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Birds that disperse more types of seeds have better evolutionary potential

Publicado em 11 agosto 2021

Over 70% of flowering plant species rely on birds to disperse their seeds. Birds feed on fruits from a wide variety of plants, and bird-plant interactions make up a complex network of welters.

Studies conducted at the Institute of Biological Sciences (IB-USP) at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, show the evolutionarily stable of each. Bird seeds Depends on their location in these networks and increases with the number and centrality of interactions with potential partners Plant species And the number of network connections it maintains.

This study is funded by the Sao Paulo Research Foundation — FAPESP and reported in the journal. Chemistry..

“Birds that occupy a more central position in the network and have more connections tend to be more stable in terms of evolution,” Gustavo Brin, the first author of the article, told Agência FAPESP. Told.

According to Burin, establishing this correlation between species interactions and their evolutionary dynamics was a major challenge as it required analysis of the two processes.Seed dispersal And Evolution — Occurs on a completely different time scale. Seeds are sprayed annually and evolution takes place over millions of years.

“We have been working on this for four years and have integrated data on 468 bird species belonging to 29 seed dispersal networks,” he said. “We have demonstrated that the more connections a bird species has with a plant species, the more likely it is to evolve.

“More precisely, the higher the evolutionarily stable of a bird species, the more likely it is to observe its relative importance in the seed dispersal network, as measured by the number and pattern of interactions established by the bird species. It will be higher.

“Species that occupy a central part of the network have two important characteristics. They live longer or belong to a group that accumulates many species in a relatively short time, so when the species disappears, the other It replaces many similar species. “

in bird Examples of longevity species native to Brazil include the Rufous-bellied Thrush (Turdus rufiventris) and the Sayaca tanager (Thraupis sayaca).

“We emphasize here the importance of plant interactions on the evolutionary success of birds, but the opposite may be true in the sense that plants can rely on more birds. Race Dispersing those seeds increases the chances of breeding and surviving. In the presence of dispersed vertebrates, seeds can be carried tens of miles away from the plant. “

This mechanism is more powerful and effective in warm wetlands that are less susceptible to seasonal fluctuations. It is no coincidence that the world’s major flora and fauna biodiversity hotspots are located in the Amazon region of Colombia and Southeast Asia.

The study combined ecological data, mathematical and computational modeling, and analytical tools derived from complex network analysis. Other co-authors are Paulo Guimarães Jr. And Tiago Quental.

Birds, the core of the seed dispersal network, have a stable evolutionary lineage.

For more information:
Gustavo Burin et al, Great Evolutionary Stability Predicts Species Interaction Patterns in Seed Dispersal Networks, Chemistry (2021). DOI: 10.1126 / science.abf0556

Quote: Birds that disperse more species of seeds are more likely to evolve (August 11, 2021).

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Birds that disperse more types of seeds have better evolutionary potential

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