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Eating all or leaving something? The role of partially gnawed acorns in oak regeneration
Year:2010
Research Areas
  • Ecology
Information
Abstract
We examined if partial predation of acorns could limit acorn dispersal and oak regeneration. We used wire tagging method to monitor acorn fate. Then, we conducted laboratory experiments to examine capability of partially gnawed acorns to germinate and establish. Partially eaten acorns resulted in a 15.1% (N=110) of the relocated acorns. Most acorns presented cotyledon loss in the basal part (60.0%; N=66) and only 10.9% (N=12) resulted in non-viable seeds (embryo damaged). Dispersal distances for partially eaten acorns in the first cache did not differ from intact acorns. 83.3% of partially predated acorns were able to establish compared to 96.6% for intact acorns. We found that partially eaten acorns germinated significantly sooner than intact acorns, with no differences in root length compared to intact acorns. However, partially gnawed acorns produced less root biomass, which could affect seedling development. These results provide that partial consumption of acorns by rodents is not a very rare event, enabling effective dispersal. This study supports the satiation hypothesis at seed level since larger acorns presented greater uneaten cotyledon mass. However, the percentage of acorns with the embryo undamaged was not related to acorn weight, which leads to the same proportion of potentially viable acorns regardless their weight. We conclude that partially gnawed acorns play an important role in natural regeneration of oak forests with ecological and evolutionary implications.
International
Si
Congress
5th International Symposium-Workshop on Frugivores and Seed Dispersal
960
Place
Montpellier, France
Reviewers
Si
ISBN/ISSN
000-00-0000-000-0
Start Date
13/06/2010
End Date
18/06/2010
From page
90
To page
90
Frugivores and Seed Dispersal: Mechanisms and Consequences of a Key Interaction for Biodiversity. program and Abstracts
Participants
  • Autor: Alfonso San Miguel Ayanz (UPM)
Research Group, Departaments and Institutes related
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Ecología y Gestión Forestal Sostenible
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