Navigation Links
Giant tortoises show rewilding can work
Date:4/21/2011

'Rewilding with taxon substitutes', the intentional introduction of exotic species to fulfil key functions in ecosystems following the loss of recently extinct species, is highly controversial, partly due to a lack of rigorous scientific studies.

In a paper published today in Current Biology, Christine Griffiths of Bristol's School of Biological Sciences and colleagues present the first empirical evidence that rewilding can work.

Exotic giant Aldabra tortoises, Aldabrachelys gigantea, were introduced to Ile aux Aigrettes, a 25-hectare island off Mauritius, in 2000 to disperse the slow-growing ebony Diospyros egrettarum (Ebenaceae), which once covered the island, but today is critically endangered following intensive logging for firewood that lasted until the early 1980s.

To highlight the extent to which the ebony forest had been decimated, the researchers surveyed and mapped all ebony trees in an island-wide survey in 2007 and located a total of 3,518 adult trees. However, large tracts of the island remained denuded of ebony, particularly in the northern and eastern coastal areas nearest to the mainland where logging was most intense.

There had been no regeneration in these areas even though logging ceased thirty years ago because, with the extinction of the island's native giant tortoises, there were no large fruit-eating animals left to disperse the seeds of these critically-endangered trees.

The introduced Aldabra tortoises not only ingested the large fruits and dispersed large numbers of ebony seeds, but the process of passing through a tortoise's gut also improved seed germination, leading to the widespread, successful establishment of new ebony seedlings in the heavily logged parts of the island.

Christine Griffiths said: "Our results demonstrate that the introduction of these effective seed dispersers is aiding the recovery of this critically endangered tree whose seeds were previously seed-dispersal limited. Reversible rewilding experiments such as ours are necessary to investigate whether extinct interactions can be restored."

Professor Stephen Harris, co-author of the study, said: "Ecological restoration projects generally involve the plant community, as more often the animal components are extinct. There is, however, increasing evidence that restoration ecologists should be most concerned with the decline of species interactions, rather than species extinctions per se. Species interactions structure ecological communities, and provide essential ecosystem processes and functions such as pollination, seed dispersal and browsing, that are necessary for the self-regulation and persistence of a community."


'/>"/>

Contact: Hannah Johnson
hannah.johnson@bristol.ac.uk
44-117-928-8896
University of Bristol
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Giant fire-bellied toads brain brims with powerful germ-fighters
2. Giant rats lead scientists to ancient face carvings
3. Researchers discover giant crayfish species right under their noses
4. Oil giant plans new platform near feeding ground of critically endangered whale
5. Old-growth forests are what giant pandas need
6. Giants among us: Paper explores evolution of the world’s largest mammals
7. Raising giant insects to unravel ancient oxygen
8. Efforts underway to rescue vulnerable bananas, giant swamp taro, other Pacific Island crops
9. New study shows how giant tortoises, alligators thrived in High Arctic 50 million years ago
10. Greenland glacier gives birth to giant iceberg
11. Extinct giant shark nursery discovered in Panama
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/18/2016)... 2016 --> --> ... Manned & Unmanned Vehicles, Physical infrastructure and Perimeter Surveillance & ... the border security market and the continuing migration crisis in ... Europe has led visiongain to publish this unique ... --> defence & security companies in the border ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University ... University, announced today the formation of Neteera Technologies ... biological indicators. Neteera Technologies has completed its first round ... Neteera,s ... from sweat ducts, enables reliable and speedy biometric identification, ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... http://www.apimages.com ) - --> http://www.apimages.com ) - ... Images ( http://www.apimages.com ) - Germany . ... new refugee identity cards. DERMALOG will be unveiling this device, and ... Hanover next week.   --> Germany ... the new refugee identity cards. DERMALOG will be unveiling this device, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... - And Other Rising Companies ... Those Competitor Biologics  - Biosimilar Drug Producers ... ,  Who are the most important and ... their sales potentials? Discover, in our updated survey, organisations, ... and revenue forecasting. Visiongain,s new ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... YORK , May 2, 2016 ... announces that its technology partner Mannin Research Inc. will ... Ophthalmology (ARVO), which takes place from May 1-5, 2016 ... executives will be meeting with its vendors and research ... explore business development goals and other collaborative opportunities for ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 30, 2016 , ... The MIT ... textile design, the bioLogic team explored how bacterial properties can be applied to fabric ... using Natto bacteria, which move in response to humidity change. The team harvested Natto ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... Denver, CO (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 ... ... on addressing the necessary fundamentals to transform technology into a viable company, CereScan’s ... enable growth. Mr. Kelley, a recognized leader and mentor in the Denver ...
Breaking Biology Technology: