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The influence of gibbon primary seed shadows on post-dispersal seed fate in a lowland dipterocarp forest in Central Borneo

  • Kim R. McConkey (a1) (a2)

The natural seed shadow created by gibbons (Hylobates mulleri×agilis) in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, was monitored over 11 mo to discern the role of gibbons and post-dispersal events in the spatial pattern of seed germination. Variability in the content and distribution of 183 scats was used to determine which, if any, scat characteristics influenced seed fate. Nine scat characters were evaluated: (1) seed number; (2) number of seed species per scat; (3) scat weight; (4) seed load; (5) rainfall; (6) scat density; (7) distance to nearest fruiting tree; (8) ripe fig abundance; (9) non-fig fruit abundance. More than 99% of monitored seeds were killed, removed, or had germinated during the monitoring period. Vertebrates killed or removed most seeds (86%) and the probability of them moving seeds was highly dependent on non-fig fruit abundance at the time of deposition; factors (2), (6) and (7) also influenced seed removal/predation by vertebrates, depending on whether seeds were deposited in peak or non-peak times of consumption. Insect predation (2% of seeds) occurred mainly in scats that were deposited in months of high ripe fig abundance, while the actual chance of a seed germinating (11% of seeds) was influenced by non-fig fruit abundance at time of deposition and number of species in the original scat. The gibbon-generated seed shadow was profoundly altered by post-dispersal events and variation in the characteristics of the shadow had little lasting impact on the probability of seeds germinating.

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Journal of Tropical Ecology
  • ISSN: 0266-4674
  • EISSN: 1469-7831
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-tropical-ecology
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