Pollination by vertebrates in island ecosystems
Both birds and reptiles tend to be highly abundant in islands due to the low interspecific competition and reduced predation and parasitism, which increases intraspecific competition and promotes further niche breadth. Thus, typical insectivores and granivores may be forced to consume nectar and pollen on islands, and by doing so, they may act as pollinators, especially of plants suffering from insect paucity. We aim at advancing the knowledge on the role that these vertebrates can play as pollinators. We are currently working on a project embracing five archipelagos: the Galápagos (we have already published some work on this –see here-), the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, Mauritius and Seychelles. In the latter two we are collaborating with Chris Kaiser-Bunbury (TU. Darmstadt) who has been working there for a number of years on mutualistic interactions. Our goal is assessing the effectiveness of such vertebrates as pollinators and unravealing to what extent plants depend upon them for seed production.