 3 months, with at least 5 spatial replicates per habitat type and 3 temporal replicates per site.

Functional traits to be analyzed will comprise morphometric measurements, characters of wing patterns, affiliation to trophic guilds according to larval and adult resource requirements, and reproductive traits.