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Do dispersal syndromes matter? Inter-island plant dispersal across the Canary islands

AuthorsNogales, Manuel ; Arjona, Yurena; Vargas, Pablo
Issue Date24-Mar-2015
CitationFloramac (2015)
AbstractPlant colonization studies have historically been focused on how plants arrived to new territories, but actual dispersal is a matter of speculation. Alternatively, the study of morphological characteristics of plant diaspores specialized in dispersal (dispersal syndrome) offers a more objective and evolutionary approach. Oceanic archipelagos are ideal scenarios for this kind of studies because they have never been connected to mainland, so all their species arrived after long distance dispersal (LDD). In particular, four sets of diaspore traits (anemochorous, thalassochorous, epizoochorous and endozoochorous syndromes) are considered to be related to LDD over sea water barriers. Studies about LDD syndromes of oceanic islands floras shed light on the importance of dispersal syndromes as a predictor of effective dispersal to and among islands. After the study of the Azores and Galápagos islands, we address comparative analyses using the flora of the Canary Islands. This archipelago comprises 7 islands, but Fuerteventura and Lanzarote were joined in the past, so we considered for this study 6 paleo-islands. We used the 387 lowland species (lowland habitats are represented in all islands), of which 5.7% have endozoochorous, 2.3% epizoochorous, 7.2% thalassochorous and 28.4% anemochorous traits. We analized the distribution of species according to having or not LDD syndrome, and having any of the four LDD syndromes. Our results indicate that species with LDD syndromes are better distributed across the archipelago than species with unspecialized diaspores (in 3 and 2.4 paleo-islands on average, respectively). In particular, endozoochorous, epizoochorous and thalassochorous traits are associated with broader species distribution. The opposite trend was found for anemochorous species, although without significantly statistical support. These results suggest that LDD syndromes have been essential to conform the current Canarian flora, more than on previously scrutinized archipelagos, and that the evolution of angiosperm diaspores played a role in the success of LDD plant colonization.
DescriptionTrabajo presentado en Floramac celebrado en Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (España) del 24 al 27 de marzo de 2015.
Appears in Collections:(RJB) Comunicaciones congresos
(IPNA) Comunicaciones congresos
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