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Unravelling seed dispersal by frugivorous animals

last modified Jul 20, 2017 01:59 PM

Unravelling seed dispersal through fragmented landscapes: Frugivore species operate unevenly as mobile links

Frugivorous animals disperse the seeds of a substantial proportion of woody plant species across many vegetation types. In an increasingly fragmented world, seed dispersal constitutes a pivotal process promoting population connectivity, colonization and range shifts in plants. However, unveiling how multiple frugivore species disperse seeds through fragmented landscapes has remained elusive owing to methodological constraints for monitoring seed dispersal events.

Dr. Juan P. González-Varo, a member of the Conservation Science Group in the Department, and collaborators have combined for the first time DNA barcoding and DNA microsatellites to identify, respectively, the frugivore species (who) and the source plant (from where) of individual seeds sampled in the field (to where), characterizing comprehensively individual seed dispersal events. The authors uncover an enormous functional complementarity among frugivore species in the way the disperse seeds through the landscape, which highlights the relevance of frugivore diversity for landscape-scale seed dispersal.

González-Varo JP, Carvalho CS, Arroyo JM & Jordano P (2017) Unravelling seed dispersal through fragmented landscapes: Frugivore species operate unevenly as mobile links.

Molecular Ecologyhttp://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mec.14181/full

Dr Juan P. González-Varo

Illustration: Jon Heras (Equinox Graphics Ltd.: http://www.e-nox.net)