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Parrots as key multilinkers in ecosystem structure and functioning.

Blanco G, Hiraldo F, Rojas A, Dénes FV, Tella JL - Ecol Evol (2015)

Bottom Line: Mutually enhancing organisms can become reciprocal determinants of their distribution, abundance, and demography and thus influence ecosystem structure and dynamics.The number of complementary and redundant mutualistic functions provided by parrots to each plant species was positively related to the number of different kinds of food extracted from them.These mutually enhancing interactions were reflected in species-level properties (e.g., biomass or dominance) of both partners, as a likely consequence of the temporal convergence of eco-(co)evolutionary dynamics shaping the ongoing structure and organization of the ecosystem.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Evolutionary Ecology Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales CSIC José Gutiérrez Abascal 2 28006 Madrid Spain.

ABSTRACT
Mutually enhancing organisms can become reciprocal determinants of their distribution, abundance, and demography and thus influence ecosystem structure and dynamics. In addition to the prevailing view of parrots (Psittaciformes) as plant antagonists, we assessed whether they can act as plant mutualists in the dry tropical forest of the Bolivian inter-Andean valleys, an ecosystem particularly poor in vertebrate frugivores other than parrots (nine species). We hypothesised that if interactions between parrots and their food plants evolved as primarily or facultatively mutualistic, selection should have acted to maximize the strength of their interactions by increasing the amount and variety of resources and services involved in particular pairwise and community-wide interaction contexts. Food plants showed different growth habits across a wide phylogenetic spectrum, implying that parrots behave as super-generalists exploiting resources differing in phenology, type, biomass, and rewards from a high diversity of plants (113 species from 38 families). Through their feeding activities, parrots provided multiple services acting as genetic linkers, seed facilitators for secondary dispersers, and plant protectors, and therefore can be considered key mutualists with a pervasive impact on plant assemblages. The number of complementary and redundant mutualistic functions provided by parrots to each plant species was positively related to the number of different kinds of food extracted from them. These mutually enhancing interactions were reflected in species-level properties (e.g., biomass or dominance) of both partners, as a likely consequence of the temporal convergence of eco-(co)evolutionary dynamics shaping the ongoing structure and organization of the ecosystem. A full assessment of the, thus far largely overlooked, parrot-plant mutualisms and other ecological linkages could change the current perception of the role of parrots in the structure, organization, and functioning of ecosystems.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

(A) Mean ± SE number of different kinds of resources exploited by the parrot community (Trophic Interactionsplants), according to growth form and fruit type of their food plants. (B) Relationship between the number of mutualistic services provided by the parrot community to each of their food plants (Mutualistic Interactionsplants) and the different kinds of food extracted from them (Trophic Interactionsplants). (C) Relationships between the number of mutualistic functions provided by each parrot species to their food plants (Mutualistic Interactionsparrots) and the species‐specific parrot biomass (kg/km2). Regression lines of the correlations were shown for graphical representation of trends.
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ece31663-fig-0005: (A) Mean ± SE number of different kinds of resources exploited by the parrot community (Trophic Interactionsplants), according to growth form and fruit type of their food plants. (B) Relationship between the number of mutualistic services provided by the parrot community to each of their food plants (Mutualistic Interactionsplants) and the different kinds of food extracted from them (Trophic Interactionsplants). (C) Relationships between the number of mutualistic functions provided by each parrot species to their food plants (Mutualistic Interactionsparrots) and the species‐specific parrot biomass (kg/km2). Regression lines of the correlations were shown for graphical representation of trends.

Mentions: The comparative importance in qualitative terms of each plant species as suppliers of different kinds of food for the parrot community was higher for woody plants, especially large trees and cacti that represented a major proportion of forest biomass (Trophic Interactionsplants, Wald χ2 = 4 9.19, P < 0.0001, df = 3, Fig. 5A). As expected, a higher number of Trophic Interactionsplants was also found for fleshy fruited plants when compared with dry‐fruited plants (Wald χ2 = 18.10, P < 0.0001, df = 1 Fig. 5A).


Parrots as key multilinkers in ecosystem structure and functioning.

Blanco G, Hiraldo F, Rojas A, Dénes FV, Tella JL - Ecol Evol (2015)

(A) Mean ± SE number of different kinds of resources exploited by the parrot community (Trophic Interactionsplants), according to growth form and fruit type of their food plants. (B) Relationship between the number of mutualistic services provided by the parrot community to each of their food plants (Mutualistic Interactionsplants) and the different kinds of food extracted from them (Trophic Interactionsplants). (C) Relationships between the number of mutualistic functions provided by each parrot species to their food plants (Mutualistic Interactionsparrots) and the species‐specific parrot biomass (kg/km2). Regression lines of the correlations were shown for graphical representation of trends.
© Copyright Policy - creativeCommonsBy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4588639&req=5

ece31663-fig-0005: (A) Mean ± SE number of different kinds of resources exploited by the parrot community (Trophic Interactionsplants), according to growth form and fruit type of their food plants. (B) Relationship between the number of mutualistic services provided by the parrot community to each of their food plants (Mutualistic Interactionsplants) and the different kinds of food extracted from them (Trophic Interactionsplants). (C) Relationships between the number of mutualistic functions provided by each parrot species to their food plants (Mutualistic Interactionsparrots) and the species‐specific parrot biomass (kg/km2). Regression lines of the correlations were shown for graphical representation of trends.
Mentions: The comparative importance in qualitative terms of each plant species as suppliers of different kinds of food for the parrot community was higher for woody plants, especially large trees and cacti that represented a major proportion of forest biomass (Trophic Interactionsplants, Wald χ2 = 4 9.19, P < 0.0001, df = 3, Fig. 5A). As expected, a higher number of Trophic Interactionsplants was also found for fleshy fruited plants when compared with dry‐fruited plants (Wald χ2 = 18.10, P < 0.0001, df = 1 Fig. 5A).

Bottom Line: Mutually enhancing organisms can become reciprocal determinants of their distribution, abundance, and demography and thus influence ecosystem structure and dynamics.The number of complementary and redundant mutualistic functions provided by parrots to each plant species was positively related to the number of different kinds of food extracted from them.These mutually enhancing interactions were reflected in species-level properties (e.g., biomass or dominance) of both partners, as a likely consequence of the temporal convergence of eco-(co)evolutionary dynamics shaping the ongoing structure and organization of the ecosystem.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Evolutionary Ecology Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales CSIC José Gutiérrez Abascal 2 28006 Madrid Spain.

ABSTRACT
Mutually enhancing organisms can become reciprocal determinants of their distribution, abundance, and demography and thus influence ecosystem structure and dynamics. In addition to the prevailing view of parrots (Psittaciformes) as plant antagonists, we assessed whether they can act as plant mutualists in the dry tropical forest of the Bolivian inter-Andean valleys, an ecosystem particularly poor in vertebrate frugivores other than parrots (nine species). We hypothesised that if interactions between parrots and their food plants evolved as primarily or facultatively mutualistic, selection should have acted to maximize the strength of their interactions by increasing the amount and variety of resources and services involved in particular pairwise and community-wide interaction contexts. Food plants showed different growth habits across a wide phylogenetic spectrum, implying that parrots behave as super-generalists exploiting resources differing in phenology, type, biomass, and rewards from a high diversity of plants (113 species from 38 families). Through their feeding activities, parrots provided multiple services acting as genetic linkers, seed facilitators for secondary dispersers, and plant protectors, and therefore can be considered key mutualists with a pervasive impact on plant assemblages. The number of complementary and redundant mutualistic functions provided by parrots to each plant species was positively related to the number of different kinds of food extracted from them. These mutually enhancing interactions were reflected in species-level properties (e.g., biomass or dominance) of both partners, as a likely consequence of the temporal convergence of eco-(co)evolutionary dynamics shaping the ongoing structure and organization of the ecosystem. A full assessment of the, thus far largely overlooked, parrot-plant mutualisms and other ecological linkages could change the current perception of the role of parrots in the structure, organization, and functioning of ecosystems.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus