Plant Ecology

, Volume 212, Issue 7, pp 1149–1157 | Cite as

Gulls (Laridae) as frugivores and seed dispersers

  • Maria Calvino-CancelaEmail author


Many gull species (Laridae) are opportunistic feeders with diverse diets. Seeds and fruits are common in gull diets, often in small proportions but sometimes dominant in certain periods and areas. Moreover, the large body sizes and high population densities of gulls increase their ecological importance. Hence, they can be significant seed dispersers even with relatively few seeds in diets. Gulls are highly mobile and have long gut-retention times, thus may provide long-distance dispersal for plants. Most information of the potential role of gulls as seed dispersers is from dietary studies, not focused on plant–animal interactions, thus the role of gulls on plant population dynamics is little known. Nevertheless, gulls have been shown to be effective dispersers of some coastal plants, and vectors for plant movement to and between islands. Here, I review this topic and hope to stimulate more research into the role of gulls as seed dispersers, particularly in coastal and island habitats.


Frugivory Island biogeography Larus Seed dispersal 



I thank Manuel Nogales, Aarón González Castro, and, especially, Guillermo Velo-Antón for sending me articles that were difficult to obtain. I am also grateful to many authors who kindly answered my questions on details on their studies. I also thank Kevin Burns, Philip Ladd, and two anonymous referees for their comments on the manuscript.

Supplementary material

11258_2011_9894_MOESM1_ESM.doc (206 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 207 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Animal BiologyUniversity of VigoPontevedraSpain

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