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Landscape corridors promote animal, plant dispersal

of connected patches than the center of unconnected patches. The study also showed that seeds from wax myrtle plants found in the fecal matter of the birds were 37 percent more likely to be found in traps in the center of connected patches than in traps in the center of unconnected patches.

These results showing increased movement of animals and plants in habitats connected by corridors mimicked other previously published studies done by these and other researchers, Haddad says.

But this study has an even more important and broad impact, according to Haddad.

The researchers observed behaviors of bluebirds during the course of the study and found that the birds were not necessarily using the landscape corridors, but were instead often traveling along the edges of the corridors.

Using these behaviors in a predictive model, the researchers arrived at estimates of the numbers of birds distributing seeds to both the connected and unconnected patches.

The study shows a "tight fit" between predictions and actual seed movement.

"From behavioral studies, we can predict how animals will move in large-scale landscapes," Haddad says. "This study is specifically designed to understand how species might move through corridors. But understanding behavioral approaches is important in any context where you're worried about the spread of organisms through a landscape, like the spread of non-native invasive species or birds that carry diseases."


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Contact: Dr. Nick Haddad
nick_haddad@ncsu.edu
919-515-4588
North Carolina State University
30-Jun-2005


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