Life in the fast lane: Ecologists say dispersal ability linked to plants' life cycles

phys.org | 6/17/2018 | Staff
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Though mostly rooted in the ground, plants have a number of innovative ways to disperse their seeds and get on with the business of propagation. They drop seeds or release them to the wind. Or they fling seeds with a dramatic mechanical detonation. Or they rely on seed transport by water or hitching a ride on a traveling animal (including humans).

"Seed dispersal is an essential, yet overlooked process of plant demography," says Utah State University ecologist Noelle Beckman. "But it's difficult to empirically observe, measure and assess its full influence."

End - Beckman - Colleagues - James - Bullock

To that end, Beckman, with colleagues James Bullock of the United Kingdom's Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and Rob Salguero-Gómez of the University of Oxford, used the massive COMPADRE Plant Matrix Database, an online repository containing demographic information about thousands of plant species throughout the world, to analyze hundreds of disparate datasets of plant life-history strategies.

The team reports their findings in the June 18, 2018, issue of the Journal of Ecology. Their paper is part of a special British Ecological Society cross-journal feature that provides an overview of forces and mechanisms producing worldwide plant and animal diversity. Their research was supported by the National...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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