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Fruit consumption by Chrysocyon brachyurus (Illiger, 1815) (Carnivora, Canidae): effects of being eaten and their implications for Cerrado conservation

Grant number: 19/20893-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2020
Effective date (End): October 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Applied Ecology
Principal researcher:Igor Paiva Ramos
Grantee:Samia Cardoso dos Reis
Home Institution: Faculdade de Engenharia (FEIS). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Ilha Solteira. Ilha Solteira , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Endozoocoria is a fundamental proccess for many vegetal species, and could be the main dispersal mechanism for most of them, allowing the seeds to reach suitable areas for germination and growth, as well as contributing to break their physiological dormancy, facilitating germination. In the Brazilian Cerrado areas, the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is recognized as an important seed disperser species. However, the fact that these canids consume fruits does not necessarily imply that the dispersed seeds are viable for germination. Due to passage through the digestive tract of the animal, the viability of the seeds may be affected making germination unfeasible. Thus, the present proposal aims to evaluate if the passage of the seeds of some fruits of the Brazilian Cerrado through the C. brachyurus digestive tract affects the viability, germination speed (average germination time) and percentage of germinated seeds. Selected Cerrado fruits ("araçá", wolffruit, guava, "jaboticaba" and field quince) will be offered to specimens of C. brachyurus held in captive at the Ilha Solteira Wildlife Conservation Center, SP. The feces of the canids will be collected after offering the fruits to the animals, packed in plastic bags and taken to the Fish Ecology Laboratory, FEIS - UNESP. The seeds will be separated from the feces, washed and dried on absorbent paper at ambiente temperature (maned wolf treatment). Subsequently, they will be placed in germination boxes (four replications per vegetable species with 50 seeds each), using sand as substrate, and stored in a greenhouse without control of environmental variables to conduct the germination testo f seeds. To the control treatment, the seeds will be removed from the fruits and the next procedures are identical to those described above. Both treatments will be conducted concomitantly. The results of the control and maned wolf treatments will be compared employing the analysis of variance. Statistical analyzes will be performed using the Bioestat 5.3 program. As a hypothesis, it is expected that the seeds from the maned wolf treatment present a higher percentage and shorter average germination time. (AU)

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