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How do fruit productivity, fruit traits and dietary specialization affect the role of birds in a mutualistic network?

  • Marcia L. Malanotte (a1), Tiago Machado-de-Souza (a1), Ricardo P. Campos (a1), Carmen L.O. Petkowicz (a2) and Isabela G. Varassin (a3)...

Abstract

Many plant traits might explain the different ecological and network roles of fruit-eating birds. We assessed the relationship of plant productivity, fruit traits (colour, seed size and nutritional quality) and dietary specialization, with the network roles of fruit-eating birds (number of partners, centrality and selectivity) in the Atlantic Forest, Brazil. We classified bird species according to their dietary specialization into three categories: obligate, partial and opportunistic fruit-eating birds. To test if network roles changed according to dietary specialization, fruit productivity and traits, we used a generalized linear model analysis. The selected 14 species of plant interacted with 52 bird species, which consumed 2199 fruits. The most central and generalist fruit-eating bird, Turdus albicolis, interacted with plants that produced more fruits, such as Miconia cinerascens, and had, on average, larger seeds, such as Myrcia splendens. The most selective birds interacted with fruits with a higher concentration of lipids and less intense colour, and plants that produced fewer fruits. Obligate fruit-eating birds, such as Patagioenas plumbea, were more selective than partial and opportunistic birds. Different plant traits are therefore related to the different network roles of fruit-eating birds in the Atlantic Forest, which are also dependent on bird dietary specialization.

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Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Marcia L. Malanotte, Email: mlmalanotte@gmail.com

References

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Keywords

How do fruit productivity, fruit traits and dietary specialization affect the role of birds in a mutualistic network?

  • Marcia L. Malanotte (a1), Tiago Machado-de-Souza (a1), Ricardo P. Campos (a1), Carmen L.O. Petkowicz (a2) and Isabela G. Varassin (a3)...

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