Extended seed rain period of Adenostoma fasciculatum impacts diverse seed predators.

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Date: June 15, 2021
From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 16, Issue 6)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Article
Length: 7,451 words
Lexile Measure: 1420L

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Abstract :

Aims The principal chaparral species in California, Adenostoma fasciculatum, an evergreen, sclerophyllous shrub, is broadly distributed and provides habitat and food resources for a large and diverse animal community. The effects of climate change, including elevated temperatures, fire frequency and severity, along with increased urban encroachment, have placed pressure on chaparral habitats in California. Our goal is to investigate aspects of reproductive ecology as a measure of the potential resiliency of A. fasciculatum. We focus on seed rain (all seed falling into the seed traps regardless of origin) and seed banks in the context of plant-animal interactions and regeneration. Methods Stand recovery following disturbance is achieved through both resprouting and germination from established persistent soil seed banks. In this study we focus on seed ecology using a series of experiments to document the length and quantity of seed rain, seed predation, parsing the importance of the community of granivores, and evaluating the connection between stand age and germination rate from soil seed banks. Important findings Our research documented an 8-month seed rain duration with over 1 million seeds per m.sup.2, multiple seed predators including passerines (songbirds) and rodents, and points to the possibility of native ants playing a role in the seed dispersal process. This is important given the recent advancement of the invasive Argentine ant (Linepthema humile) into Californian chaparral. This research demonstrates a clear relationship between A. fasciculatum and both resident and migratory granivores in the chaparral. We documented that a 39-year-old stand had higher germination rates than those which were 16, 20, 41 and 71 years old and how seed banks play a major role in assuring resiliency following fire. These findings are important for wildland managers to assure the continued resiliency of A. fasciculatum.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A665292636