Seedling survival of tropical tree species: interactions of dispersal distance, light-gaps, and pathogens.

C. K. Augspurger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tested the hypotheses that seed dispersal enhances seedling survival by 1) escape of distance-dependent or density-dependent mortality or both, and 2) colonization of light-gaps. Spatial patterns of seedling survival for 1 yr in shade and in light-gaps and causes of seedling mortality for the first 2 mo were determined for 1 tree of each of 9 species that use wind dispersal on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. The colonization hypothesis was supported by all 9 trees. At some time interval during the 1st yr, the escape hypothesis was supported by 8 of the 9 trees; dispersal away from the parent to shaded conditions lowered the probability of seedling mortality. However, the trees differed greatly in 1) when the dispersal advantage became apparent, 2) whether the advantage persisted through time, 3) the distance at which survival was most enhanced, and 4) the strength of the advantage. Pathogens caused the largest proportion of deaths among shaded seedlings in 6 of the 9 trees. For the 2 trees with the strongest support for the escape hypothesis, pathogens caused distance-and/or density-dependent mortality; those trees had high seedling densities near the parent. Only the four trees with moderate to strong support for the escape hypothesis had large numbers of seedlings survive to 1 yr in the shade. -from Author

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1705-1712
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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