Plant animal mutualism effectiveness in native and transformed habitats: assessing the coupled outcomes of pollination and seed dispersal
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Most flowering plants depend on biotic pollination and seed dispersal for reproductive success. Pollination and seed dispersal are generalized mutualistic interactions, in which species with different effectiveness levels participate. However, anthropogenic habitat disturbance may hamper the impact of mutualists, jeopardizing plant establishment and recruitment. Important as it is, the effect of habitat transformation on the joint contribution of pollinators and seed dispersers to plant reproduction remains little explored. To assess the effects of habitat transformation on the effectiveness of pollination and seed dispersal processes, we studied a highly specialized system that consists of a hemiparasitic mistletoe, one hummingbird pollinator, and one marsupial seed disperser species that inhabit native and transformed habitats in southern Chile. Pollination and seed dispersal effectiveness landscapes were highly variable and did not differ between habitats. Pollinator visitation and fruit removal were higher at the transformed habitat whereas seed disperser visitation and fruit set were higher at the native habitat, probably due to differences in structure and resource availability between habitats. In consequence, and contrary to our expectations, the coupled outcome of pollination and seed dispersal was higher at the transformed habitat, suggesting that persistence of the tripartite mutualism in the overall system is benefitted from the presence of a native understory vegetation that attracts pollinators and seed dispersers and compensates for the often detrimental effects of habitat transformation.
American Society of Mammalogists Scott Neotropical Fund program of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo & Cleveland Zoological Society People's Trust for Endangered Species Rufford Small Grants Foundation 10621-1 Idea Wild Chilean Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT) AT-24121082 FONDECYT project 3140528 11160152
Artículo de publicación ISI
Quote ItemPerspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 28 (2017) 87–95
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