Seed dispersal of desert annuals

David L Venable, Arturo Flores-Martinez, Helene C. Muller-Landau, Greg A Barron-Gafford, Judith X. Becerra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We quantified seed dispersal in a guild of Sonoran Desert winter desert annuals at a protected natural field site in Tucson, Arizona, USA. Seed production was suppressed under shrub canopies, in the open areas between shrubs, or both by applying an herbicide prior to seed set in large, randomly assigned removal plots (10-30 m diameter). Seedlings were censused along transects crossing the reproductive suppression borders shortly after germination. Dispersal kernels were estimated for Pectocarya recurvata and Schismus barbatus from the change in seedling densities with distance from these borders via inverse modeling. Estimated dispersal distances were short, with most seeds traveling less than a meter. The adhesive seeds of P. recurvata went farther than the small S. barbatus seeds, which have no obvious dispersal adaptation. Seeds dispersed farther downslope than upslope and farther when dispersing into open areas than when dispersing into shrubs. Dispersal distances were short relative to the pattern of spatial heterogeneity created by the shrub and open space mosaic. This suggests that dispersal could contribute to local population buildup, possibly facilitating species coexistence. Overall, these results support the hypothesis that escape in time via delayed germination is likely to be more important for desert annuals than escape in space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2218-2227
Number of pages10
JournalEcology
Volume89
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2008

Fingerprint

seed dispersal
deserts
desert
shrub
shrubs
seed
seeds
germination
seedling
Schismus
Sonoran Desert
seed set
seedlings
seed crop production
open space
seed production
guild
adhesives
coexistence
herbicide

Keywords

  • Desert annuals
  • Dispersal kernel
  • Escape in time and space
  • Inverse modeling
  • Pectocarya recurvata
  • Removal experiment
  • Schismus barbatus
  • Seed dispersal
  • Sonoran Desert
  • Species coexistence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Venable, D. L., Flores-Martinez, A., Muller-Landau, H. C., Barron-Gafford, G. A., & Becerra, J. X. (2008). Seed dispersal of desert annuals. Ecology, 89(8), 2218-2227. https://doi.org/10.1890/07-0386.1

Seed dispersal of desert annuals. / Venable, David L; Flores-Martinez, Arturo; Muller-Landau, Helene C.; Barron-Gafford, Greg A; Becerra, Judith X.

In: Ecology, Vol. 89, No. 8, 08.2008, p. 2218-2227.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Venable, DL, Flores-Martinez, A, Muller-Landau, HC, Barron-Gafford, GA & Becerra, JX 2008, 'Seed dispersal of desert annuals', Ecology, vol. 89, no. 8, pp. 2218-2227. https://doi.org/10.1890/07-0386.1
Venable DL, Flores-Martinez A, Muller-Landau HC, Barron-Gafford GA, Becerra JX. Seed dispersal of desert annuals. Ecology. 2008 Aug;89(8):2218-2227. https://doi.org/10.1890/07-0386.1
Venable, David L ; Flores-Martinez, Arturo ; Muller-Landau, Helene C. ; Barron-Gafford, Greg A ; Becerra, Judith X. / Seed dispersal of desert annuals. In: Ecology. 2008 ; Vol. 89, No. 8. pp. 2218-2227.
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