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Why Birds MatterAvian Ecological Function and Ecosystem Services$
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Çagan H. Sekercioglu, Daniel G. Wenny, and Christopher J. Whelan

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226382463

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226382777.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Dispersal of Plants by Waterbirds

Dispersal of Plants by Waterbirds

(p.147) Chapter Six Dispersal of Plants by Waterbirds
Why Birds Matter

Andy J. Green

Merel Soons

Anne-Laure Brochet

Erik Kleyheeg

University of Chicago Press

Ducks, shorebirds, rails, gulls and other waterbirds act as vectors of seeds, spores and other plant diaspores carried internally in their guts, externally on their feathers, feet or bills, or used as nesting material. Darwin was the first to understand the significance of dispersal by migratory waterbirds in plant evolution, biogeography and ecology. Countless aquatic and terrestrial plants are dependent on dispersal by waterbirds for long-distance dispersal, and this has probably been the case since the Cretaceous. However, plant ecologists and waterfowl biologists alike have been slow to recognize the importance of this dispersal mode as an ecosystem service. Seed dispersal by waterbirds plays a vital role in plant population dynamics, population genetics and changes in species distributions in response to habitat change and climate warming. On the other hand, waterbirds also spread alien species, and their role as vectors should be taken into account when considering how to prevent and manage biological invasions.

Keywords:   diaspore, endozoochory, epizoochory, external transport, gut passage, internal transport, passive seed dispersal, seed traits, shorebirds, waterfowl

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