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Giant tortoises, lizards and birds Ensure the dispersal of seeds in The oceanic islands

Seed dispersal is a crucial phase in the life cycle of all spermatophytes
Or seedlings. An international team led by the Higher Council of
(CSIC) has studied this process in the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), located in the Pacific Ocean, and the conclusion they have reached is that it is
Participation of different types of vertebrates is necessary in order to ensure
Healthy dynamics in oceanic island ecosystems. The work is published in the
Reviewed Ecology.

Islands offer the opportunity to analyze less complex
And for this purpose, scientists have studied
Main environments of this volcanic archipelago of between three and four million
Years: the arid zone and the humid zone. The work highlights the dispersion of seeds
Through ingestion of five types of animals: giant tortoises,
Lava, medium-sized birds, small birds “no finches” and finches
Endemic to these islands. In total, in the Galapagos Islands, 16 species of
Vertebrates dispersing seeds from at least 58 plant species.


“We have detected that there are differences between the five groups of animals.
Based on the number of seeds present in the excrement, we can conclude
That giant turtles and medium-sized birds disperse a greater number of them. Without
However, small birds are more efficient when
Seeds can become adult plants, “explains Manuel Nogales, researcher
Of the CSIC in the Institute of Natural Products and Agrobiology of the Canary Islands.

Knowing the contribution of each species in the dispersion of seeds is fundamental,
According to the researchers, since, at the global level, 90% of species of
Birds and 75% of mammals that have become extinct have done so in the islands
Oceanic And if the species that disperses the seeds of a plant disappears,
Could be adversely affected when dispersing their seeds.

Source :Consejo Superior de Investigaciones

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