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Simulated seed predation reveals a variety of germination responses of neotropical rain forest species

Vallejo-Marin M, Dominguez CA & Dirzo R (2006) Simulated seed predation reveals a variety of germination responses of neotropical rain forest species. American Journal of Botany, 93 (3), pp. 369-376.

Seed predation, an omnipresent phenomenon in tropical rain forests, is an important determinant of plant recruitment and forest regeneration. Although seed predation destroys large amounts of the seed crop of numerous tropical species, in many cases individual seed damage is only partial. The extent to which partial seed predation affects the recruitment of new individuals in the population depends on the type and magnitude of alteration of the germination behavior of the damaged seeds. We analyzed the germination dynamics of 11 tropical woody species subject to increasing levels of simulated seed predation (0–10% seed mass removal). Germination response to seed damage varied considerably among species but could be grouped into four distinct types: (1) complete inability to germinate under damage ≥1%, (2) no effect on germination dynamics, (3) reduced germination with increasing damage, and (4) reduced final germination but faster germination with increasing damage. We conclude that partial seed predation is often nonlethal and argue that different responses to predation may represent different proximal mechanisms for coping with partial damage, with potential to shape, in the long run, morphological and physiological adaptations in tropical, large-seeded species.

Los Tuxtlas; nonlethal predation; seed germination; simulated seed predation; tropical rain forest

American Journal of Botany: Volume 93, Issue 3

Author(s)Vallejo-Marin, Mario; Dominguez, Cesar A; Dirzo, Rodolfo
Publication date31/03/2006
PublisherBotanical Society of America
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