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Tropical deforestation alters hummingbird movement patterns

By Adam S. Hadley and Matthew G. Betts

Abstract

Reduced pollination success, as a function of habitat loss and fragmentation, appears to be a global phenomenon. Disruption of pollinator movement is one hypothesis put forward to explain this pattern in pollen limitation. However, the small size of pollinators makes them very difficult to track; thus, knowledge of their movements is largely speculative. Using tiny radio transmitters (0.25 g), we translocated a generalist tropical ‘trap-lining’ hummingbird, the green hermit (Phaethornis guy), across agricultural and forested landscapes to test the hypothesis that movement is influenced by patterns of deforestation. Although, we found no difference in homing times between landscape types, return paths were on average 459±144 m (±s.e.) more direct in forested than agricultural landscapes. In addition, movement paths in agricultural landscapes contained 36±4 per cent more forest than the most direct route. Our findings suggest that this species can circumvent agricultural matrix to move among forest patches. Nevertheless, it is clear that movement of even a highly mobile species is strongly influenced by landscape disturbance. Maintaining landscape connectivity with forest corridors may be important for enhancing movement, and thus in facilitating pollen transfer

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: The Royal Society
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:2665823
Provided by: PubMed Central
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