COMMUNITY ECOLOGY

Measuring effective dispersal

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  10 Apr 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6231, pp. 197-198
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6231.197-c

Gallotia galloti is an important seed disperser on Tenerife

IMAGE: © CULTURA RM/ALAMY

Dispersal fundamentally shapes ecological communities and maintains biodiversity, yet it is extremely difficult to quantify. Estimating seed dispersal effectiveness (SDE) requires measurement of both the number of seeds dispersed and the probability of successful germination. González-Castro et al. laboriously measured the SDE of frugivorous lizards and birds as dispersers of seeds over 6 years in plant communities on the oceanic island of Tenerife. Their results allowed for comparisons between the SDE of the two main frugivore groups for different plant species and different communities (such as woodland and shrubland), revealing the networks of mutualistic interactions that underpin community persistence.

Ecology 96, 808 (2015).

Navigate This Article