Linking the hierarchical decisionmaking process of fruit choice and the phenotypic selection strength on fruit traits by birds

Authors
Palacio, Facundo Xavier; Girini, Juan Manuel; Ordano, Mariano Andrés
Publication Year
2017
Language
English
Format
article
Status
Published version
Description
Aims: Animals in search of fleshy fruits forage mostly according to the number of available fruits and then select individual fruits based on reward quality or advertised subtle traits. This hierarchical pattern of fruit choice would be translated into patterns of selection strength mediated by frugivores on fruit display traits. Thus, frugivores would exert higher selection pressures on fruit crop size and lower selection pressures on within-plant variation of phenotypic traits (infructescence, fruit and seed size). However, no attempt to link this behavioral mechanism of hierarchical trait selection to natural selection patterns has been made. Therefore, we sought to determine the relationship between the hierarchical decision-making process of fruit choice and patterns of natural selection on fruit traits. Methods: We recorded bird visits and measured fruit-related traits (fruit crop size, fruit diameter and seed weight) in a natural population of Psychotria carthagenensis, a bird-dispersed treelet, in a Yungas forest from Argentina. To assess phenotypic selection patterns on fruit display traits, we performed multivariate selection analysis, and to explicitly identify a hierarchy of fruit trait choice we used a classification tree as a predictive model. Important Findings: Selection patterns on fruit display traits were in agreement with a hierarchical process of fruit choice made by birds. The strength of directional selection on the total number of fruits in a plant (i.e. fruit crop size) was nearly two times higher than on fruit size, and the classification tree analysis supported this hierarchical pattern. Our results support previous evidence that seed dispersers shape fruit crop size with higher intensity than subindividual fruit traits. Also, high levels of subindividual phenotypic variation of fruit display traits may be explained by relaxed selection pressures exerted by frugivores. Empirical studies also show that this pattern may constitute a general phenomenon among other plant-animal interactions.
Fil: Palacio, Facundo Xavier. Fundación Miguel Lillo; Argentina. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; Argentina
Fil: Girini, Juan Manuel. Universidad Nacional de La Plata. Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo. División Zoología de Vertebrados. Sección Ornitología; Argentina. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; Argentina
Fil: Ordano, Mariano Andrés. Fundación Miguel Lillo; Argentina. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas; Argentina
Subject
PLANT-ANIMAL INTERACTIONS
SEED DISPERSAL
SELECTION GRADIENTS
SUBINDIVIDUAL VARIATION
Otras Ciencias Biológicas
Ciencias Biológicas
CIENCIAS NATURALES Y EXACTAS
Access level
Restricted access
License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ar/
Repository
CONICET Digital (CONICET)
Institution
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas
OAI Identifier
oai:ri.conicet.gov.ar:11336/55029