Patterns of movement and seed dispersal of a tropical frugivore
- Cite this article as:
- Westcott, D. & Graham, D. Oecologia (2000) 122: 249. doi:10.1007/PL00008853
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Movement is a fundamental feature of vertebrate behavior and can modify processes within populations and communities. Because tropical avian frugivores disperse seeds of many plant species, the temporal and spatial patterning of their movement will influence seed distribution within a habitat. To date, little is known about movement patterns of these birds. Here we consider the movement of an understory frugivore, Mionectes oleagineus. Movements of 16 non-breeding females were monitored using continuous radio-telemetry to provide a general description of movement patterns and to examine the fractal geometry of the spatial component of movement. Most movements were of short distance and duration, with the frequency distributions of both measures strongly skewed to the left. Over the range of measurement scales considered, the fractal dimension of M. oleagineus’s movement increased with increasing measurement scale up to ca.100 m, whereafter it appeared to flatten out. We combined movement data with M. oleagineus gut-passage rates for seeds of six plant species to predict seed shadows. Estimated seed shadows were leptokurtic for four of the six plant species, with median dispersal distances for all species from 42 to 56 m. Dispersal distances were of the order of reported pollen dispersal distances, suggesting that even small seed dispersers like M. oleagineus can provide significant dispersal for plant genotypes. Gut-passage rate appears to determine the shape of the seed shadow, while movement determines dispersal scale.