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Autor(s):M. Nogales, A. Gonzalez-Castro, P. Marrero, E. Bonnaud, A. Traveset,
Títol:Contrasting Selective Pressures on Seed Traits of Two Congeneric Species by Their Main Native Guilds of Dispersers on Islands
Revista:PLoS One
JCR Impact Factor:3.534

Many fleshy-fruited plants from the Mediterranean and Macaronesian islands are dispersed through endozoochory. In mainland Mediterranean areas, reciprocal adaptations have been found between plants and animals, although evidence is scarce. On small isolated oceanic islands, such reciprocal adaptations might well be more prevalent due to intrinsic island traits. Here we evaluate the existence of selective pressures exerted by two different disperser guilds (lizards and birds) on two seed traits (seed coat thickness and seed germination pattern) of two congeneric species present on Mediterranean and Macaronesian islands. In the continental Balearic Islands, Rubia peregrina has evolved mostly with birds, although frugivorous lizards are present in some of these islands and are known to eventually consume its fruits. By contrast, R. fruticosa, endemic to the Macaronesian archipelago, has evolved mostly interacting with lizards and only recently with birds. We hypothesized that R. fruticosa would be especially adapted to saurochory, with thicker seed coats and higher germination proportion, whereas R. peregrina would be more adapted to ornithocory, with thinner seed coats and showing a lower germination percentage after being ingested by lizards. Captivity experiments of seed ingestions by natural and non-natural dispersers (i.e., frugivores that have not evolved with those plants) were conducted. Results suggest that dispersers did not exert any strong enough selective pressure to induce changes in germination patterns. We attribute this to the fact that the Rubiaceae is an ancestral family in the Mediterranean (both on continent and islands) and thus probably interacted with lizards in the past. Lastly, although we hold that the seed coat structure of R. fruticosa is probably associated with its evolutionary success after a long interaction with insular lizards, our findings support the idea that the relationship between endozoochorous plants and the guild of dispersers with whom they evolved is rather unspecific. © 2013 Nogales et al.

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