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Eating all or leaving something? The role of partially gnawed acorns in oak regeneration
Áreas de investigación
  • Ecología
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.
Nombre congreso
5th International Symposium-Workshop on Frugivores and Seed Dispersal
Tipo de participación
Lugar del congreso
Montpellier, France
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Título de las actas
Frugivores and Seed Dispersal: Mechanisms and Consequences of a Key Interaction for Biodiversity. program and Abstracts
Esta actividad pertenece a memorias de investigación
  • Autor: Alfonso San Miguel Ayanz (UPM)
Grupos de investigación, Departamentos, Centros e Institutos de I+D+i relacionados
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Ecología y Gestión Forestal Sostenible
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