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Geographic patterns of tree dispersal modes in Amazonia and their ecological correlates

Correa, Diego F., Stevenson, Pablo R., Umaña, Maria Natalia, Coelho, Luiz de Souza, Lima Filho, Diógenes de Andrade, Salomão, Rafael P., Amaral, Iêda Leão do, Wittmann, Florian, Matos, Francisca Dionízia de Almeida, Castilho, Carolina V., and others. (2023) Geographic patterns of tree dispersal modes in Amazonia and their ecological correlates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 32 (1). pp. 49-69. ISSN 1466-822X. E-ISSN 1466-8238. (doi:10.1111/geb.13596) (KAR id:99321)


Aim: To investigate the geographic patterns and ecological correlates in the geographic distribution of the most common tree dispersal modes in Amazonia (endozoochory, synzoochory, anemochory and hydrochory). We examined if the proportional abundance of these dispersal modes could be explained by the availability of dispersal agents (disperser-availability hypothesis) and/or the availability of resources for constructing zoochorous fruits (resource-availability hypothesis).

Time period: Tree-inventory plots established between 1934 and 2019.

Major taxa studied: Trees with a diameter at breast height (DBH) ≥ 9.55 cm.

Location: Amazonia, here defined as the lowland rain forests of the Amazon River basin and the Guiana Shield.

Methods: We assigned dispersal modes to a total of 5433 species and morphospecies within 1877 tree-inventory plots across terra-firme, seasonally flooded, and permanently flooded forests. We investigated geographic patterns in the proportional abundance of dispersal modes. We performed an abundance-weighted mean pairwise distance (MPD) test and fit generalized linear models (GLMs) to explain the geographic distribution of dispersal modes.

Results: Anemochory was significantly, positively associated with mean annual wind speed, and hydrochory was significantly higher in flooded forests. Dispersal modes did not consistently show significant associations with the availability of resources for constructing zoochorous fruits. A lower dissimilarity in dispersal modes, resulting from a higher dominance of endozoochory, occurred in terra-firme forests (excluding podzols) compared to flooded forests.

Main conclusions: The disperser-availability hypothesis was well supported for abiotic dispersal modes (anemochory and hydrochory). The availability of resources for constructing zoochorous fruits seems an unlikely explanation for the distribution of dispersal modes in Amazonia. The association between frugivores and the proportional abundance of zoochory requires further research, as tree recruitment not only depends on dispersal vectors but also on conditions that favour or limit seedling recruitment across forest types.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/geb.13596
Uncontrolled keywords: Ecology, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Global and Planetary Change
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Funders: University of Kent (
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Depositing User: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2023 15:11 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2023 09:57 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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