Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1890/13-0718.1
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Title (Primary) Hierarchical mechanisms of spatially contagious seed dispersal in complex seed-disperser networks
Author Fedriani, J.M.; Wiegand, T.
Source Titel Ecology
Year 2014
Department OESA
Volume 95
Issue 2
Page From 514
Page To 526
Language englisch
UFZ wide themes RU5;

Intra and interspecific spatially contagious seed dispersal has far-reaching implications for plant recruitment, distribution, and community assemblage. However, logistical and analytical limitations have curtailed our understanding concerning the mechanisms and resulting spatial patterns of contagious seed dispersal in most systems and, especially, in complex seed-disperser networks. We investigated mechanisms of seed aggregation using techniques of spatial point pattern analysis and extensive datasets on mutispecific endozoochorous seed rain generated by five frugivorous mammals in three Mediterranean shrublands over two seasons. Our novel analytical approach revealed three hierarchical and complementary mechanisms of seed aggregation acting at different levels (fecal samples, seeds, pairs of seed species) and spatial scales. First, the three local guilds of frugivores tended to deliver their feces highly aggregated at small and intermediate spatial scales, and the overall pattern of fecal delivery could be described well by a nested double-cluster Thomas process. Second, once the strong observed fecal aggregation was accounted for, the distribution of mammal feces containing seeds was clustered within the pattern of all feces (i.e., with and without seeds), and the density of fecal samples containing seeds was higher than expected around other feces containing seeds in two out of the three studied seed-dispersed networks. Finally, at a finer level, mark-correlation analyses revealed that for some plant species pairs the number of dispersed seeds was positively associated either at small or large spatial scales. Despite the relative invariant patterning of nested double-clustering, some attributes of endozoochorous seed rain (e.g., intensity, scales of aggregation) were variable among study sites due to changes in the ecological context in which seeds and their dispersers interact. Our investigation disentangles for the first time the hierarchy of synergic mechanisms of spatially contagious seed dispersal at a range of spatial scales in complex seed-disperser networks, providing thus a robust and widely applicable framework for future studies.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Fedriani, J.M., Wiegand, T. (2014):
Hierarchical mechanisms of spatially contagious seed dispersal in complex seed-disperser networks
Ecology 95 (2), 514 - 526 10.1890/13-0718.1