AbstractA profusion of fruit forms implies that seed dispersal plays a central role in plant ecology, yet the chance that an individual seed will ultimately produce a reproductive adult is low to infinitesimal. Extremely high variance in survival implies that variations in fruit production or transitions from seed to seedling will contribute little to population growth. The key issue is that variance in survival of plant life-history stages, and therefore the importance of dispersal, differs greatly among and within plant communities. In stable communities of a few species of long-lived plants, variances in seed and seedling survival are immense, so seed-to-seedling transitions have little influence on overall population dynamics. However, when seedlings in different circumstances have very different chances of survival—in ecological succession, for example, or when dispersed seeds escape density-dependent mortality near parent trees—the biased survival of dispersed seeds or seedlings in some places rather than others results in pervasive demographic impacts.
BioScience – Oxford University Press
Published: Jul 1, 2004
Keywords: Keywords elasticity analysis seed dispersal spatial demography
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