Types And Patterns Of Seed Predation And Dispersal

The fate of seeds is critical to plant reproduction. A variety of animals feed exclusively or facultatively on fruits or seeds, limiting potential germination and seedling recruitment. Many animals, especially frugivores, facilitate seed dispersal. Dispersal of seeds is necessary for colonization of new habitats and for escape from high mortality near parent plants, but relatively few studies have measured the advantages of seed dispersal to plant fitness (Howe and Smallwood 1982). In contrast to pollination, effective seed dispersal relies less on disperser specialization than on movement to suitable habitat (Wheelwright and Orians 1982). These mechanisms confer varying degrees of dispersal efficiency and advantages for seedling growth, depending on ecosystem conditions.

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