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The structure of waterbird seed dispersal networks is not mediated by functional traits

Plants and their dispersers form interaction networks whose structure has important implications for the persistence and stability of the community. Frugivory is vital for the dispersal of many plants, but the dispersal interactions between plants and non-frugivorous animals, such as waterfowl, are poorly studied. In this study, the authors characterized the structure of networks for seed dispersal by waterfowl, considered whether their structure is similar to that of the networks formed between frugivorous birds and plants with fleshy fruits, and searched for functional traits of birds or plants that are important for maintenance of network structure. Data from four European community-level studies on the content of the digestive tracts of ducks and rallids, including 12 species of birds and 88 of plants, were used. Waterbird seed dispersal networks shared some organizational patterns with those of frugivores, but unlike frugivores, their underlying structure was not related to functional traits. This is likely related to fundamental differences between waterfowl and frugivores in the way they ingest seeds. Differences in the functional role of particular waterbird species for seed dispersal are likely due to other processes, such as differences in population size, movement patterns, microhabitat selection, or gut processing of seeds. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Sebastián-González et al (2020) Waterbird seed-dispersal networks are similarly nested but less modular than those of frugivorous species, and not driven by species ecological traits. Funct Ecol https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13657


https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1365-2435.13657
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Content with tag diet .

The structure of waterbird seed dispersal networks is not mediated by functional traits

Plants and their dispersers form interaction networks whose structure has important implications for the persistence and stability of the community. Frugivory is vital for the dispersal of many...

Understanding the complex relationships between ecological traits and spatial distribution patterns

The study of the relationship between the ecological niche breadth and spatial distribution of species has been a core topic in ecology. Ecological niche breadth measures the degree of...

Juvenile pheomelanin-based plumage colouration has evolved more frequently in carnivorous species

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Feather mites play a role in cleaning host feathers

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Ducks as vectors of seed dispersal for a broad spectrum of plants

Dabbling ducks have long been recognized as important vectors of dispersal for strictly aquatic plants. In terrestrial ecosystems they are widely assumed to be irrelevant. In this study we...