Predation

Predation depletes seed pools and its impact on plant reproductive output may be enormous (Figure 7). The effects of seed predation on population dynamics depend on several factors, such as plant density, the spatial distribution of host plants, total seed production, type and behavior of predators, and importance of seed production

Figure 7 Harvesting ants (Messor capitatus) predating seeds on a wheat spike. Seed predation may have important consequences on the recruitment of plant populations. Photograph courtesy of Xim Cerda.

for population dynamics. It is worth noting the existence of predispersal (i.e., fruits/seeds are removed directly from the plant) and postdispersal seed predation (i.e., fruits/seeds are collected by predators after dispersal from the mother plant), whose weight for plant population dynamics can substantially differ. Finally, based on the efficiency of biotic agents (e.g., ants) collecting fruits and seeds, animals can act as predators or dispersers, which also has implications for population dynamics.

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