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Complementarity of epi- and endozoochory of plant seeds by free ranging donkeys
Couvreur, M.; Cosyns, E.; Hermy, M.; Hoffmann, M. (2005). Complementarity of epi- and endozoochory of plant seeds by free ranging donkeys. Ecography 28(1): 37-48
In: Ecography. Munksgaard International: Copenhagen. ISSN 0906-7590; e-ISSN 1600-0587, more
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    Epizoochory and endozoochory are well-recognized long-distance seed dispersalmechanisms, yet their relative importance has hardly been studied before. Here, epiandendozoochory were compared on donkeys foraging in a species-rich 100 ha coastaldune ecosystem, through in vitro germination of zoochorous material obtained by furbrushing and dung collection.We identified 6675 seedlings of 66 plant species, covering20% of the species recorded in the study area. Of the 66 species, only 16 occurred inboth epi- and endozoochory samples, demonstrating the complementarity of bothdispersal mechanisms. The species composition in the zoochory samples reflected astrong seasonality, and seedling numbers were partly correlated with species abundancein the study area. The non-zoochorously dispersed species in the study area differedfrom the zoochorous species in seed size and weight, plant height, life span, dispersalstrategy and seedbank persistence. Dispersal-relevant plant traits were used to derivedispersal-functional plant types for all species in the study area. Epizoochory showedto be more specific than endozoochory and was associated with a more narrow range ofdispersal-functional plant types.

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