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Mutualistic interactions: analysis of a hyper-diverse seed dispersal network in a biodiversity hotspot

Grant number: 18/06634-5
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): January 21, 2019
Effective date (End): December 20, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:Laurence Marianne Vincianne Culot
Grantee:Lisieux Franco Fuzessy
Supervisor abroad: Pedro Jordano
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil
Local de pesquisa : Estación Biológica de Doñana, Spain  
Associated to the scholarship:17/07954-0 - The influence of primate functional groups on post-dispersal seed fate and conservation outcomes, BP.PD

Abstract

Ecological interactions fuel the coevolution of flowering plants and animals. An assembly of frugivorous species act as mutualists and antagonists for several plant species, and simultaneously with abiotic factors, phylogenetic and developmental constraints, form a web-like system, which is usually described by a network approach. The role of large vertebrates, such as primates, has not been taken into account in most of the seed-dispersal networks in the available literature, although real-world frugivore assemblages include distinct types of vertebrate higher taxa. Here we aim to assess the role of individual species within a mega-diversified network structure of the last Atlantic Forest continuum of more than 120,000 ha in south-eastern Brazil. We will analyze the degree of complementarity and functional redundancy between primate frugivores and other animal mutualists in their seed dispersal functions. We will firstly use an integrative approach that considers primates as an important part of a complex system of ecological interactions rather than as sole actors, and thus identify the network structure, describe animal and fruit traits, phylogeny effects, and finally uncover individual and complementary roles among the major frugivore groups in Neotropics.