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Seed dispersal by neotropical birds: Emerging patterns and underlying processes

Karubian, J., Browne, L., Bosque, C., Carlo, T., Galetti, M., Loiselle, B.A., Blake, J.G., Cabrera, D., Durães, R., Labecca, F.M., Holbrook, K.M., Holland, R., Jetz, W., Kümmeth, F., Olivo, J., Ottewell, K., Papadakis, G., Rivas, G., Steiger, S., Voirin, B. and Wikelski, M. (2012) Seed dispersal by neotropical birds: Emerging patterns and underlying processes. Ornitologia Neotropical, 23 . pp. 9-14.

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Abstract

Seed dispersal by birds is thought to profoundly Impact patterns of ecological and genetic diversity in many plant species. As such, a more refined understanding of avian seed dispersal dynamics in the Neotropics is a subject of intense interest for ecologists, evolutionary biologists, and conservation biologists. We provide an overview of emerging research themes and approaches in the field of seed dispersal by beo-tropical birds, followed by five detailed case studies of current work. The common theme uniting our research is the integration of spatial and temporal seed deposition patterns with underlying mechanistic processes and ecological consequences. We use contemporary methods in molecular analyses, GPS-based and radio-based animal tracking, field-based observation and experimentation, and network theory to address the common theme of how avian seed dispersal impacts plant species and communities. The over-arching conclusion of this symposium is that species composition and foraging ecology of neotropical birds have important consequences (e.g., moving seeds long distances and/or to favorable microsites seeding establishment, equalizing the abundance of common and rare seeds in seed rain, increasing genetic heterogeneity of seedling populations), which in turn are likely to shape the initial template of genetic structure among seedlings, local densities of adult plants, functional traits of plant species, and even patterns of community assembly.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Neotropical Ornithological Society
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/22644
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