By Michael Fenner
What determines the quantity and measurement of the seeds produced via a plant? How usually should still it reproduce them? Why and the way are seeds dispersed, and what are the consequences for the variety and composition of crops? those are only many of the questions tackled during this wide-ranging evaluation of the function of seeds within the ecology of vegetation. The textual content incorporates a wide selection of recommendations of common relevance to plant ecology, reflecting the valuable function that the learn of seed ecology has performed in elucidating many primary features of plant group functionality.
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Extra resources for The Ecology of Seeds
Larger individual capitula within a population are more prone to infestation. From Fenner et al. (2002). 43 Pre-dispersal hazards 5 x 5 m area 44 Fig. 4 Incidence of insect damage in capitula of Centaurea nigra through the ﬂowering season. --- number of capitula open in a 5 × 5-m area; •---• % capitula damaged. In this population, early- and late-ﬂowering individuals were more prone to attack. From Fenner (1985). Infestation was at a minimum in mid-season at the peak of ﬂowering (see Fig. 4). Early and late capitula were much more likely to be attacked, suggesting the possibility of a strong stabilizing selective pressure in favour of synchronous ﬂowering in this case.
In Sanicula arctopoides, removal of inﬂorescences by deer can be compensated for fully by the plant, providing no more than a third of the ﬂowers is lost and the grazing occurs early in the ﬂowering season (Lowenberg, 1994). Similarly, in the wild sunﬂower Helianthus annuus, removal of the primary capitulum results in the production of more inﬂorescences, which compensate fully for the initial loss (Pilson & Decker, 2002). For specialist pre-dispersal seed eaters, developing seeds represent an easily accessible source of potential nutrients, as they often contain high concentrations of nutrients such as proteins and oils (Barclay & Earle, 1974) and minerals (Fenner & Lee, 1989) in comparison with the vegetative parts of the plant.
Sarukh´ an (1980) calculated that the palm Astrocaryum mexicanum allocates 37% of annual production to reproduction, but about 32% when calculated over the whole lifetime. The irregular production of seeds in many forest trees would make it necessary to make annual measurements over a very long period. Bazzaz et al. (2000) make a clear distinction between reproductive allocation (RA) and reproductive effort (RE). The latter represents the proportion of resources that are diverted from vegetative activity.