(Funded by CONICET PIP592-2014, Argentina).
Nutritional basis of mutualism in frugivorous vertebrates: Integration of networks of ecological interactions and evidence of resource choice .
(Funded byFONCYT PICT1290-2013, Argentina).
Contact: Pedro G. Blendinger, blendinger@
FROM FORAGING DECISIONS TO THE STRUCTURE OF PLANT-FRUGIVORE NETWORKS
Fruit-eating animals and plants with fruits establish links of mutualistic interaction. The basis of this interaction is nutritional, so we focus on the study of nutrient and energy acquisition contained in the pulp, to understand causal relationships between plants and animals and their consequences at different organization levels (individuals to communities). Our group is generating information on ecological, morphological and chemical traits of the fruits of subtropical Andean forests (Southern Yungas); traits that are relevant for their interaction with fruit-eating vertebrates. In addition, we generate a large dataset on fruit consumption at the community level, and experimental and observational knowledge on the preference and selection of fruits by birds and bats.
This information has great potential to promote meaningful advances with empirical basis on the organization of plant-frugivore interactions. We are evaluating mechanisms that govern fruit choice strategies, considering as alternatives the abundance of resources and their nutritional and energy content. We also sought to use this knowledge to understand the importance of fruit traits to explain the diet of frugivores, the importance of adaptive hypotheses to explain the variability of fruit traits relevant to the dispersal, and the redundancy in functional traits of native and exotic fruits as promoters of invasion of exotic plants.
Some related papers:
Nazaro MG, Blendinger PG. 2017. How important are arthropods in the diet of fruit-eating birds? Wilson Journal of Ornithology https://doi.org/
Blendinger PG, Martín E, Osinaga Acosta O, Ruggera RA, Aráoz E. 2016. Fruit selection by Andean forest birds: influence of fruit temporal variation and functional traits. Biotropica 48:677-686. https://doi.org/
Blendinger PG, Giannini NP, Zampini IC, Ordoñez R, Torres S, Sayago J, Ruggera RA, Isla MI. 2015. Nutrients in fruits as determinants of resource tracking by birds. Ibis 154:480-495. https://doi.org/