About this Research Topic
Animals disperse smaller organisms by ingesting, transporting and egesting propagules such as plant seeds, fruits, small invertebrates and algae (internal transport), or by carrying propagules attached to their exterior (external transport). Animal-mediated dispersal is generally well studied, but most previous work focused on only a handful of species networks. For example, seed dispersal by frugivorous birds and mammals, scatterhoarding by small mammals, seed dispersal by ants, and dispersal of grass seeds by large herbivores have been investigated in much detail. In contrast, relatively unexplored systems include dispersal of invertebrates by birds, seed dispersal by vectors such as fish, reptiles or invertebrates other than ants, dispersal of plant fragments or microscopic propagules, and endozoochory by granivores in general.
The aim of this Research Topic is to gather studies on animal-mediated dispersal that involve poorly studied and previously overlooked propagules and disperser animals. This will broaden our knowledge beyond the currently most-studied systems, and therefore enable detection of inspiring contrasts and similarities across study systems. We encourage studies that apply well-established methods to new species networks, combine ecological and evolutionary approaches, and exchange knowledge between the research fields of marine, terrestrial or aquatic ecology. Contributions are welcome on both internal and external transport, on zoochory of microscopically small propagules (such as algae or soil biota), direct and secondary dispersal, in marine, freshwater and terrestrial systems, for native and alien species, and from tropical to temperate to polar regions.
This Research Topic is partly inspired by the successful workshop “Beyond frugivory and scatterhoarding – reassessing the importance of avian vectors in plant dispersal” funded by the Severo Ochoa project held February 2017 at EBD-CSIC, Seville, Spain. However, we do not limit our focus to birds for this Topic.
Keywords: Ectozoochory, endozoochory, granivores, propagules, species networks, secondary dispersal, vector
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