Project groups

7-3.11 | BIOTIC INTERACTIONS: SEED DISPERSAL BY LARGE HERBIVORES IN TEMPERATE FORESTS

Project leader:
Dr. Britta Kunz

In this project I am investigating the effects of several large herbivore species on the seed dispersal of plants in temperate forests. I focus on the largest recent terrestrial mammal in Europe, the European bison (Bison bonasus), of which the first free-ranging population in Germany currently is being resettled. I compare the role of the European bison as a seed disperser with other large herbivore species present in the study area: roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), red deer (Cervus elaphus) und mufflon (Ovis aries).The aim of the project is to analyze if the animals transport viable seeds into habitats suitable for germination and establishment and if they can provide migration rates of plants for range shifts required under different scenarios of climate change. The study pays special attention to plant species protected under the Flora and Fauna Habitat Guideline (FFH-Guideline) and to a FFH-site at the research area.
The study is integrated into a larger framework of projects on plant-animal interactions and on temperate forests at the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre and the Goethe-University Frankfurt.