Document Detail

Digesta retention time in the Galápagos tortoise (Chelonoidi nigra).
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21871577     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
The retention time of food in the digestive tract of animals has important implications for digestive physiology. Retention time impacts digestive efficiency and among herbivores affects plant-animal interactions including herbivory and seed dispersal. Poorly studied yet iconic Galápagos tortoises are large-bodied generalist herbivores and ecosystem engineers which migrate seasonally. Potentially variable digesta retention times due to strong seasonal and altitudinal temperature gradients may influence tortoise seed dispersal abilities and rates of herbivory. We fed captive adult tortoises living in semi-natural conditions on Galápagos with inert particles and seeds from locally available fruits to determine whether seed size and ambient temperature influenced retention time. Median retention time varied from 6 to 28days, with a mode of 12days. Seed size had no effect on any of our measures of retention time, but ambient temperature was inversely correlated with retention times. Long retention time facilitates long distance seed dispersal by Galápagos tortoises, which may improve effectiveness. The effect of temperature, which may double from hot lowlands to cold highlands through the seasonal cycle, on tortoise digesta retention time will strongly influence seed dispersal efficiency and may influence patterns of food selection and migration in this species.
Stephen Blake; Elham Sadeghayobi; Martin Wikelski; James Gibbs; Roderick Mackie; Fredy Cabrera
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2011-8-16
Journal Detail:
Title:  Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1531-4332     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2011 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-8-29     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9806096     Medline TA:  Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Vogelwarte Radolfzell, Schlossallee 2, D-78315 Radolfzell, Germany; Whitney R. Harris, World Ecology Center, University of Missouri-St. Louis, B216 Benton Hall, One University Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63121-4400, USA; Charles Darwin Foundation, Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos, Ecuador; 247 Illick Hall, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 1 Forestry Drive, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA; Department of Biology, Washington University, Campus Box 1137, 1 Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA.
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