, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 1013-1022
Date: 04 Mar 2006

Avian Seed Dispersal of an Invasive Shrub

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Abstract

The incorporation of an animal-dispersed exotic plant species into the diet of native frugivores can be an important step to that species becoming invasive. We investigated bird dispersal of Lonicera maackii, an Asian shrub invasive in eastern North America. We (i) determined which species of birds disperse viable L. maackii seeds, (ii) tested the effect of gut passage on L. maackii seeds, and (iii) projected the seed shadow based on habitat use by a major disperser. We found that four native and one exotic bird species dispersed viable L. maackii seeds. Gut passage through American robins did not inhibit germination, but gut passage through cedar waxwings did. American robins moved mostly along woodlot edges and fencerows, leading us to project that most viable seeds would be defecated in such habitats, which are very suitable for L. maackii. We conclude that L. maackii has been successfully incorporated into the diets of native and exotic birds and that American robins preferentially disperse seeds to suitable habitat.