Ecology Colloquium Series - Pre-dispersal seed predation and its effects on the plant community
Brady Boyer (Penn State)
Pre-dispersal seed predation occurs whenever the seeds of a plant are killed before the fruit containing them is dispersed from the parent plant. My work is investigating if the rates of pre-dispersal seed predation differ either between plant species or differ as the abundance of a plant species changes. The data collected will be compared to bird frugivory data currently being collected along a latitudinal gradient. For this reason, species observed will be species that are known to be dispersed by birds. I hypothesize that certain predation patterns, in conjunction with the anti-apostatic fruit-selection behavior of birds, will lead to a stabilizing effect on the plant diversity of a community. The effects that pre-dispersal seed predation can have on a plant community have not been studied and this work can potentially add to our understanding of the trade-offs plants must make to balance defense and dispersal.