Seed dispersal on Guam, a crucial process for regenerating and diversifying the island's forests that has significantly declined with the diminishing bird population, is still being carried out by the few remaining Mariana fruit bats, or fanihi, a University of Guam graduate student confirmed in a research project.
Jeried Calaor, a master's biology student, studied the rates of germination after seeds passed through a bat's digestive system. His study found that while germination rates are low, they do occur, suggesting that bats are dispersing seeds over long distances. His study used seeds from the Ficus prolixa fig species, but fruit bats consume at least 16 other types of fruits as well, including breadfruit, papaya, fading, kafu, and talisai, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Bat - Conservation - Restoration - Protection - Habitats
"This illustrates that bat conservation and restoration and protection of their habitats on Guam and the Mariana Islands is vitally important to the region's forest ecosystems," Calaor said.
The Mariana fruit bat is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Today, it is estimated that only 45 to 50 fruit bats remain in the...
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