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Abstract Detail


Gamba, Diana [1], Maguiña, Rossana [1], Calderón-Acevedo, Camilo Andrés [1], Torres, Karina [2], Muchhala, Nathan C. [1].

Seed dispersal for the unusual inflated berries of Burmeistera (Campanulaceae).

Examining dispersal is critical for understanding the diversity of Andean-centered plant lineages, like Burmeistera (Campanulaceae). One-third of the species present an unusual inflated berry. Unlike the bright colours of non-inflated fruits in the genus, these fruits are typically dull-green; however, the fact that the seeds are loosely held in the placenta and easily removed when touched seems to suggest adaptation to animal dispersal. We studied two inflated-baccate species, Burmeistera glabrata and B. borjensis, with the aim of testing the non-exclusive hypotheses that their seeds are dispersed by 1) small mammals, 2) slugs, or 3) adult flies that develop inside the fruits. In two sites in the Ecuadorian Andes, we performed observations at dusk and dawn to examine the fate of fruits and seeds, recording fruit fall, formation of holes, and seed loss. We documented fruit visitors with cameras, and surveyed unopened fruits for presence of insect larvae and seed condition. Finally, we performed an experiment to examine the effect of holes and rain in germination. For both species, most fruits fell and decomposed beneath the mother plant. However, we found limited support for small mammal dispersal; videos and observations revealed that mice and squirrels are potential, but rare, seed dispersers. We found no evidence for slug or fly dispersal; fly larvae were common inside fruits, but acted exclusively as seed predators. Crickets and other insects often chewed holes in fruits on plants and on the ground. Holes did not have an effect in germination, which was induced with rain. We propose gravity as the primary mode of dispersal, with occasional primary or secondary dispersal by small mammals. Limited dispersal, coupled with rare events of mammal dispersal, may have played a critical role in driving the rapid diversification of Burmeistera.

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1 - University of Missouri - St. Louis, Biology, One University Blvd , 223 Research Building, St. Louis, MISSOURI, 63121, United States
2 - Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Biology, Av. 12 de Octubre 1076 y Roca, Quito, Pichincha, 17 01 21 84, Ecuador

Burmeistera borjensis
Burmeistera glabrata
cloud forest
dispersal mechanisms
inflated berries
limited dispersal

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Ecology Section Posters
Location: Exhibit Hall/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 1st, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM This poster will be presented at 5:30 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: PEC003
Abstract ID:80
Candidate for Awards:Ecological Section Best Graduate Student Poster

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