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Stay below water! - a strategy to avoid seed predators: - seed survival and germination of Mauritia flexuosa in southeastern Peru
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Ecology .
2009 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The tropical palm Mauritia flexuosa has highly nutritious fruits and is an important food resource for both humans and wildlife throughout its geographic range in South America. Unsustainable harvesting threatens wild populations. Mauritia f. occurs primarily in wetlands called Aguajales where it can become the dominating canopy species. Seed predation and dispersal can dramatically affect the survival and distribution of plant species in tropical rainforests (Janzen 1970, Connell 1971, Bleher & Böhning-Gaese 2001, Paine & Beck 2007, Mari et al. 2008). Increased knowledge of seed predation and germination requirements is essential for successful management of this commercially and ecologically important palm. Four experiments were conducted in Manu National Park in southeastern Peru to study: (1) Seed survival in the Aguajal, (2) Quantify seed predators on dry land, (3) Insect visitors and consumers of fruits and seeds, and (4) Germination in greenhouse experiments. Seed survival was significantly higher below water compared to on dry micro sites within the Aguajal. Seeds and fruits placed on dry land were preyed upon by both insects and mammals. Terrestrial insects were the most important predators. Different insects visited fruits and seeds, indicating a successive breakdown of different tissues. Seed survival was also higher below water and/or soil in the greenhouse experiment. This may suggest that the distribution of Mauritia f. is highly influenced by seed predation and that water protects seeds from their insect enemies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , 34 p.
Keyword [en]
Aguaje, Amazon, germination, insects, Mauritia flexuosa, palm, Peru, seed predation
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-19930ISRN: LiTH-IFM-Ex-09/2131-SEOAI: diva2:231700
Subject / course
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2009-08-18 Created: 2009-08-17 Last updated: 2011-07-08Bibliographically approved

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