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Endozoochory of similar plants by storks and gulls

Research into the dispersal of plants lacking a fleshy fruit by avian endozoochory remains limited, particularly regarding the different roles of specific vectors in the same habitat. Plants dispersed by endozoochory were compared between two migratory waterbirds differing in body size: the lesser black-backed gull, and the white stork. Faeces and pellets were collected from roosting flocks on dykes in the Doñana rice fields, and extracted intact seeds. 424 intact seeds from 21 plant taxa were recovered, 11 of which germinated under laboratory conditions. Eight plant species are considered weeds, four of them as alien species, and only two have a fleshy fruit. Toadrush (Juncus bufonius) was the dominant species, accounting for 49% of seeds recovered. Community analyses revealed no differences in the proportions of each plant species dispersed by the two birds, suggesting that waterbird plant dispersal networks are different from frugivore networks. These avian vectors provide maximum dispersal distances several orders of magnitude greater than predicted from their dispersal syndromes. Endozoochory by migratory waterbirds has major implications for plant distributions in a rapidly changing world. informacion[at] Martín-Vélez et al (2020) Endozoochory of the same community of plants lacking fleshy fruits by storks and gulls. J Veg Science DOI 10.1111/jvs.12967
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Benefits of restoring apex predator populations

Benefits of restoring apex predator populations

The role that apex predators play in ecosystem functioning, disease regulation and biodiversity maintenance is increasingly debated. However, the positive impacts of their presence in terrestrial ecosystems, particularly in human-dominated landscapes, remain controversial. Limited experimental insights regarding the consequences of apex predator recoveries may be behind such controversy and may also impact on the social acceptability towards the recovery of these species. Using a quasi-experimental design and state-of-the-art density estimates, mesopredator abundances were reduced after the restoration of an apex predator, with evidence of resonating positive impacts on lower trophic levels. Specifically, Iberian lynx Lynx pardinus reintroduction was followed by the reduction of the abundance of mesocarnivores (red foxes Vulpes vulpes and Egyptian mongooses Herpestes ichneumon by ca. 80%) and the recovery of small game of high socio-economic value (European rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus and red-legged partridges Alectoris rufa). The observed mesopredator reduction resulted in an estimated 55,6% less rabbit consumption for the entire carnivore guild. These findings have important implications for the social acceptability of Iberian lynx reintroductions, which crucially depend on the perception of private land owners and managers. Under certain circumstances, restoring apex predators may provide a sustainable and ethically acceptable way to reduce mesopredator abundances. informacion[at] Jiménez et al (2019) Restoring apex predators can reduce mesopredator abundances. Biol Conserv DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108234