H2020 Marie S-Curie Actions Individual Fellowship project

The impact of animal-mediated seed dispersal on plant communities

Alaska river

Darwin was the first to realize the importance of animals for the dispersal of plants and small invertebrates in aquatic ecosystems. He thought their "great powers of flight" would make them efficient transport vectors for many small organisms. Darwin was right: many organisms produce fruits, seeds or resting stages that are ingested, transported and egested in large numbers by large moving animals. Animal-mediated dispersal, or "zoochory", contributes greatly to persistence of a broad range of plant and invertebrate species worldwide. My H2020-project focuses on understanding the functional role of oochory for plant communities. I concentrate mainly on aquatic habitats, because these are often linear (rivers, tributaries) or discrete (ponds, lakes, wetlands), and their suitability as habitat often fluctuates through time. Many species in wetland ecosystems can only persist because they repeatedly colonize new habitat, which makes their dispersal both crucial and fascinating.

Aim

My H2020 Marie S-Curie Actions project aims to generate a mechanistic understanding of animal-mediated dispersal of plant seeds by waterbirds, fish and large mammals in wetland ecosystems. Approaches include experiments, modelling and field observations.

Collaborations and student opportunities

Within this project there are many opportunities for collaborations, and exchange of ideas with anyone interested in species movement, notably in wetland ecosystems. I am very interested to look for joined potential. For students, there are many opportunities for joining the project: just send me an This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let me know you´re interested! A selection of the possible projects are advertised on the website of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology.

Pond