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Abstract Detail



Ecological Section

Boni, Alexandra [1], Evans, Elizabeth Capaldi [2], Jordon-Thaden, Ingrid [3], MARTINE , CHRISTOPHER T [4].

Woody plant seed dispersal by a grass-feeding macropod in northern Australia.

Life in the “Sandstone Country” along the escarpment of western Arnhem Land (Northern Territory, Australia) can be challenging. This may be especially true for plant species found growing on and around the many sandstone outcrops scattered like islands off the edge of the Arnhem Plateau. While some of these species produce large, fleshy fruits and appear to rely on biotic methods of seed dispersal, little is known about the methods by which this is achieved -- and few potential dispersers co-occur in the outcrop communities. In April 2013, scat collections were made on outcrops in the northeastern area of Kakadu National Park with the hope of uncovering relationships between local frugivores and fruit-producers. Of more than 75 scat samples examined, only one contained seeds. This sample was determined to have come from a black wallaroo (Macropus bernardus), a locally-endemic macropod known to graze on grasses and forbs. The seeds were successfully germinated and seedlings identified using molecular techniques, thus establishing the first confirmation of woody plant seed dispersal by black wallaroo.  Whether this dispersal mechanism is a regular occurrence or an adventitious one is unresolved, but the implications for the plant species may be profound.


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1 - Bucknell University, Biology Dept, Biology Bldg 203, Lewisburg, PA, 17837, USA
2 - Bucknell University, Biological Sciences, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA, 17837, USA
3 - Bucknell University, Biology, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA, 17837, USA
4 - Bucknell University, Biological Sciences, 203 Biology Building, Lewisburg, PA, 17837, USA

Keywords:
seed dispersal
Frugivory
Australia
Mammals
Seed germination
Plant-animal interactions.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Eyrie/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PEC004
Abstract ID:203
Candidate for Awards:Ecological Section Best Undergraduate Presentation Award


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