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What is long-distance dispersal?

Dispersal is a key individual-based process influencing many life-history attributes and scaling up to population-level properties (e.g. metapopulation connectivity). A persistent challenge in dispersal ecology has been the robust characterization of dispersal functions (kernels), a fundamental tool to predict how dispersal processes respond under global change scenarios. Particularly, the rightmost tail of these functions, that is the long-distance dispersal (LDD) events, are difficult to characterize empirically and to model in realistic ways. But, when is it a LDD event? In the specific case of plants, dispersal has three basic components: a distinct source, the maternal plant producing the fruits or the paternal tree acting as a source of pollen; a distance component between source and target locations; and finally a vector actually performing the movement entailing the dispersal event. Strict-sense long-distance dispersal involves movement both outside the stand geographic limits and outside the genetic neighbourhood area of individuals. Combinations of propagule movements within/outside these two spatial reference frames result in four distinct modes of LDD. Truncation of seed dispersal kernels are expected to have multiple consequences on demography and genetics, following to the loss of key dispersal services in natural populations. Loss of LDD events may result in more structured and less cohesive genetic pools, with increased isolation by distance extending over broader areas. Proper characterization of the LDD events helps to assess, for example, how the ongoing defaunation of large-bodied frugivores pervasively entails the loss of crucial LDD functions. informacion[at] Jordano (2017) What is long-distance dispersal? And a taxonomy of dispersal events. J Ecology 105,75–84 Doi 10.1111/1365-2745.12690
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