Seed dispersal by Tana River mangabeys in fragmented gallery forests

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DOI: 10.4236/oje.2012.21002    4,557 Downloads   9,895 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Data collected on a free ranging group of Tana River mangabeys (Cercocebus galeritus) indicates that this endangered primate species, which has previously been regarded as a seed predator, plays an important role in seed dispersal and do contribute to the regeneration of a highly fragmented gallery forest. We observed fruit handling behavior and the post-dispersal fate of seeds ingested by the mangabeys. The two main fruit handling behaviors observed, fruit swallowing and processing fruits in cheek pouches, positively contributed to seed disper- sal. Seed predation was not common during this study, apart from a few particular plant species such as Acacia robusta and Alangium salviifolium with non-fleshy fruits. We found a correlation between seed predation and fruit availability, respectively seasonal differential specific dispersal efficiency. The role of the mangabeys in dispersing seeds and facilitating forest regeneration is enhanced by their movement across forest patches through non-forested matrix, which contributes to the deposition of seeds and regeneration in these habitat gaps.

Cite this paper

Kimuyu, D. , Wahungu, G. and Otieno, D. (2012) Seed dispersal by Tana River mangabeys in fragmented gallery forests. Open Journal of Ecology, 2, 12-20. doi: 10.4236/oje.2012.21002.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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