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Seed dispersal by fishes in tropical and temperate fresh waters: The growing evidence

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  • Michael H. Horn, California State University Fullerton
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  • Sandra Bibiana Correa, Texas A&M Univ, Texas A&M University College Station, Texas A&M University System, Dept Wildlife & Fisheries Sci
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  • Pia Parolin, Univ Hamburg, University of Hamburg, Bioctr Klein Flottbeck & Bot Garden
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  • B. J. A. Pollux, Wageningen Univ, Wageningen University & Research Center, Dept Anim Sci
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  • Jill T. Anderson, Duke University
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  • Christine Lucas, Univ Florida, Florida State University System, University of Florida, Dept Wildlife Ecol & Conservat
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  • Peter Widmann
  • Albertus Tjiu, World Wildlife Fund Indonesia
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  • Mauro Galetti, Univ Estadual Paulista UNESP, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Dept Ecol
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  • Michael Goulding, Wildlife Conservat Soc

Fruit-eating by fishes represents an ancient (perhaps Paleozoic) interaction increasingly regarded as important for seed dispersal (ichthyochory) in tropical and temperate ecosystems. Most of the more than 275 known frugivorous species belong to the mainly Neotropical Characiformes (pacus, piranhas) and Siluriformes (catfishes), but cypriniforms (carps, minnows) are more important in the Holarctic and Indomalayan regions. Frugivores are among the most abundant fishes in Neotropical floodplains where they eat the fruits of a wide variety of trees and shrubs. By consuming fruits, fishes gain access to rich sources of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins and act as either seed predators or seed dispersers. With their often high mobility, large size, and great longevity, fruit-eating fishes can play important roles as seed dispersers and exert strong influences on local plant-recruitment dynamics and regional biodiversity. Recent feeding experiments focused on seed traits after gut passage support the idea that fishes are major seed dispersers in floodplain and riparian forests. Overfishing, damming, deforestation and logging potentially diminish ichthyochory and require immediate attention to ameliorate their effects. Much exciting work remains in terms of fish and plant adaptations to ichthyochory, dispersal regimes involving fishes in different ecosystems, and increased use of nondestructive methods such as stomach lavage, stable isotopes, genetic analyses and radio transmitters to determine fish diets and movements. (C) 2011 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

TidsskriftActa Oecologica
Sider (fra-til)561-577
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - 2011
Eksternt udgivetJa

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