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Modelling seed dispersal in a variable environment : a case study of the fleshy-fruited savanna shrub Grewia flava

  • In ecology much attention has been paid towards seed dispersal of fleshy-fruited plants, however, knowledge is lacking about the Iona-term demographic consequences of variation in dispersal distance and fruit removal rate, particularly given the natural variability of the environment the organism lives in. In this study we used a spatially explicit, two-level stochastic computer model to simulate population dynamics of a fleshy-fruited shrub living in the sub-canopy of solitary savanna trees. On the landscape level we implemented three realistic scenarios of savanna landscape dynamics for a period of 500 years with equal inter-annual mean of environmental variables. The first scenario is representative of a relatively constant environment with normal variability in precipitation, constant tree density and random tree recruitment pattern. The second and third scenarios represent positive auto-correlated, cyclic patterns with alternating phases of tree cover increase and decrease corresponding with favorable and unfavorable rain phases.In ecology much attention has been paid towards seed dispersal of fleshy-fruited plants, however, knowledge is lacking about the Iona-term demographic consequences of variation in dispersal distance and fruit removal rate, particularly given the natural variability of the environment the organism lives in. In this study we used a spatially explicit, two-level stochastic computer model to simulate population dynamics of a fleshy-fruited shrub living in the sub-canopy of solitary savanna trees. On the landscape level we implemented three realistic scenarios of savanna landscape dynamics for a period of 500 years with equal inter-annual mean of environmental variables. The first scenario is representative of a relatively constant environment with normal variability in precipitation, constant tree density and random tree recruitment pattern. The second and third scenarios represent positive auto-correlated, cyclic patterns with alternating phases of tree cover increase and decrease corresponding with favorable and unfavorable rain phases. Our simulation experiments show that when fruit removal rate is extremely low, population persistence is enhanced under relatively constant rain conditions, while alternating rain phases of the cyclic scenarios lead to a significant population decrease. This result confirms previous findings that periodically fluctuating environments may increase local extinction risk. However, when dispersal distance is a limiting factor (whilst removal rate was sufficiently high), tree clumps typically forming in wet phases of both cyclic scenarios compensated for the negative effect of low dispersal distances, while the constant scenario with random tree pattern and larger inter-tree distances resulted in a significant population decline. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reservedshow moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Florian JeltschORCiDGND, Jörg Tews, Kirk A. MoloneyORCiDGND
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2004
Year of Completion:2004
Release Date:2017/03/24
Source:Ecological Modelling. - 175 (2004), 1, S. 65 - 76
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
Peer Review:Referiert