Rare species play limited ecological roles, but particular behavioral traits may predispose species to become functionally extinct before becoming rare. Flying foxes (Pteropodid fruit bats) are important dispersers of large seeds, but their effectiveness is hypothesized to depend on high population density that induces aggressive interactions. In a Pacific archipelago, we quantified the proportion of seeds that flying foxes dispersed beyond the fruiting canopy, across a range of sites that differed in flying fox abundance. We found the relationship between ecological function (seed dispersal) and flying fox abundance was nonlinear and consistent with the hypothesis. For most trees in sites below a threshold abundance of flying foxes, flying foxes dispersed <1%% of the seeds they handled. Above the threshold, dispersal away from trees increased to 58%% as animal abundance approximately doubled. Hence, flying foxes may cease to be effective seed dispersers long before becoming rare. As many species' populations decline worldwide, identifying those with threshold relationships is an important precursor to preservation of ecologically effective densities.
Ecology – Ecological Society of America
Published: Feb 1, 2006
Keywords: ecological extinction ; ecological function ; ecologically effective densities ; flying foxes ; population decline ; Pteropus tonganus ; seed dispersal ; threshold ; Tonga, Polynesia
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera