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Contrasting patterns of seed dispersal between alien mammals and native lizards in a declining plant species

AuthorsCeledón-Neghme, Constanza ; Traveset, Anna ; Calviño-Cancela, María
Cneorum tricoccon
Seed dispersal disruption
Seedling recruitment
Balearic Islands
Issue DateApr-2013
PublisherKluwer Academic Publishers
CitationPlant Ecology 214: 657-667 (2013)
AbstractThe introduction of carnivorous mammals has led many native island species to extinction. In the Balearic Islands, the introduction of carnivorous mammals in the main islands has contributed to the extinction of the endemic lizard Podarcis lilfordi, which is an important seed disperser of many plant species. One of the introduced mammals, Martes martes (pine marten), is also known to disperse seeds and may replace the native lizard in this role in islands. However, little is known on the patterns of seed dispersal by these two different species and their possible implications for plant regeneration ability and population structure. We have compared the quality of seed deposition provided by both to the vulnerable Mediterranean shrub Cneorum tricoccon, by studying the pattern of seed distribution among sites generated by both dispersers as well as the suitability of those sites for seedling emergence and establishment. The study was carried out in two types of habitats (coastal shrublands and pine forests) and two islands (Mallorca and Dragonera). Lizards and mammals showed contrasting patterns of seed deposition and, where lizards were absent, mammals played their role as seed dispersers in pine forests but not in coastal shrublands. The lack of seed dispersal in the coastal shrubland seriously limits recruitment, by concentrating seeds under conspecifics and hindering colonisation opportunities, marking a long-term trend towards decline. The introduced predator replaces the native seed disperser in its service where it has gone extinct, although with important differences in the dispersal service provided. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11258-013-0197-7
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s11258-013-0197-7
issn: 1385-0237
Appears in Collections:(IMEDEA) Artículos
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