Location: Beni Biological Station, Bolivia
Research: Consequences of Seed Dispersal by Different Avian Dispersers of Guettarda viburnoides (Rubiaceae) in the Savannas of Beni, Bolivia
Species/Topic: Guettarda viburnoides (RUB.) and its avian dispersers
Abstract: Seed dispersal by vertebrates is a key ecological process in the tropics. However, not all dispersers provide equal benefits to plants, and differences in foraging behavior can lead to differences in dispersal effectiveness. To evaluate the species-specific roles of birds as dispersers, we must bridge the gap between seed dispersal and post-dispersal seed fate. Thus, the goal of this study is to investigate the consequences of avian dispersal for recruitment of G. viburnoides in a Neotropical savanna by providing a detailed assessment of the processes that mediate seed deposition and early recruitment patterns. The results will make a valuable contribution to tropical ecology and conservation by assessing the complex role frugivores play in the ecological dynamics of plant populations, the degree to which ecological function can be substituted by different members of an ecological guild, and the importance of birds as 'mobile links' maintaining connectivity in fragmented landscapes.