Distribution of myrmecochorous species over the landscape and their potential long-distance dispersal by emus and kangaroos
MetadataShow full item record
Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Topographical heterogeneity can create a mosaic of substrate types leading to the formation of isolated plant populations. Seed dispersal then becomes crucial for the colonization of such suitable but remote substrate types. We surveyed the distribution of seven elaiosome-bearing species (myrmecochores) over 5 km 2 of natural heathland in southwestern Australia. Ants are the standard means of dispersal of these species, which provide limited dispersal (usually of a few metres). Six species were associated with particular substrate types (dune or swale) and all occurred as discrete populations, on average 270-500 m apart, with closest dune edges 280 m apart. We evaluated the possible roles of emus and kangaroos as alternative agents of long-distance seed dispersal between substrate types. Their droppings contained viable seeds of three of the target species, as well as other myrmecochores, and were evenly distributed over the substrate types. While migration of these plant species between preferred substrate types seems unlikely when considering only their standard dispersal agents (ants), it is highly likely in the presence of emus (in particular) and kangaroos that act as non-standard dispersers. This may have important consequences for plant species conservation by increasing habitat connectivity and favouring regional persistence.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Enright, Neal; Mosner, E.; Miller, Ben; Johnson, Nicole; Lamont, Byron (2007)The fire-prone shrublands of southwestern Australia are renowned for their high plant species diversity and prominence of canopy seed storage (serotiny). We compared species richness, abundance, and life history attributes ...
Craig, Robert S. (1999)The research reported in this thesis focuses on Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic fossil brachiopods of Western Australia. Although the work is primarily taxonomic, it also includes biodiversity, distribution and some aspects ...
Calvino-Cancela, Maria (2011)Seed dispersal is crucial for the success and spread of alien plants. Herbivores often establish a dual relationship with plants: antagonist, through herbivory, and mutualist, through seed dispersal. By consuming plants, ...