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Tropical birds as native and exotic seed dispersers in Monteverde, Costa Rica

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Title:
Tropical birds as native and exotic seed dispersers in Monteverde, Costa Rica
Translated Title:
Aves tropicales como dispersores de semillas nativas y exóticas en Monteverde, Costa Rica ( )
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English
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Johnson, Katherine, M
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Subjects / Keywords:
Seeds--Dispersal   ( lcsh )
Gardens   ( lcsh )
Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone   ( lcsh )
Semillas--Dispersión
Jardines
Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde
Tropical Ecology Spring 2011
Invasive species
Ecología Tropical Primavera 2011
Especies invasoras
Genre:
Reports   ( lcsh )
Reports

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Abstract:
In Monteverde the practice of using non-native garden ornamentals is widespread. This practice could be economically and ecologically costly in the future if these non-native species escape gardens. Because many non-native invasive fruits are dispersed by birds, this study assesses non-native and native fruit species and tropical birds as non-native and native fruit dispersers. To determine whether fruits from an introduced species or a native species were preferred by dispersers and more frequently visited by birds, fruits from, Rubus rosifolius, a common roadside non-native, and Acnistus arborescens a common native garden ornamental were monitored for presence or absence and levels and proportion of ripeness, and number of bird visits. Fruit observations show that the introduced fruits took longer to ripen than the native fruits, they provided a smaller proportion of ripe fruits, but they were taken sooner than the native fruits. Bird visit observations show a significantly higher number of bird visits to the native A. arborescens than the introduced R. rosifolius. This difference can be explained by mammal dispersal agents and depredation by insects. Potential invasive species in Monteverde should be monitored for a better understanding of invasion mechanisms.
Abstract:
En Monteverde la práctica de usar las plantas exóticas como tipo ornamental en la jardinería es muy común. Esta práctica podría ser económicamente y ecológicamente costosa en el futuro si se escapan estas plantas exóticas de los jardines. Dado que muchos de los frutos de invasoras exóticas están dispersados por aves, este estudio investiga las especies de frutos nativos y los frutos exóticos y las aves tropicales como dispersadores de los frutos nativos y los frutos exóticos. Para determinar si los dispersadores prefieren los frutos de una especie introducida o de un especie nativo y cual especie visitan más a los dispersadores, los frutos de Rubus rosifolius, una planta exótica que se encuentra creciendo en la orilla de las calles, e Acnistus arborescens, una planta nativa con uso frecuente en la jardinería como tipo ornamental, fueron monitoreados por la presencia, la ausencia, los niveles y proporciones de madurez, y los números de visitas hechas por aves. Las observaciones de los frutos muestran que los frutos introducidos duraran más para madurar que los frutos nativos, brindan una proporción de frutos más pequeña, pero fueron recolectados más rápido que los frutos nativos. Las observaciones de las visitas hechas por las aves a las dos especies muestran un número significativamente más alto de visitas hechas por aves a Acnistus arborescens, el especie nativo que al especie introducido, Rubus rosifolius. Esta diferencia puede ser explicada por la dispersión de mamíferos y la depredación por los insectos. Especies de plantas con el potencial de ser invasoras deben ser monitoreadas por un mejor conocimiento de los mecanismos de invasión.
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Text in English.
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usfldc handle - m39.255
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1 Tropical birds as native and exotic seed d ispersers in Monteverde Costa Rica Katherine M. Johnson Department of Philosophy, University of Georgia ABSTRACT In Monteverde the practice of using non native garden ornamentals is widespread. This practice could be economically and ecologically costly in the future if these non native species escape gardens. Because many non native invasive fruits are dispersed by birds, this study assesses non native and native fruit species and tropical birds as non native and native fruit dispersers. To determine whether fruits from an introduced species or a native species were preferred by dispersers and more frequently visited by birds, fruits from, Rubus rosifolius a common roadside non native, and Acnistus arborescens a common native garden ornamental were monitored for presence or absence and levels and proportion of ripeness, and number of bird visits. Fruit observations show that the introduced fruits took longer to ripen than the native fruits, they provided a small er proportion of ripe fruits, but they were taken sooner than the native fruits. Bird visit observations show a significantly higher number of bird visits to the native A. arborescens than the introduced R rosifolius This difference can be explained by m ammal dispersal agents and depreda tion by insects. Potential invasive species in Monteverde should be monitored for a better understanding of invasion mechanisms. RESUMEN En Monteverde la practica de usar las plantas exticas como tipo ornamental en la j ardinera es muy comn. Esta practica podra ser economicamente y ecologicamente costoso en el futuro si se escapan estas plantas exticas de los jardnes. Dado que muchos de los frutos de invasoras exoticas estn dispersados por aves, este estudio investi ga especies de frutos nativos y frutos exticos e aves tropicales como dispersadores de frutos nativos y frutos exticos. Para determinar si dispersadores prefieren frutos de un especie introducido o un especie nativo y cual especie visitan mas los dispers adores, frutos de Rubus rosifolius una planta exotica que se encuentra creciendo al la orilla de las calles, e Acnistus arborescens una planta nativa con uso frequente en la jardinera como tipo ornamental, fueron monitoreados por la presencia, absencia, niveles y proporciones de madurez, y numeros de visitas por aves. Obsevaciones de los frutos muestran que los frutos introducidos duraran mas para madurar que las los frutos nativos, brindan una proporcion de frutos ms pequea, pero fueron recolectados m s rapido que los frutos nativos. Observaciones de las visitas por aves a los dos especies muestran un numerero significantemente ms alto de visitas por aves a Acnistus arborescens el especie nativo que al introducido, Rubus rosifolius Esta diferencia peude ser explicada por dispersion de mamiferos y depredacion por los insectos. Especies de plantas con la potencial de ser invasoras deben ser monitoreados por un conocimiento major de los mecanismos de invasion.

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2 INTRODUCTION Invasive non native species can change the structure and functioning of ecosystems, which ha s been shown to threaten global biodiversity ( Levine et al. 2003 MacDougall & Turkington 2005 ). These ecosystem level changes may affect the availability and/or quality of space and direct r esources for native species ( Levine et al. 2003 ). Although many tropical moist forests seem to resist non native plant invasions (Rejmnek 1996), there have been some documented cases like that of Musa velutina in La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica which was most likely dispersed by birds (Orlando Vargas perscomm). A f actor that increases the probability that a non native plant species becom es invasive is its ability to incorporate native animal species in mutualistic interactions such as pollination or seed dis persal (Richardson et al. 2000). This disruption of native plant native animal interactions can decrease effective seed dispersal and population growth of native plant species (Traveset and Richardson 2006). This effect has been observed in Europe with the introduction of I mpatiens glandulifera ( Himalayan balsam ) an invasive non native plant species, that disrupted native plant and insect interactions r esulting in a reduction of pollinators for native Stachys palustris by 50% and native seed set by 25% ( Chittka and Schurkens 2001). Non native plant species that produce fleshy fruits may be more attractive to dispersers (Knight 1986). By producing larger more appealing fruits to attract dispersers or larger flowers to attract pollinators, non native invasive plants exhibit a type of display competition. This type of competition was tested in Western Oregon, where American Robins were s hown to choose Crataegus monogyna fruit by fruit abundance, fruit size, and fruit pulpiness; fruit abundance significantl y explained 33% of variance found in fruit consumption and fruit size significantly explained 25% of variance found between shrubs (Sal labanks 1993). In Neotropical wet forests, animals are the major seed dispersers for over 90% of trees and shrubs, birds being the most important diurnal dispers er (Frankie et al. 1974). Because birds are major seed dispersers in tropical habitats, the ir foraging behavior can influence plant distribution patterns through fruit selection and preference (Herrera 1985 Lawton and Putz 1988). One study found that b ird droppings commonly contain ed seeds from more that one plant species and composition of spe cies found in bird droppings differed by species, showing that birds differ in fruit selection and show preferences for some fruit over others (Loiselle 1989). The important role b irds p lay in their interactions with fruiting plants was demonstrated in the invasion of Lonicera maackii in North America where one study found that four native bird species in southwest Ohio had incorporated L. maackii into their diet and served as seed dispersers for L. maackii ; 94% of the L. maackii seeds found in American robin droppings were viable along with, 100% in hermit thrush 83% in cedar waxwing and 75% in northern mockingbird droppings ( Bartuszevige and Gorchov 2006). Therefore mechanism s to explain non native invasive plant success include the ability of bird dispersers to incorporate non native fruits into their diet, as well as the ability of non native species to outcompete native species This highly competitive nature of invasives is observed on oceanic islands where flora sizes doubled when including them as natura lized exotics (Sax et al. 2002). In Monteverde, as with most developed areas, the practice of using non native ornamental plant species in gardens is widespread. Since the community is located in close proximity to

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3 Rainforest, it is important to monitor potential non native invasives and investigate bird dispersal of introduced species. Two bird dispersed plants found in Monteverde are Rubus rosifolius a n introduced plant from Asian or Australian origin commonly found along roadsides and Acnistus arborescens a commonly used native garden ornamental. In this study I ask the questions: Are introduced or native fruits preferred by bird dispersers? Do fruit eating birds visit native or introduced species more? I predict that birds do not discriminate between native and non native species but simply select what is available and visit each species equally, therefore, taking ripe fruits from both species at the same rate. METHODS Study site s This study was conducted at 1350 meters above sea levels along roadsides and residential and commercial gardens in Monteverde, Costa Rica from April to 11 th to May 4 th 2011. The observation location for R rosifolius was conducted on a 150 m roadside stretch fr om La Colina to Finca Stuckey. Sampling for R rosifolius Cabina, a private residential property in order to control for human removal of R rosifolius fruits. A cnistus arborescens observatio ns were conducted at Casa de Arte and the CIEE stud y center i n Cerro Plano Monteverde. Sampling for A. arborescens was taken from the same observation areas as well as from la residence of Nuria Fo n seca All locations were within 100 m from each other. Infructes c ence monitoring Fruit from f ive infructescences of six A. arborescens individuals (30 infructescences total) were counted and marked numerically to observe ripeness for 11 days. Every day each fruit on all 30 infructescence s was recorded as unripe, ripening, ripe or taken. Thirty infructescences on nine plants of R rosifolius were also marked numerically and recorded for ripeness following the same procedure, but due to morphological differences between A. arborescens and R rosifolius infuctescences, each R rosifolius infructescence was counted as one fruit bunch or fruit unit. A cnistus arborescens produces tomato like berries while R rosifolius produces black berry like clusters of aggregate drupes ( Fig 1). FIGURE 1. Infructescences. Left to right: non native R rosifolius c l uster of aggregate drupes and native A. arborescens berries

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4 Observation of R. rosifolius and A. arborescens fruit removal by birds B ird visits to a patch of eight A. arborescens individuals and a 150 meter roadside area of R rosifolius were observed over six different days for an hour at each site each day. Each bird species seen eating fruits or exhibiting foraging behavior was identified and recorded Data analysis Data were taken on 240 A. arborescens fruits and 30 R. rosifolius fruit bunches over 11 days. To compare the mean number of days for the fruit of each species to ripen the mean number of days each fruit or fruit bunch was ripe on the tree or plant befor e being eaten, the proportion of ripe fruits per day, and the proportion of mature fruits not taken t tests were used To compare the number of bird visits to the introduced R rosifolius and native A. arborescens a chi square d test was used. RESULTS The mean number of days for a R rosifolius fruit to ripen 6.64 .014 was significantly higher than that of an A. arborescens fruit 4.94 .02 5 ( t test = 1.99, P < 0.05). FIGURE 2 Average number of days for introduced R rosifolius and native A. arborescens fruits to ripen. R rosifolius fruits (N = 6) took more days to ripen than A. arborescens fruits (N = 25). Error bars express +/ one standard error of the mean.

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5 There were a smaller proportion of ripe fruits per day on R rosifolius (0.17 .036) than A. arborescens (0.53 .026; t test = 6.75 P < 0.05). Ripe R rosifolius fruit spent fewer days ripe before being removed (2.11 .186) than ripe A. arborescens ( 2 .95 .184; t test = 2.04, P < 0.05). FIGURE 3 M ean p roportion of rip e fruits per day found on introduced species, R rosifoliu s and native species A. arborescens The proportion of ripe A. arborescens fruits ( N = 25 7 ) was significantly larger than the proportion of R rosifolius ripe fruits per day (N = 6 6 ) Error bars express +/ one standard error of the mean.

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6 The number of birds observed visiting A. arborescens (N = 51) was significantly higher than those visiting R rosifolius (N = 3) (Chi squared, X 2 = 42.67, df = 2; P < 0.0001). Bird species found in Table 1 FIGURE 4. Average number of days for fruits to be ripe before being taken on introduced R. rosifolius and native A. arborescens R. rosifolius fruits (N = 6) were taken sooner than A. arbore scens fruits (N = 28) Error bars express +/ one standard error of the mean. FIGURE 5 Observed bird visits to introduced species R rosifolius and native species A. arborescens A higher number of visits to native species (N = 51) than introduced species (N = 3).

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7 Black headed Tody Flycatcher (Todirostrum nigriceps) Clay colored Robin (Turdus grayi) Blue gray T anager (Thraupis episcopus) Bronzed Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus) Brown Jay (Cyanocorax morio) Clay colored R obin (Turdus grayi) Dusky capped Flycatcher (Myiarchus tuberculifer) Emrald toucanet (Aulacorhynchus prasinus) Yellow throated Euphonia female (Euphonia hirundinacea) F lycatcher juvenile Grayish Saltator (Saltator coerulescens) Mistletoe Tyrannulet (Zimmerius vilissimus) Moun tain Elaenia (Elaenia frantzii) Red billed Pigeon (Columba flavirostris) Red legged H oneycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus) Rufous collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis) Social Flycatcher (Myiozetetes similis) Unknown warbler male Unknown warbler female Yellow faced Grassquit male (Tiaris olivacea) Yellow faced Grassquit female (Tiaris olivacea) Yellow throated Brush finch (Atlapetes gutturalis) White eared Ground Sparrow (Melozone leucotis) A. arborescens R rosifolius DISCUSSION R rosifolius had a smaller proportion of ripe fruits per day than A. arborescens meaning that fewer were available to be eaten per day. Given the display competition idea, this would suggest that dispersers are more likely to visit native A. arborescens since it fru its in more in abundance than the R. rosifolius R rosifolius fruit also took longer to ripen than A. arborescens fruit. One might conclude that taking longer to ripen would be unfavorable for R rosifolius since dispersers seeking ripe fruits immediately would most likely visit other plants offering an abundance of ripe fruits, however data show that R rosifolius fruits were removed faster than A. arborescens These findings seem to differ from previous predictions, showing that dispersers are not indisc riminant in fruit selection, and therefore suggest that dispersers favor R rosifolius non native fruit over native, A. arborescens fruit. B ecause birds are shown to visit non native R. rosifolius significantly less than A. arborescens b ird visit observations seem contradictory to fruit observations, however, from these observations one can conclude that birds are not the primary dispersers of R. rosifolius fruits and that mammal dispersal agents and depredation by insects are the most likely factors in the observed non native fruit preference This is concordant with other studies where m ammals have also been observed as non native fruit dispersers as TABLE 1. B irds observed visiting R. rosifolius and A. arborescens

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8 documented in the dispersal of L. maackii fruits by white tailed deer ( Odocoileus virginianus ) ( Bartuszevige and Gorchov 2006). Therefore, bird visit d ata suggest that birds prefer native A. arborescens fruits to non native R. rosifolius fruits. This preference may be due to the larger display that A. arborescens offers, but because R. rosifolius is most likely primarily dispersed by mammals it would be better to test fruit display competition with a more comparable native fruit species such as Rubus urti ci folius Extensive ecological damage by exotic invasive species has not yet occurred in Costa Rica but has in the United States. According to Pimentel et al., economic costs linked to invasive species in the USA are about $137 billion annually (2000). Although negative impacts of invasive non native plant species on ecosystems are known from the Un ited States, the methods and biological adaptations of non native plant species for outcompeting native plant species are still under investigation Future studies of Rubus sp. could involve germinating native and exotic seeds in the same microhabitat as w ell as observing plant animal interactions in terms of mammals dispersal systems. Potential invasives in Monteverde should be continually observed for a better understanding of underlying mechanisms of invasions. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank Anjali Kumar, my advisor on this project, for calming me down after many frantic phone calls when procedures did not go as planed, and her help every step of the way, especially for the long intense hours she put in to analyze my insa ne amount of data. Everyone at Casa De Arte, the CIEE study center, and Nuria Fonseca, for letting me use their Guitite trees to conduct most of this study. I would also like to thank Willow Zuchowski for helping me with Rubus sp. identification, and Roxan ne Reiter and Emily Hollenbeck along with all of my fellow classmates for being so patient with all of my questions and for taking the time out to be so helpful. Moncho Caldern for helping me with materials and Excel questions, and Malory Vargas for helpi ng me take study site photos. I would also like to acknowledge Jean Aguero for being so supportive and bringing me snacks and Coke at night in the rain, which helped me LI TERATURE CITED Bartuszevige, A. M. and D. Gorchov. 2006. Avian seed dispersal of an invasive shrub. Biological Invasions. 8: 1013 1022. market. Nature 411: 653. Frankie G. W., H G Bak er and P. A. Opler. 1974. Comparative phenologi cal studies of trees in tropical wet and dry forests in the low lands of Costa Rica. J. Ecology 62:881 919 Herrera C M .1985. Habitat consumer interactions in frug ivorous birds. In: Cody ML (ed) Habitat selection in birds. Academic Press, New York, NY, pp 341 365 Knight R S 1986. A comparative analysis of fle shy fruit displays in alien and indigenous plants. In: MacDonald IAW, Kruger FJ and Ferrar AA (eds) The Ecology and Management of Biol ogical Invasions in Southern Africa, pp 171 177. Oxford University Press, Capetown

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9 Lawton R O. and F. E. Putz. 1988. Natural disturbance and gap phase regeneration in a wind exposed tropical lower montane rain forest. Ecology 69:764 777 Levine, J. M. et al. 2003. Mechanisms underlying the impacts of exotic plant invasions. Proc. R. Soc. B 270: 775 781 In Traveset, A. and D. M. Richardson. 2006. Biological invasions as disruptors of plant reproductive mutualisms. Ecology and Evolution 21: 213 Loiselle, B. A. 1989. Seeds in droppings of tropical fruit eating birds: importance of considering seed composition. Oecologia 82:494 500. MacDougall, A. S. and R. Turkington. 2005. Are invasive species the drivers or passengers of change in degrad ed ecosystems? Ecology 86: 42 55 Oatley, T. B. 1984. Exploitation of a new niche by the Rameron Pigeon Columba arquatrix in Natal. In Proceedings of the Fifth Pan African Ornithological Congress (Ledger, J.A., ed.), pp. 323 330, Southern African Ornithological Society In Traveset, A. and Ri chardson, D.M. (2006) Biological invasions as disruptors of plant reproductive mutualisms. Ecology and Evolution 21: 213 Pimentel, D. et al. 2000. Environmental and economic costs of nonindegenous s pecies in the United States. Bioscience 50: 53 65. In Lee, C. Evolutionary genetics of invasive species.2002.Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 17: 386 389. R ejmnek M. 1996. Species richness and resistance to invasions. In G. Orians, R. Dirzo, and J. H. Cushman (Eds.). Biodiversity and Ecosystem Proesses in Tropical Forests, pp. 153 172. Springer, New York. Simberloff, D., and P. Stiling. 1996. How risky is biological control? Ecology 77: 1965 1974. Richardson D M N. Allsopp , S J. Milton and M. Rejmnek. 2000. Plant invasions the role of mutualisms. Biological Review 75: 65 93 Sallabanks, R. 1993. Hierarchical mechanisms of fruit selection by an avian frugivore Ecology 74: 1326 1336. S ax D. F., S. D. G aines and J. H. B rown 2002. Species invasions exceed extinctions on islands worldwide: A comparative study of plants and birds. Am. Nat. 160: 766 783. Traveset, A. and D. M. Richardson. 2006. Biological invasions as disruptors of plant reproductive mutualisms. Eco logy and Evolution 21: 213


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In Monteverde the practice of using non-native garden ornamentals is widespread. This
practice could be economically and ecologically costly in the future if these non-native species escape gardens. Because many non-native invasive fruits are dispersed by birds, this study assesses non-native and native fruit species and tropical birds as non-native and native fruit dispersers. To determine whether fruits from an introduced species or a native species were preferred by dispersers and more frequently visited by birds, fruits from, Rubus rosifolius, a common roadside non-native, and Acnistus arborescens a common native garden ornamental were monitored for presence or absence and levels and proportion of ripeness, and number of bird visits. Fruit observations show that the introduced fruits took longer to ripen than the native fruits, they provided a smaller proportion of ripe fruits, but they were taken sooner than the native fruits. Bird visit observations show a significantly higher number of bird visits to the native A.
arborescens than the introduced R. rosifolius. This difference can be explained by mammal dispersal agents and depredation by insects. Potential invasive species in
Monteverde should be monitored for a better understanding of invasion mechanisms.
En Monteverde la prctica de usar las plantas exticas como tipo ornamental en la jardinera es muy comn. Esta prctica podra ser econmicamente y ecolgicamente costosa en el futuro si se escapan estas plantas exticas de los jardines. Dado que muchos de los frutos de invasoras exticas estn dispersados por aves, este estudio investiga las especies de frutos nativos y los frutos exticos y las aves tropicales como dispersadores de los frutos nativos y los frutos exticos. Para determinar si los dispersadores prefieren los frutos de una especie introducida o de un especie nativo y cual especie visitan ms a los dispersadores, los frutos de Rubus rosifolius, una planta extica que se encuentra creciendo en la orilla de las calles, e Acnistus arborescens, una planta nativa con uso frecuente en la jardinera como tipo ornamental, fueron monitoreados por la presencia, la ausencia, los niveles y proporciones de madurez, y los nmeros de visitas hechas por aves. Las observaciones de los frutos muestran que los frutos introducidos duraran ms para madurar que los frutos nativos, brindan una proporcin de frutos ms pequea, pero fueron recolectados ms rpido que los frutos nativos. Las observaciones de las visitas hechas por las aves a las dos especies muestran un nmero significativamente ms alto de visitas hechas por aves a Acnistus arborescens, el especie nativo que al especie introducido, Rubus rosifolius. Esta diferencia puede ser explicada por la dispersin de mamferos y la depredacin por los insectos. Especies de plantas con el potencial de ser invasoras deben ser monitoreadas por un mejor conocimiento de los mecanismos de invasin.
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Seeds--Dispersal
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Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone
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Semillas--Dispersin
Jardines
Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde
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Invasive species
Ecologa Tropical Primavera 2011
Especies invasoras
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Reports
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CIEE
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