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Annual and Spatial Variation in Seedfall and Seedling Recruitment in a Neotropical Forest

An economy of scale may lead to selection to increase interannual variation in seed production when the per seed probability of seedling establishment increases with seed production. Variable annual seedfall will, however, reduce this probability when postdispersal seed fate is negatively density... Full description

1st Person: Wright, S. Joseph
Additional Persons: Muller-Landau, Helene C. verfasserin; Calderóon, Osvaldo verfasserin; Hernandéz, Andrés verfasserin
Source: in Ecology : a publication of the Ecological Society of America Vol. 86, No. 4 (2005), p. 848-860
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Type of Publication: Article
Language: English
Published: 2005
Keywords: research-article
Barro Colorado Island
Density Dependence
Lianas
Masting
Panama
Pest Satiation
Seedling Recruitment
Seed Production
Tropical Trees
Online: Volltext
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Summary: An economy of scale may lead to selection to increase interannual variation in seed production when the per seed probability of seedling establishment increases with seed production. Variable annual seedfall will, however, reduce this probability when postdispersal seed fate is negatively density dependent on the local density of seeds, and seed dispersal and density dependence act identically across years. Intuitively, more variable annual seedfall causes the representative seed to experience a greater density of conspecific seeds and suffer greater density-dependent effects. This handicap must be overcome for the per seed probability of recruitment to be greater in years with greater seed production. We quantified spatial and annual variation in seedfall and seedling recruitment, evaluated density dependence and economies of scale during the seed-to-seedling transition, and investigated the synergistic consequences of density dependence and variable annual seedfall for seedling recruitment on Barro Colorado Island (BCI), Panama. Weekly censuses of 200 0.5-m2 seed traps documented seedfall for 15 years and 108 plant species. Annual censuses of 600 1-m2seedling plots documented recruitment for nine years and 32 species. The density of seedling recruits tended to increase with the density of seeds; however, the per seed probability of recruitment invariably decreased with seedfall density. Negative density dependence characterized the seed-to-seedling transition. Observed levels of spatial and interannual variation in seedfall density would reduce long-term recruitment by up to 28% if negatively density-dependent survival acted identically across years; however, the strength of negative density dependence varied significantly among years for 12 of 32 species. Negative density dependence occurred in all years for these species but was significantly weaker during the one or two years of greatest seedfall than during the remaining years of lower seedfall. The per seed probability of recruitment increased significantly with annual seedfall for eight of these species. These eight species realized postdispersal economies of scale despite the reduction in long-term recruitment expected from the synergism between variable annual seed production and negatively density-dependent seed fate.
Item Description: Copyright: Copyright 2005 Ecological Society of America
Physical Description: Online-Ressource
ISSN: 1939-9170

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