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Seed dispersal by large ungulates: a multi-stage ecological filtering process

Abstract : Multi-stage ecological filtering mechanisms including seed dispersal, abiotic constraints and biotic interactions among plants and across trophic levels act upon regional species pools to form dynamic transient plant assemblages. Large ungulates disperse seeds (zoochory), modify the environment (ecosystem engineering) and consume plants (herbivory), whereby they shape plant assemblages by intervening at different levels in the ecological filtering process. The ecological processes through which large ungulates affect the environment make ecosystems more susceptible to invasion by non-resident species, we therefore include the role of ungulates in shaping plant assemblages within the framework of the theory of invasibility proposed in 2000 by Davis and co-workers. Here, we specifically highlight how complementary zoochorous processes in a guild of large ungulates affect the composition and spatial distribution patterns of plant assemblages. First, we use a trait-based meta-analysis to show how endozoochory and hoof- and hair-epizoochory filter the regional species pool differently. Then, we show how interactions among vectors, seeds and plant traits intervene in the seed dispersal cycle (emigration, transfer and immigration). Finally, we highlight how closely ungulates combine dispersal with abiotic filters. We show that large ungulates, as selective and daily long-distance seed dispersal vectors, play a role in determining the spatial and temporal dynamics of meta-communities. These animals are likely to affect plant responses to global changes such as habitat fragmentation and climate warming, and may have contributed to plant migration patterns since the last glaciation.
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Submitted on : Saturday, May 16, 2020 - 2:11:40 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 23, 2021 - 3:08:02 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-02607422, version 1
  • IRSTEA : PUB00057471



Christophe Baltzinger, A. Albert Daviaud, M. Picard, Anders Mårell. Seed dispersal by large ungulates: a multi-stage ecological filtering process. 6th International Symposium-Workshop on Frugivory and Seed Dispersal, Jun 2015, Drakensberg, South Africa. pp.10. ⟨hal-02607422⟩



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