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Abstract or Description

The Atlantic Forest of Brazil is highly fragmented and it is estimated that less than 7% of its original area remains (Umetsu et al. 2008). This high rate of fragmentation is primarily due to the conversion of forested areas into agricultural lands. This may hinder the dispersal of many species that inhabit this area because of an increase in edge effects, decrease in reproductive success, and higher limitation of resources. However, the inter-habitat matrix, or heterogeneous mosaic of varying habitats, may allow population dispersal and the creation of meta-populations within species. In particular, amphibians are extremely sensitive to habitat degradation and fragmentation because their complex life cycle and special physiological requirements (Santos et al. 2009). Amphibians have low mobility and many studies use one kilometer as the estimated farthest distance that amphibians will travel for new habitat (Smith and Green 2005). The purpose of this study was to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to spatially analyze the Atlantic forest fragments surrounding Saõ Luis do Paraitinga for their connectivity, proximity to probable water sources, and suitability as amphibian habitat.

About the Author

Dominique Kone is a junior Environmental Studies: Conservation Biology Concentration major with a passion for animal behavior and the conservation of endangered species.

Lydia Ball is a junior Environmental Studies: Conservation Biology Concentration major with a strong interest in amphibian biodiversity and habitat degradation.

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