Aggregated seed dispersal by spider monkeys limits recruitment to clumped patterns in Virola calophylla

Sabrina E. Russo, Carol K. Augspurger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The initial spatial pattern of seed deposition influences plant population and community structure, particularly when that pattern persists through recruitment. In a vertebrate-dispersed rain forest tree, Virola calophylla, we found that spatially aggregated seed deposition strongly influenced the spatial structure of later stages. Seed dispersion was clumped, and seed densities were highest underneath V. calophylla females and the sleeping sites of spider monkeys (Ateles paniscus), the key dispersal agent. Although these site types had the lowest per capita seed-to-seedling survival, they had the highest seedling/sapling densities. Conversely, seed and seedling/sapling densities were lowest, and seed survival was highest, at sites of diurnal seed dispersal by spider monkeys. Negative density-dependent and positive distance-dependent seed survival thinned seed clumps. Nonetheless, the clumped dispersion at sleeping and parental sites persisted to the seedling/sapling stage because differences in seed deposition were large enough to offset differences in seed survival among these site types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1058-1067
Number of pages10
JournalEcology Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Ateles paniscus
  • Dispersion
  • Myristicaceae
  • Neotropical forest
  • Peru
  • Recruitment
  • Seed dispersal
  • Seed survival
  • Seedlings
  • Virola calophylla

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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