Data from: From ratites to rats: the size of fleshy fruits shapes species' distributions and continental rainforest assembly
Rossetto, Maurizio; Yap, Jia-Yee S.; Kooyman, Robert; Laffan, Shawn (2015), Data from: From ratites to rats: the size of fleshy fruits shapes species' distributions and continental rainforest assembly, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.rm5dr
Seed dispersal is a key process in plant spatial dynamics. However, consistently applicable generalisations about dispersal across scales are mostly absent because of the constraints on measuring propagule dispersal distances for many species. Here, we focus on fleshy-fruited taxa, specifically taxa with large fleshy fruits and their dispersers across an entire continental rainforest biome. We compare species-level results of whole-chloroplast DNA analyses in sister taxa with large and small fruits, to regional plot-based samples (310 plots), and whole of continent patterns for the distribution of woody species with either large (>30mm) or smaller fleshy fruits (1093 taxa). The pairwise genomic comparison found higher genetic distances between populations and between regions in the large-fruited species (Endiandra globosa), but higher overall diversity within the small-fruited species (Endiandra discolor). Floristic comparisons among plots confirmed lower numbers of large-fruited species in areas where more extreme rainforest contraction occurred, and re-colonisation by small-fruited species readily dispersed by the available fauna. Species distribution patterns showed that larger-fruited species had smaller geographic ranges than smaller-fruited species and locations with stable refugia (and high endemism) aligned with concentrations of large fleshy-fruited taxa, making them a potentially valuable conservation-planning indicator.