RODRIGUEZ CABAL mariano Alberto
Post-dispersal seed predation in Patagonia temperate forest depends on habitat patchiness and seed species
MOTTA, LUCIANA; VITALI, AGUSTIN; AMICO, GUILLERMO C.; GARCÍA, DANIEL; RODRIGUEZ-CABAL, MARIANO A.
Año: 2021 vol. 222 p. 819 - 827
Post-dispersal seed predation is a key process regulating plant population dynamics and community composition. Because food preference (i.e., seed species selection) can interact with habitat features such as vegetation characteristics, integrating both is important for a better understanding of the processes that drive plant community structure. In order to study how forest habitat patchiness and seed species influence post-dispersal seed predation, we monitored seed predation of native common understory plant species in Patagonia temperate forests. By performing a cafeteria-style experiment, we assessed consumption on the three most common understory seed species, in forest interior and forest gaps. We found that seed predation by rodents differed between habitats and, independently, between seed species. Seed predation was more than 2 × higher in forest gaps than in forest interior, and medium-sized seed species were the least preyed-upon. Although counterintuitive, given that granivores such as rodents usually prefer sheltered habitats to forage, these results highlight the importance of site-specific variables in plant-granivore interactions.