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THE STUDY OF INTERACTIONS BETWEEN BIRDS AND FLOWERS IN THE NEOTROPICS: A MATTER OF POINT OF VIEW $0.00
Authors:  Márcia A. Rocca and Marlies Sazima
Abstract:
Birds are among the main components for plant reproduction in
tropical ecosystems, with hummingbirds being the most important
vertebrate pollinators in the Neotropics. Flower-visiting birds of another
groups (the perching birds) are often considered as parasites of the
flower-hummingbird relationships. These birds do not present a high
degree of specialization for nectarivory, although nectar should be a very
important component of the diet of some groups. Birds usually also visit
non-ornithophilous flowers, as they look for resources in flowers adapted to pollination by other animals as well. However, very few studies have
focused on non-ornithophilous flowers, which means looking at the
whole group of species visited by birds, from the bird’s point of view—
the resource approach. While visiting non-ornithophilous flowers, birds
(usually hummingbirds) may act merely like robbers, thieves or even copollinators.
Therefore, when the aim of the study is pollination, one
should not only look for ornithophilous flowers, but also for other
possible bird pollinated species, from the flower’s point of view—the
pollination approach. Studies focusing on this last approach are even
scarcer at the community level. It is important to realize that the set of
ornithophilous species are inside the wider set of pollinated species by
birds, and this one is contained inside the set of visited species by birds.
Studies that only pick up ornithophilous species from a community are
not focussing on pollinated species by birds, but rather on a subset of that.
Another problem of point of view is that most studies in the Neotropics
are ground based, which may reduce sampling of canopy species
information. Observation positions within the canopy greatly enhance this
kind of study and should be used more often. As flowers pollinated by
perching birds may be more common in the canopies of Neotropical
forests, perching bird flowers and their visitors and pollinators are
underestimated in communities sampled only from the ground, which
means that the majority of the studies on bird-flower interactions in
Neotropical forests present good lists of bird and plant species, but very
incomplete interaction networks. After putting together these different
approaches to study the bird-flower interaction network, we could maybe
build—with the help of other animal-flower networks—a picture of a
combined model of nested compartments to the whole community,
connecting all animal-flower networks by interactions of co-pollination or
just visits, reinforcing the idea of communities displaying high
connectance. 


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THE STUDY OF INTERACTIONS BETWEEN BIRDS AND FLOWERS IN THE NEOTROPICS: A MATTER OF POINT OF VIEW