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Strong among population variation in frugivory strength by functional diverse frugivores: a ‘reciprocal translocation’ experiment

AuthorsGarrote, Pedro J.; Calvo, Gemma ; Żywiec, Magdalena; Delibes, M. ; Suárez-Esteban, Alberto ; Fedriani, José M.
KeywordsInteraction strength
Fruit reward
Pulp feeding
Seed dispersal/predation
Spatial variations
Functional diversity
Issue Date2018
CitationOecologia 187: 143- 154 (2018)
AbstractFruit–frugivore interactions are critical for the dynamics and evolution of many plant communities. The strength of the interactions between a given plant species and different frugivore guilds (e.g., seed dispersers, seed predators) often vary in space due to changes in plant extrinsic factors (e.g., frugivore abundances) and plant traits (e.g., fruit size and reward). By reciprocally translocating Pyrus bourgaeana ripe fruits representative of five Mediterranean localities during 2 consecutive years, we experimentally quantified guild-specific variations among populations in frugivory strength, while accounted for plant-intrinsic and- extrinsic factors. Though overall fruit removal did not differ among localities, there were strong guild-specific differences in fruit removal strength. Fruit removal by pulp feeders, seed dispersers, and fruit predators varied among populations up to 8.5-, 5.6-, and 4.0-folds, respectively. These strong variations seemed mediated by changes in frugivore relative abundances rather than on availability of alternative fruits. As expected, all fruit traits considered (e.g., fruit size, pulp amount) markedly varied among tree populations. However, no frugivore guild showed preference for fruits from any locality, suggesting that fruit traits did not contribute much to differences in frugivory strength among populations. Since the functional diverse frugivore guilds played contrasting roles in P. bourgaeana dynamics (e.g., seed dispersal vs. seed predation), our study highlights the importance of accounting for functional diversity in frugivore guilds when estimating spatial variations in the strenght of seed dispersal. This investigation also illustrates a neglected but widely applicable experimental approach to identify the relative importance of extrinsic factors and fruit traits in mediating fruit–frugivore interactions.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s00442-018-4102-x
issn: 0029-8549
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