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Institute/Center: CSIC - Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD)

Author: Juan Pedro González-Varo, Pedro Jordano Barbudo

Seed dispersal constitutes a pivotal process in an increasingly fragmented world, promoting population connectivity, colonization and range shifts in plants. Unveiling how multiple frugivore species disperse seeds through fragmented landscapes, operating as mobile links, has remained elusive owing to methodological constraints for monitoring seed dispersal events. We combine for the first time DNA barcoding and DNA microsatellites to identify, respectively, the frugivore species and the source trees of animal‐dispersed seeds in forest and matrix of a fragmented landscape. We found a high functional complementarity among frugivores in terms of seed deposition at different habitats (forest vs. matrix), perches (isolated trees vs. electricity pylons) and matrix sectors (close vs. far from the forest edge), cross‐habitat seed fluxes, dispersal distances and canopy‐cover dependency. This study helps to broaden the “mobile‐link” concept in seed dispersal studies by providing a comprehensive and integrative view of the way in which multiple frugivore species disseminate seeds through real‐world landscapes.

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Seed dispersal events in a fragmented Mediterranean landscape, with seed dissemination promoted by animal frugivores.