|Title||Interspecific associations in seed arrival and seedling recruitment in a Neotropical forest|
|Author(s)||Wright, S.J.; Calderón, Osvaldo; Hernandéz, Andrés; Detto, Matteo; Jansen, Patrick A.|
|Source||Ecology 97 (2016)10. - ISSN 0012-9658 - p. 2780 - 2790.|
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
|Keyword(s)||Anemochory - Barro Colorado Island - Contagious seed dispersal - Fruiting phenology - Seed production - Seed rain - Seedling recruitment - Zoochory|
Contagious seed dispersal refers to the tendency for some sites to receive many dispersed seeds while other sites receive few dispersed seeds. Contagious dispersal can lead to interspecifc associations in seed arrival, and this in turn might lead to interspecifc associations in seedling recruitment. We evaluate the extent of spatially contagious seed arrival, the frequency of positive interspecifc associations in seed arrival, and their consequences for seedling recruitment at the community level in a tropical moist forest. We quantifed seed arrival to 200 passive seed traps for 28 yr of weekly censuses and seedling recruitment to 600 1-m2 quadrats for 21 yr of annual censuses on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. We assessed whether spatially contagious seed dispersal was more important among zoochorous species than among anemochorous species, increased in importance with similarity in fruiting times, and led to interspecifc associations in seed arrival and seedling recruitment. We controlled adult seed source associations statistically to evaluate predicted relationships. We found that spatially contagious seed arrival was widespread among zoochorous species, but also occurred among anemochorous species when the strong, consistent trade winds were present. Signifcant interspecifc associations in seed arrival were more likely for pairs of species with zoochorous seeds and similar fruiting times and persisted through seedling recruitment. Thus, interspecifcally contagious seed dispersal affects local species composition and alters the mixture of interspecifc interactions through the seed, germination, and early seedling stages in this forest. Future investigations should consider the implications of interspecifc association at the regeneration stages documented here for later life stages and species coexistence.