Gastropod Seed Dispersal: An Invasive Slug Destroys Far More Seeds in Its Gut than Native Gastropods

Blattmann, Tamara; Boch, Steffen; Türke, Manfred; Knop, Eva (2013). Gastropod Seed Dispersal: An Invasive Slug Destroys Far More Seeds in Its Gut than Native Gastropods. PLoS ONE, 8(9), e75243. Lawrence, Kans.: Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0075243

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Seed dispersal is one of the most important mechanisms shaping biodiversity, and animals are one of the key dispersal vectors. Animal seed dispersal can directly or indirectly be altered by invasive organisms through the establishment of new or the disruption of existing seed dispersal interactions. So far it is known for a few gastropod species that they ingest and defecate viable plant seeds and consequently act as seed dispersers, referred to as gastropodochory. In a multi-species experiment, consisting of five different plant species and four different gastropod species, we tested with a fully crossed design whether gastropodochory is a general mechanism across native gastropod species, and whether it is altered by the invasive alien slug species Arion lusitanicus. Specifically, we hypothesized that a) native gastropod species consume the seeds from all tested plant species in equal numbers (have no preference), b) the voracious invasive alien slug A. lusitanicus – similarly to its herbivore behaviour – consumes a higher amount of seeds than native gastropods, and that c) seed viability is equal among different gastropod species after gut passage. As expected all tested gastropod species consumed all tested plant species. Against our expectation there was a difference in the amount of consumed seeds, with the largest and native mollusk Helix pomatia consuming most seeds, followed by the invasive slug and the other gastropods. Seed damage and germination rates did not differ after gut passage through different native species, but seed damage was significantly higher after gut passage through the invasive slug A. lusitanicus, and their germination rates were significantly reduced.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Plant Ecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Blattmann, Tamara; Boch, Steffen and Knop, Eva

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)

ISSN:

1932-6203

Publisher:

Public Library of Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

16 Oct 2013 09:57

Last Modified:

09 Dec 2014 06:42

Publisher DOI:

10.1371/journal.pone.0075243

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.38723

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/38723

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