Diversity of functional traits of fleshy fruits in a species-rich Atlantic rain forest
Keywords:seed dispersal, frugivores, fruit syndromes, fruit chemical content
AbstractProduction of vertebrate-dispersed fruits is the most common strategy of tropical woody plants to disperse their seeds. Few studies have documented community-wide variation of fruit morphology and chemistry of vertebrate-dispersed fruits in species-rich tropical communities. We examined the functional diversity of fruit morphological and chemical traits of 186 species representing 57 plant families in an undisturbed lowland plant community in the Atlantic rain forest of SE, Brazil. We were particularly interested in associating morphological and chemical fruit traits to their main seed dispersers, either birds, mammals or 'mixed' (i.e. fruits eaten by birds and mammals). The morphological and chemical traits of fruits at the study site generally resemble the patterns observed in fruits worldwide. Bird fruits tend to be smaller than mammal fruits, being colored black or red, whereas mammal fruits are often yellow or green. Mammal fruits are more variable than bird fruits in relation to morphological traits, while the reverse is true for chemical traits. Mixed fruits resemble bird fruits in the patterns of variation of morphological and chemical traits, suggesting that they are primarily bird-dispersed fruits that are also exploited by mammals. Mixed fruits are common in tropical forests, and represent an excellent opportunity to contrast the effectiveness of different functional groups of frugivores dispersing the same plant species.
How to Cite
Galetti, M., Pizo, M. A., & Morellato, L. P. C. (2011). Diversity of functional traits of fleshy fruits in a species-rich Atlantic rain forest. Biota Neotropica, 11(1). Retrieved from //www.biotaneotropica.org.br/BN/article/view/812