RELVA Maria Andrea
Seed predation as a barrier to alien conifer invasions
NUÑEZ, M.; SIMBERLOFF, D.; RELVA, M. A.
Año: 2008 vol. 10 p. 1389 - 1398
Interactions between exotic plants and animals can play a major role in determining success or failure of plant introductions. Seed predation has been seen as important in explaining biotic resistance to plant invasion, but this hypothesis has rarely been tested. We studied seed predation on exotic forest plants on an island in Patagonia, Argentina where 43 pine species, including 60% of the worlds known invasive Pinaceae, were introduced ca. 80 years ago, but where exotics attain relatively high densities only near the original plantings. To test if seed predation limits exotic conifer establishment in this area, we compared seed predation in areas close to plantations (colonized by exotics) and far from them (not invaded). Seeds of exotics were preferred over seeds of native species, possibly because exotic seeds are bigger. Predation was more intense in areas far from plantations than in areas close to them, substantially reducing the chances of exotic seed establishment. Using automatic cameras, we found that both rodents and birds preyed on exotic seeds. This study suggests that native seed predators can be an important component of biological resistance to plant invasion.