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Downsized mutualisms: Consequences of seed dispersers' body-size reduction for early plant recruitment

Human-driven body-size reduction of frugivorous vertebrates may entail the loss of seed dispersal functions, impairing plant regeneration. Here, the consequences of body-size reduction of Giant Canarian lizards (g. Gallotia, Lacertidae) on the recruitment of Neochamaelea pulverulenta (Rutaceae), an endemic shrub relying exclusively on these frugivores for seed dispersal, are evaluated. Results show that the age structure patterns (quantitative component) did not differ, but significant reductions in effective recruitment rate, and seedling vigour in populations hosting small- to medium-sized lizard species, are found. Results highlight the importance of conserving the full range of functional processes (qualitative and quantitative components) involved in mutualistic interactions crucial for the persistence of local regeneration and plant population dynamics. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es Pérez-Méndez et al (2015).  Downsized mutualisms: Consequences of seed dispersers' body-size reduction for early plant recruitment. Perspect Plant Ecol Evol Syst DOI: 10.1016/j.ppees.2014.12.001


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