Seed dispersers, seed predators, and browsers act synergistically as biotic filters in a mosaic landscape
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Public Library of Science (PLOS)
Zamora, R.; Matías, L. Seed dispersers, seed predators, and browsers act synergistically as biotic filters in a mosaic landscape. Plos One, 9(9): e107385 (2014). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/33349]
PatrocinadorThis work was supported by Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (Spanish Government) Project CGL2011-29910 to R.Z. and by EU Marie Curie Fellowship to L.M (FP7-2011-IEF-300825).
In this study, we analize the functional influence of animals on the plants they interact with in a mediterranean mountain. We hypothesise that seed dispersers, seed predators, and browsers can act as biotic filters for plant communities. We analyse the combined effects of mutualistic (seed dispersal) and antagonistic (seed predation, herbivory) animal interactions in a mosaic landscape of Mediterranean mountains, basing our results on observational and experimental field. Most of the dispersed seeds came from tree species, whereas the population of saplings was composed predominantly of zoochorous shrub species. Seed predators preferentially consumed seeds from tree species, whereas seeds from the dominant fleshy-fruited shrubs had a higher probability of escaping these predators. The same pattern was repeated among the different landscape units by browsers, since they browsed selectively and far more intensely on tree-species saplings than on the surrounding shrubs. In synthesis, our work identifies the major biotic processes that appear to be favoring a community dominated by shrubs versus trees because seed dispersers, predators, and herbivores together favored shrub dispersal and establishment versus trees.