Linking pollen limitation and seed dispersal effectiveness

ID: 613 / 398

Category: Abstract

Track: Pending

Proposed Symposium Title: Linking pollen limitation and seed dispersal effectiveness


Laura C. Leal1,2 & Matthew H. Koski2

Affiliations: 1 Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Diadema, São Paulo, Brazil. E-mail: 2 Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA


Seed production and dispersal are crucial ecological processes impacting plant demography, species distributions, and community assembly. Plant-animal interactions commonly mediate both seed production and seed dispersal, but current research often examines pollination and seed dispersal separately, which hinders our understanding of how pollination services affect downstream dispersal services. To fill this gap, we propose a conceptual framework exploring how pollen limitation can impact the effectiveness of seed dispersal for endozoochorous and myrmecochorous plant species. We summarize the quantitative and qualitative effects of pollen limitation on plant reproduction and use Optimal Foraging Theory to predict its impact on the foraging behavior of seed dispersers. In doing so, we offer a new framework that poses numerous hypotheses and empirical tests to investigate links between pollen limitation and seed dispersal effectiveness and, consequently, post-dispersal ecological processes occurring at different levels of biological organization. Finally, considering the importance of pollination and seed dispersal outcomes to plant eco-evolutionary dynamics, our framework opens new avenues for future studies exploring the current and future functioning of these key interactions, both deeply threaten by human landscape modification and ongoing climatic changes.

Symposia selection: 56, 15, 87

Key words: elaiosome, frugivory, mutualistic interactions, pollination biology, population dynamics, optimal foraging theory, seed disperser behavior