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The dominant role of animal social status in vertebrate seed dispersal
  • Savannah Bartel,
  • John Orrock
Savannah Bartel
University of Wisconsin Madison

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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John Orrock
University of Wisconsin
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Seed dispersal directly affects plant establishment, gene flow, and fitness. As a result, understanding patterns in seed dispersal is fundamental to understanding plant ecology and evolution, as well as addressing challenges of extinction and global change. Our ability to understand dispersal is limited because few frameworks have emerged that provide a means for predicting dispersal across time and space. We provide a novel framework that links seed dispersal to animal social status, a key component of behavior. Because social status affects individual resource access and movement, it provides a critical link to two factors that determine seed dispersal: the quantity of seeds dispersed and the spatial patterns of dispersal. Moreover, individual social status may have unappreciated effects on post-dispersal seed survival and recruitment when social status affects individual habitat use. Hence, environmental changes, such as selective harvesting and urbanization, that affect animal social structure may have unappreciated consequences for seed dispersal. The framework we present highlights these exciting new hypotheses linking environmental change, social structure, and seed dispersal. By outlining experimental approaches to test these hypotheses, we hope to facilitate studies across a wide diversity of plant-frugivore networks, which may uncover emerging hotspots or catastrophic losses of seed dispersal.
19 Oct 2021Submitted to Ecology Letters
26 Oct 2021Submission Checks Completed
26 Oct 2021Assigned to Editor
15 Nov 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
06 Dec 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
08 Dec 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Major
08 Feb 20221st Revision Received
08 Feb 2022Submission Checks Completed
08 Feb 2022Assigned to Editor
09 Feb 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
09 Feb 2022Editorial Decision: Accept