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PLoS One. 2007 Oct 10;2(10):e1008.

Predicting spatial patterns of plant recruitment using animal-displacement kernels.

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  • 1Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA, CSIC-UIB), Esporles, Mallorca, Spain. luis.santamaria@uib.es

Abstract

For plants dispersed by frugivores, spatial patterns of recruitment are primarily influenced by the spatial arrangement and characteristics of parent plants, the digestive characteristics, feeding behaviour and movement patterns of animal dispersers, and the structure of the habitat matrix. We used an individual-based, spatially-explicit framework to characterize seed dispersal and seedling fate in an endangered, insular plant-disperser system: the endemic shrub Daphne rodriguezii and its exclusive disperser, the endemic lizard Podarcis lilfordi. Plant recruitment kernels were chiefly determined by the disperser's patterns of space utilization (i.e. the lizard's displacement kernels), the position of the various plant individuals in relation to them, and habitat structure (vegetation cover vs. bare soil). In contrast to our expectations, seed gut-passage rate and its effects on germination, and lizard speed-of-movement, habitat choice and activity rhythm were of minor importance. Predicted plant recruitment kernels were strongly anisotropic and fine-grained, preventing their description using one-dimensional, frequency-distance curves. We found a general trade-off between recruitment probability and dispersal distance; however, optimal recruitment sites were not necessarily associated to sites of maximal adult-plant density. Conservation efforts aimed at enhancing the regeneration of endangered plant-disperser systems may gain in efficacy by manipulating the spatial distribution of dispersers (e.g. through the creation of refuges and feeding sites) to create areas favourable to plant recruitment.

PMID:
17925856
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1999654
Free PMC Article

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