Present address: Department of Biology, Duke University, PO Box 91000, Durham, NC 27708, USA.
Geographical variation in the determinants of seed dispersal success of a myrmecochorous herb
Article first published online: 6 SEP 2007
Journal of Ecology
Volume 95, Issue 6, pages 1381–1393, November 2007
How to Cite
REY, P. J. and MANZANEDA, A. J. (2007), Geographical variation in the determinants of seed dispersal success of a myrmecochorous herb. Journal of Ecology, 95: 1381–1393. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2007.01293.x
- Issue published online: 6 SEP 2007
- Article first published online: 6 SEP 2007
- Received: 10 January 2007; accepted: 12 July 2007; Handling Editor: Peter Klinkhamer
- ant–plant mutualisms;
- elaiosome-bearing seeds;
- path analysis;
- seed dispersal determinants;
- seed dispersal macroecology;
- structural equation models
- 1This paper draws together geographical variation and various correlates of individual seed dispersal success to evaluate spatial variation in major determinants of seed removal rates of the myrmecochore Helleborus foetidus, whose ant assemblages and diaspores vary geographically.
- 2We censused seed removal by ants directly from individual plants in 12 populations and four regions across the Iberian Peninsula, and measured the elaiosomed seed, plant fecundity, and the biotic and abiotic environment in the close vicinity of each plant. The relative effect of these three groups of variables on seed removal was then modelled at each region using structural equation models and path analyses.
- 3We found a pervasive effect of the close surroundings of each plant on dispersal. We also found a geographically variable influence of diaspore traits on dispersal. Such variable influence of the diaspore was closely related to the compositional and functional variation in ant guilds.
- 4Synthesis: The appearance of an effect of diaspore and plant traits on dispersal depended on the surroundings of the plant, the identity of the ant visitors and ant abundance. This dependence itself might lead to different directions of selection among populations, a conclusion that has not emerged from seed offerings to ants, which is the usual protocol in myrmecochory research.