2401 Miller Plant Sciences

Jill Anderson, UGA department of genetics, presents this lecture. Her research interests include:

Our lab also investigates seed dispersal by frugivorous fish in tropical South America. Seed dispersal is a critical stage in the life history of plants. It determines the initial pattern of juvenile distribution, and influences community dynamics, species diversity and gene flow among populations. One major group of vertebrates has been largely overlooked in studies of seed dispersal: fruit-eating fishes. During the lengthy annual flooded season, hundreds of species of frugivorous fish move into South American floodplain forests and consume fallen fruits and seeds.

Large fruit-eating fish species are highly overexploited throughout their ranges. Overfishing has likely biased the age structure of populations to younger fish, with unknown implications for plant community dynamics and the maintenance of diversity in Amazonian floodplains. We are interested in the ecological and evolutionary consequences of overexploitation of fruit-eating fish in the Brazilian Pantanal and the Colombian Amazon. Our current studies integrates data on fish behavior, plant ecology and fisheries to test whether commerical fisheries target the best seed dispersers (generally larger, older fish).