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Perturbed partners: opposite responses of plant and animal mutualist guilds to inundation disturbances

Prinzing, Andreas; Dauber, Lens; Hammer, Edith LU ; Hammouti, Nasera and Boehning-Gaese, Katrin (2007) In Oikos 116(8). p.1299-1310
Abstract
Mutualists have been suggested to play an important role in the assembly of many plant and animal communities, but it is not clear how this depends on environmental factors. Do, for instance, natural disturbances increase or decrease the role of mutualism? We focused on entire guilds of mutualists, studying seed-dispersing ants and ant-dispersed plants along gradients of inundation disturbances. We first studied how abundance and richness of the mutualists, relative to non-mutualists, change along 35 small-scale gradients of inundation disturbances. We found that at disturbed sites, mutualistic plant species, those that reproduce by seeds dispersed by ants, increased in abundance and in consequences in richness, relative to other... (More)
Mutualists have been suggested to play an important role in the assembly of many plant and animal communities, but it is not clear how this depends on environmental factors. Do, for instance, natural disturbances increase or decrease the role of mutualism? We focused on entire guilds of mutualists, studying seed-dispersing ants and ant-dispersed plants along gradients of inundation disturbances. We first studied how abundance and richness of the mutualists, relative to non-mutualists, change along 35 small-scale gradients of inundation disturbances. We found that at disturbed sites, mutualistic plant species, those that reproduce by seeds dispersed by ants, increased in abundance and in consequences in richness, relative to other herbaceous plants. In contrast, we found that among the epigeic arthropods the abundance of mutualists declined, even more so than other arthropods. Correspondingly, distributions of plant and animal mutualists became increasingly discordant at disturbed sites: most plant mutualists were spatially separated from most animal mutualists. We finally found that high abundances of plant mutualists did not translate into a high nutrition service rendered to ants: at disturbed sites, many of the plants of ant-dispersed species did not produce seeds, which coincided with a decline in seed dispersal by ants and a changing searching behavior of the ants. Overall, the small-scale natural disturbances we studied were correlated to a major change in the assembly of mutualist guilds. However, the correlation was often opposite between interacting plant and animal mutualist guilds and may thus reduce the potential interaction between them. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Oikos
volume
116
issue
8
pages
1299 - 1310
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • wos:000248681100005
  • scopus:34447626820
ISSN
1600-0706
DOI
10.1111/j.0030-1299.2007.15738.x
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
f708cf29-9291-4750-bb24-8aff4929b0dd (old id 688773)
date added to LUP
2007-12-20 08:00:57
date last changed
2017-07-30 03:36:29
@article{f708cf29-9291-4750-bb24-8aff4929b0dd,
  abstract     = {Mutualists have been suggested to play an important role in the assembly of many plant and animal communities, but it is not clear how this depends on environmental factors. Do, for instance, natural disturbances increase or decrease the role of mutualism? We focused on entire guilds of mutualists, studying seed-dispersing ants and ant-dispersed plants along gradients of inundation disturbances. We first studied how abundance and richness of the mutualists, relative to non-mutualists, change along 35 small-scale gradients of inundation disturbances. We found that at disturbed sites, mutualistic plant species, those that reproduce by seeds dispersed by ants, increased in abundance and in consequences in richness, relative to other herbaceous plants. In contrast, we found that among the epigeic arthropods the abundance of mutualists declined, even more so than other arthropods. Correspondingly, distributions of plant and animal mutualists became increasingly discordant at disturbed sites: most plant mutualists were spatially separated from most animal mutualists. We finally found that high abundances of plant mutualists did not translate into a high nutrition service rendered to ants: at disturbed sites, many of the plants of ant-dispersed species did not produce seeds, which coincided with a decline in seed dispersal by ants and a changing searching behavior of the ants. Overall, the small-scale natural disturbances we studied were correlated to a major change in the assembly of mutualist guilds. However, the correlation was often opposite between interacting plant and animal mutualist guilds and may thus reduce the potential interaction between them.},
  author       = {Prinzing, Andreas and Dauber, Lens and Hammer, Edith and Hammouti, Nasera and Boehning-Gaese, Katrin},
  issn         = {1600-0706},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {8},
  pages        = {1299--1310},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Oikos},
  title        = {Perturbed partners: opposite responses of plant and animal mutualist guilds to inundation disturbances},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0030-1299.2007.15738.x},
  volume       = {116},
  year         = {2007},
}