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Small Tent-Roosting Bats Promote Dispersal of Large-Seeded Plants in a Neotropical Forest
Melo, F P L
Chazdon, Robin L
Medellin, R A
Ceballos, G G
In Neotropical regions, fruit bats are among the most important components of the remaining fauna in disturbed landscapes. These relatively small-bodied bats are well-known dispersal agents for many small-seeded plant species, but are assumed to play a negligible role in the dispersal of large-seeded plants. We investigated the importance of the small tent-roosting bat Artibeus watsoni for dispersal of large seeds in the Sarapiquí Basin, Costa Rica. We registered at least 43 seed species > 8 mm beneath bat roosts, but a species accumulation curve suggests that this number would increase with further sampling. Samples collected beneath bat feeding roosts had, on average, 10 times more seeds and species than samples collected 5 m away from bat feeding roosts. This difference was generally smaller in small, disturbed forest patches. Species-specific abundance of seeds found beneath bat roosts was positively correlated with abundance of seedlings, suggesting that bat dispersal may influence seedling recruitment. Our study demonstrates a greater role of small frugivorous bats as dispersers of large seeds than previously thought, particularly in regions where populations of large-bodied seed dispersers have been reduced or extirpated by hunting. © 2009 The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation.
Biotropica / Vol. 41, No. 6, pp.737-743
Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Inc.
FoR 06 (Biological Sciences)
FoR 05 (Environmental Sciences)
FoR 07 (Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences)
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