PATTERNS OF BILBERRY DISPERSAL IN A HIGHLY HUMANIZED PROTECTED AREA: A PRELIMINARY STUDY
García-Rodríguez, A., Albrecht, J., Farwig, N., Schabo, D. G. and Selva, N. (2018). PATTERNS OF BILBERRY DISPERSAL IN A HIGHLY HUMANIZED PROTECTED AREA: A PRELIMINARY STUDY. 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. doi: 10.17011/conference/eccb2018/108104
© the Authors, 2018
Frugivory and the associated removal of seeds is an important ecosystem function, which - in temperate region - is carried out mainly by mammals and birds. The bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) is a low-growing shrub very important economically across the world and also a very important food resource for a wide range of animal species, such as the brown bear or the western capercaillie. Bilberry populations usually expand their size by clonal propagation but, under very specific conditions, seedling recruitment can also happen and is very important for gene flow among populations and establishment of new populations. We investigated the community of dispersers of the bilberry species in Tatra National Park, southern Poland, a biosphere reserve that attracts up to three million tourists per year and holds more than 270 kilometers of public hiking and ski trails. From mid-July to mid-October 2017 we collected all bird droppings and mammal scats containing bilberry remains on six different transects (1.5 kilometer length and 3 meter width each) in both restricted and public sites along a 750 meter altitudinal gradient in four rounds. We found 10 times more bird droppings than mammal scats. The dispersal rate at the beginning of the berry season was lower and an altitudinal shift of dispersers towards higher elevations was recorded at the end of the berry season. We also found a trend indicating that bilberry dispersers use more often the restricted areas than the public ones. We present preliminary results on the composition of the community of birds and mammals that disperse bilberry seeds, based on DNA barcoding of the faecal samples. We discuss the implications of protected areas for the maintenance of animal-mediated seed dispersal, as a key ecological process contributing to plant regeneration. ...
PublisherOpen Science Centre, University of Jyväskylä
ConferenceECCB2018: 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. 12th - 15th of June 2018, Jyväskylä, Finland
MetadataShow full item record
- ECCB 2018 
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