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Masting, seed dispersal and seed predation in the cycad Macrozamia communis



Masting, seed dispersal and seed predation in the cycad Macrozamia communis



Oecologia 70(1): 100-105



Little is known about the adaptive value of mast seeding, a common phenomenon in temperate trees and shrubs. Masting is likely to affect both seed dispersal and seed predation. In systems where similar taxa of animals are involved in these two processes, the consequences of mast seeding are likely to be particularly complicated. This study examined the effects of mast seeding in a cycad, Macrozamia communis, on the dispersal of seeds, the pattern of dispersion of seeds and post-dispersal predation on seeds. Dispersal of seeds by possums was poorer from source plants in a masting population than from source plants in an adjacent, non-masting population. This resulted in fewer seeds per seeding female plant in the masting plot being dispersed to favourable sites. We conclude that this is caused by the feeding behaviour and movements of possums in the masting site. The abundance of seeds in this site did not satiate the post-dispersal predators, native rats. In fact, more seeds in this site were eaten than in the nonmasting site. We suggest that the mast seeding observed in M. communis may not be adaptive, but is more likely a consequence of other factors which synchromize flowering within local populations.

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Accession: 059946218

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 28311292

DOI: 10.1007/bf00377116


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