On dinosaurs, megafruits, and extinctions


Many plants have evolved traits in response to interactions with megafaunal animals, such as large, ‘megafaunal’ fruits or defence traits (e.g., spines). However, two major global extinction events in Earth’s history impacted terrestrial megafauna dramatically: The Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs, and the much more recent Late Pleistocene and Holocene extinctions of many megafaunal mammals, reptiles, and large birds. The eco-evolutionary consequences of these extinction events for plants that were pre-adapted to interact with megafauna remain poorly explored. In this talk, I will apply comparative methods and phylogenetic modelling to show that the 25-million-year gap of megaherbivores after the non-avian dinosaur extinction and before the evolution of megaherbivorous mammals in the Late Eocene, was characterized by speciation slowdowns, decreased evolution of defence traits, and increased evolution of megafaunal fruits in palms (Arecaceae). Then, using a novel database of present-day megafruit plant species and >10000 seed-dispersal records, I will show that ‘true’ anachronistic megafruit species (without any dispersal record) suffer from dispersal limitation, small geographical range sizes, and high extinction risk compared with megafruit species still dispersed today by large ungulates, apes, rodents, and humans. I will discuss how the disruption of mutualistic and antagonistic interactions affect plant survival and persistence in defaunated landscapes.

Speaker: Dr. Renske Onstein

Affiliation: German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Germany

Time: May. 17, 2022

Venue: 瞩目会议平台 会议 ID:135 871 8714  会议密码 PWD:666666 

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会议 ID:135 871 8714
会议密码 PWD:666666
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