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Séminaire « Native ungulates, plant assemblages and ecosystem functioning » par Christophe Baltzinger
15 mars 11:15 - 12:00
LECA Seminar (Interspe): Christophe Baltzinger, IRSTEA de Nogent sur Vernisson
Title: Native ungulates, plant assemblages and ecosystem functioning
Successive ecological filtering processes include dispersal limitation, environmental filtering and biotic interactions among plants and across trophic levels. These filters act upon the regional species pool to form dynamic and transient plant assemblages. Herbivorous ungulates regularly disperse seeds over long distances, create local chemical and physical heterogeneity, selectively consume plants and modify plant-plant interactions, whereby they shape plant assemblages. They also make plant communities more prone to invasion by native colonizers or exotic invaders.
We demonstrate how endozoochory, hair- and hoof-epizoochory differentially filter the regional species pool. We further highlight how complementary zoochorous processes by different ungulates affect the composition and spatial distribution patterns of plant assemblages. The interactions among dispersal vector, seed and plant traits affect the seed dispersal cycle and its effectiveness. Ungulates occupy an in-between position as primary consumers somewhere between predators and plants; they may compete for resources with phytophagous insects and thus trigger cascading effects on birds.
Through the many interactions ungulates are involved in, we have to consider their global role as dynamic actors in ecosystem functioning and potential tools to rehabilitate degraded habitats via seed dispersal and associated engineering effects. Large ungulates are very likely to affect plant responses to major current changes.