Seed removal, seed dispersers, and the allocation of tissues in Myrtaceae seeds
Plants allocate resources to protective seed tissues in order to avoid seed death and ensure successful reproduction. Myrtaceae is an abundant plant family in the Brazilian Atlantic forest with many species producing fleshy fruits that are attractive to birds, rodents, and other mammals. Myrtaceae species may adapt seed characteristics to avoid predation.
Goals and Methods
The authors investigate the relationship between seed mass and hardness and seed removal (predation). They aim to understand if seed dispersers can impact plant resource allocation toward the seed coats of twenty-two Myrtaceae species in the lowlands of the Intervales State Park. The authors take seeds from fresh or recently fallen fruits, measure seed hardness, total weight, and seed coat weight of each seed, and then them around the study site. Seed removal is recorded for 26-35 days.
Conclusions and Takeaways
Seed traits such as mass and hardness influence the probability of predator removal in Myrtaceae seeds. Overall, the authors report that smaller, tougher seeds have higher removal rates than larger softer seeds. Seed mass predicts the allocation of resources to seed coat formation. Depending on the type of seed predator, the ratio of seed size and seed coat thickness significantly changes.
Seed removal, seed dispersers, and the allocation of tissues in Myrtaceae seeds. Biotropica. 2023;55(3):719 - 728. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/btp.13223..