The Role of Flying Foxes in Durian Pollination Ecology
Dr. Sheema Abdul Aziz
With over 1,300 species, bats illustrate many key issues in ecology and evolution, from the beauty of their unique biology to their importance for ecosystem services, disease and conservation. Now, scientists here have discovered that Southeast Asia’s highly popular durian tree is pollinated by locally endangered fruit bats known as flying foxes. By putting camera traps in durian trees on Tioman Island, Malaysia, researchers collected video evidence showing the island flying fox (Pteropus hypomelanus) pollinating durian flowers, leading to the production of healthy durian fruit. Dr. Sheema Abdul Aziz, the Co-Founder, President and Principal Investigator at Rimba, led the study in Malaysia as part of her PhD under the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (France). She joins us to share her findings.