Seed germination from lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) fecal samples collected during the dry season in the northern Brazilian Amazon

Authors

  • Adriana Renata BARCELOS,

    1. National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA), Biodiversity Coordination, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Paulo Estefano D. BOBROWIEC,

    1. National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA), Biodiversity Coordination, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
    2. National Institute of Science and Technology of Integrated Studies of Biodiversity in the Amazon (INCT-CENBAM), Ministry of Science and Technology (MST), National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), Brasilia, Brazil
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Tânia Margarete SANAIOTTI,

    1. National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA), Biodiversity Coordination, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Rogério GRIBEL

    1. National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA), Biodiversity Coordination, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Institute de Pesquisas Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro (JBRJ), Diretoria de Pesquisas Científicas, Rua Pacheco Leão, 915 CEP: 22460-030, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Correspondence: Adriana Renata Barcelos, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA), Coordenação de Biodiversidade, CP 478, 69011-970, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil. Email: adrianarenata.barcelos@gmail.com

Abstract

This study evaluated the potential of lowland tapirs as seed dispersers in the northern Brazilian Amazon. The study analyzed the viability of seeds after passage through the gut. Fecal samples were collected from 6 different vegetation physiognomies in Viruá National Park during the dry season. The samples were then kept in a greenhouse for 16 months to allow the seeds to germinate. The seedling species were identified and classified according to the type of fruit, plant habit, seed size and type of ingestion. Of the 111 fecal samples, 94 (84.7%) had viable seeds of 75 species. Melastomataceae was the most frequent family with viable seeds in the fecal samples (69.1% of samples, N= 18 species). The data suggest that the importance of the lowland tapirs as dispersers is not restricted to the species consumed actively by frugivory but also extends to species accidentally consumed during browsing. The occurrence of both large and small viable seeds in the fecal samples as well as a number of large drupes, which probably cannot be transported via endozoochory by any other animal species, provide evidence of the ecological importance of lowland tapirs to the dynamics of the forest-campinarana vegetation mosaic in the region.

Ancillary