Supplementary material from "Long seed dispersal distances by an inquisitive flightless rail (<i>Gallirallus australis</i>) are reduced by interaction with humans"

Published on 2019-08-14T06:41:18Z (GMT) by
Human presence is becoming increasingly ubiquitous, but the influence this has on the seed dispersal services performed by frugivorous animals is largely unknown. The New Zealand weka (<i>Gallirallus australis</i>) is an inquisitive flightless rail that frequently congregates in areas of high human use. Weka are important seed dispersers, yet the seed dispersal services they provide are still poorly understood. We estimated seed dispersal distances of weka for two plant species (<i>Prumnopitys ferruginea</i> and <i>Elaeocarpus dentatus</i>) and tested how human interaction affected these dispersal distances. We estimated weka seed dispersal distances by combining GPS data from 39 weka over three sites with weka seed retention time data in a mechanistic model. The mean seed retention times were extremely long (38–125 h). Weka were highly effective dispersers, dispersing 93–96% of seeds away from parent canopies, and 1% of seeds over 1 km. However, we found evidence of a significant human impact on the seed dispersal distances of weka, with birds occupying areas of high human use performing 34.8–40.9% shorter distances than their more remote counterparts. This represents an example of cryptic function loss, where although weka are still present in the ecosystem, their seed dispersal services are impaired by human interaction.

Cite this collection

Carpenter, Joanna K.; O'Donnell, Colin F. J.; Moltchanova, Elena; Kelly, Dave (2019): Supplementary material from "Long seed dispersal distances by an inquisitive flightless rail (Gallirallus australis) are reduced by interaction with humans". The Royal Society. Collection.