Post-dispersal seed removal and germination selected tree species dispersed by Cebus capucinus on Barro Colorado Island, Panama

Elisabet V. Wehncke, James W. Dalling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Dispersal quality, an important component of seed disperser effectiveness, may strongly affect the rate of plant recruitment. Here we evaluated the quality of Cebus monkey dispersal by comparing the secondary removal fate and germination of fresh and Cebus-ingested seeds of nine tree species on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Overall, rates of secondary seed removal by vertebrates were low, with most Cebus defecations remaining undisturbed for extended periods on the forest floor. Only four of 30 feces were completely buried by dung beetles, and we found significantly higher vertebrate removal of defecated seeds than control seeds for only one species, Cordia bicolor. Seed germination varied greatly between plant taxa. Seeds of 3 out of 9 species showed significantly higher percent germination after monkey gut passage than control fresh seeds. Germination times tended to be shorter for defecated than for control seeds but were significantly different only for one of nine species, Cecropia insiguis. Low rates of seed removal from Cebus feces, coupled with high germination probabilities, suggest high dispersal effectiveness for Cebus and contrasts strongly with patterns of post-dispersal seed fate recorded for other primate species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-80
Number of pages8
JournalBiotropica
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2005

Keywords

  • Barro Colorado Island
  • Cebus capucinus
  • Dispersal effectiveness
  • Dung beetle
  • Germination
  • Rodent
  • Seasonal moist tropical forest
  • Secondary seed dispersal
  • Seed fate
  • Seed removal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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