Seed dispersal by white-tailed deer: implications for long-distance dispersal, invasion, and migration of plants in eastern North America

Seed dispersal by white-tailed deer: implications for long-distance dispersal, invasion, and... For many plant species in eastern North America, short observed seed dispersal distances (ranging up to a few tens of meters) fail to explain rapid rates of invasion and migration. This discrepancy points to a substantial gap in our knowledge of the mechanisms by which seeds are dispersed long distances. We investigated the potential for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus Zimm.), the dominant large herbivore in much of eastern North America, to disperse seeds via endozoochory. This is the first comprehensive study of seed dispersal by white-tailed deer, despite a vast body of research on other aspects of their ecology. More than 70 plant species germinated from deer feces collected over a 1-year period in central New York State, USA. Viable seeds included native and alien herbs, shrubs, and trees, including several invasive introduced species, from the full range of habitat types in the local flora. A mean of >30 seeds germinated per fecal pellet group, and seeds were dispersed during all months of the year. A wide variety of presumed dispersal modes were represented (endo- and exozoochory, wind, ballistic, ant, and unassisted). The majority were species with small-seeded fruits having no obvious adaptations for dispersal, underscoring the difficulty of inferring dispersal ability from diaspore morphology. Due to their broad diet, wide-ranging movements, and relatively long gut retention times, white-tailed deer have tremendous potential for effecting long-distance seed dispersal via ingestion and defecation. We conclude that white-tailed deer represent a significant and previously unappreciated vector of seed dispersal across the North American landscape, probably contributing an important long-distance component to the seed shadows of hundreds of plant species, and providing a mechanism to help explain rapid rates of plant migration. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Oecologia Springer Journals

Seed dispersal by white-tailed deer: implications for long-distance dispersal, invasion, and migration of plants in eastern North America

Oecologia, Volume 139 (1) – Jan 22, 2004

Loading next page...
 
/lp/springer-journals/seed-dispersal-by-white-tailed-deer-implications-for-long-distance-8kto4UfDR6
Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 by Springer-Verlag
Subject
LifeSciences
ISSN
0029-8549
eISSN
1432-1939
DOI
10.1007/s00442-003-1474-2
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

For many plant species in eastern North America, short observed seed dispersal distances (ranging up to a few tens of meters) fail to explain rapid rates of invasion and migration. This discrepancy points to a substantial gap in our knowledge of the mechanisms by which seeds are dispersed long distances. We investigated the potential for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus Zimm.), the dominant large herbivore in much of eastern North America, to disperse seeds via endozoochory. This is the first comprehensive study of seed dispersal by white-tailed deer, despite a vast body of research on other aspects of their ecology. More than 70 plant species germinated from deer feces collected over a 1-year period in central New York State, USA. Viable seeds included native and alien herbs, shrubs, and trees, including several invasive introduced species, from the full range of habitat types in the local flora. A mean of >30 seeds germinated per fecal pellet group, and seeds were dispersed during all months of the year. A wide variety of presumed dispersal modes were represented (endo- and exozoochory, wind, ballistic, ant, and unassisted). The majority were species with small-seeded fruits having no obvious adaptations for dispersal, underscoring the difficulty of inferring dispersal ability from diaspore morphology. Due to their broad diet, wide-ranging movements, and relatively long gut retention times, white-tailed deer have tremendous potential for effecting long-distance seed dispersal via ingestion and defecation. We conclude that white-tailed deer represent a significant and previously unappreciated vector of seed dispersal across the North American landscape, probably contributing an important long-distance component to the seed shadows of hundreds of plant species, and providing a mechanism to help explain rapid rates of plant migration.

Journal

OecologiaSpringer Journals

Published: Jan 22, 2004

References

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create folders to
organize your research

Export folders, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off