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Seed dispersal by Tana River mangabeys in fragmented gallery forests

Author(s): Dennis O. Otieno | Geoffrey M. Wahungu | Duncan M. Kimuyu

Journal: Advances in Molecular Imaging
ISSN 2161-6728

Volume: 02;
Issue: 01;
Start page: 12;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Cercocebus Galeritus | Seed Dispersal | seed Predation | Seasonality | Dispersal Efficiency | Fragmentation | Habitat Gaps | Tana River Forests

Data collected on a free ranging group of Tana River mangabeys (Cercocebus galeritus) indi- cates that this endangered primate species, which has previously been regarded as a seed predator, plays an important role in seed dis- persal 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 salvi- ifolium with non-fleshy fruits. We found a corre- lation between seed predation and fruit avail- ability, respectively seasonal differential specific dispersal efficiency. The role of the mangabeys in dispersing seeds and facilitating forest re- generation is enhanced by their movement across forest patches through non-forested ma- trix, which contributes to the deposition of seeds and regeneration in these habitat gaps.
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