Publication details.


Author(s):F. Fuster, A. Traveset
Title:Evidence for a double mutualistic interaction between a lizard and a Mediterranean gymnosperm, Ephedra fragilis
Journal:AoB Plants
JCR Impact Factor:2.182
Issue No.:1
Abstract:© 2019 The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company.An increasing number of double mutualisms (i.e. two interacting species benefiting each other in two different functions, e.g. pollination and seed dispersal) have been reported, mainly from island ecosystems, although we still lack much information on how effective such species are in both processes. Here, we assessed the pollination effectiveness of a double mutualism between an ancient Mediterranean gymnosperm, Ephedra fragilis, and a lizard, Podarcis lilfordi. On the one hand, we assessed the lizard contribution to different fitness measures (seed set and germination success), relative to that of insects and the wind effect; on the other, we determined the lizards' seed removal rate (i.e. the quantity component of seed dispersal effectiveness). In both processes, we further tested for differences in their contributions among male, female and juvenile lizards. Ephedra fragilis showed to be mostly anemophilous, lizards and insects playing only a minor role on seed set. However, lizards qualitatively contributed to pollination success, as seeds coming from lizard-pollinated cones germinated at higher rates than those pollinated by wind or insects, although this was detected only for small seeds (<8 mg). The plant produced a low seed set (c. 23 %), which was compensated by a high seed germinability (c. 70 %). Adult male lizards were those most implicated in pollination, quantitatively more important than insects, and in seed dispersal. This work, thus, reports the importance of a lizard species in one of the few double mutualisms found in the World involving a gymnosperm, and it represents the first documentation of a double mutualism in the Mediterranean region. Our findings further contribute to highlight the role of both inter- and intraspecific differences in the effectiveness of mutualistic interactions.

Related staff

  • Anna Traveset Vilagines
  • Related departments

  • Oceanography and Global Change
  • Related research groups

  • Global Change Research