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Keywords:

  • Belize;
  • density-dependence;
  • diplochory;
  • ecosystem functioning;
  • plant demography;
  • Scarabaeidae;
  • secondary seed dispersal

Abstract

We used manipulative field exclusion experiments to investigate the effects of dung beetles on the spatial aggregation of emerging seedlings of two tropical tree species. The results provide the first direct demonstration that tropical dung beetles reduce seedling clustering, with important implications for plant densities and demography.