The effect of feeding behaviour of lesser jerboa Jaculus jaculus on seed dispersal of two plant species in arid zones

A three-year PhD study by Matrah Al-Mutairi funded by the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) supervised by Stephen Harris and Samira Omar (KISR).

Matrah sitting down in the desert


Arid lands cover a large portion of the world and are characterized by harsh environmental conditions that make it difficult for living organisms to survive. In the arid lands of Kuwait, wild animals are rapidly declining both in their population size and distribution due to urbanization and habitat loss. The existence of most desert animals and especially mammals is localized to protected areas of different kinds, such as: natural reserves, arid research stations, protected islands and industrial areas where access is restricted to minimum levels. Unfortunately, plant and animal communities are disappearing quickly from other areas with open access. To solve this problem, several rehabilitation studies have been carried to overcome the problem of desertification and reverse the situation.


The proposed research study aims to enhance the rehabilitation of degraded lands by testing the effect of certain rodents on seed dispersal through their feeding behaviour. Many studies confirm the mutual relationship between animals and plants, such as between desert plants and granivores rodents. Plants provide shelter and food source for rodents whereas rodents play a major role in seed dispersal and plant propagation through caching and seed hording. In Kuwait it is not known which species of rodents play a role in plant propagation so the proposed study will:

Contact details

Matrah Al-Mutairi
School of Biological Sciences
University of Bristol
Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 1UG, U.K.

Tel: 0117 9287593
Email: Matrah Al-Mutairi