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Title: The Effects of seed predators on the recruitment of mangroves
Contributor(s): Clarke, PJ  (author); Kerrigan, RA (author)
Publication Date: 2002
DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2745.2002.00705.x
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Abstract: Propagule (diaspore) predation by crabs has been shown to be a major source of mortality for mangroves. We measured predation by crabs on seeds of nine tropical mangrove species in multifactorial experiments by following the fates of tethered propagules.We tested whether planting, intertidal position and canopy gaps influenced predation of propagules and whether the predation of propagules was reduced in the presence of conspecifics. We also tested if predation influenced patterns of propagule establishment.Mortality due to predation ranged from 22 to 100%, with Aegiceras corniculatum > Avicennia marina > Bruguiera parviflora > Aegialitis annulata > B. exaristata > Ceriops australis > C. decandra=B. gymnorrhiza > Rhizophora stylosa. Initial predator preference was correlated with the size of propagules.Propagule planting (prone vs. implanted) and canopy type had the largest magnitude of effects across all species for treatment effects. Propagules dispersed in the prone position had more mortality while those dispersed into canopy gaps were generally less preyed upon. Three species were tested for dominance-predation by regression of stand relative density with final predation by crabs for canopy treatments. No species had significant effects that supported the hypothesis.Predation by crabs often changed with intertidal position but showed no consistent pattern among species or gap treatments. Interactions of canopy treatment and tidal position showed that predation by crabs did not have a major influence on the zonation of mangroves in our study sites.Analyses of covariance of predation and establishment showed that establishment success is strongly controlled by predation in six of the nine species tested. This suggests that herbivores have a greater impact on recruitment than do microhabitat effects on resources. The combined effects of predator refuge and growth preference enhance recruitment in large canopy gaps. Crab predators appear to maintain the floristic similarity between canopy gaps and surrounding forests in tropical mangrove forests of northern Australia by removing allopatric species from gaps.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Ecology, 90(4), p. 728-736
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Place of Publication: Oxford, England
ISSN: 0022-0477
Field of Research (FOR): 060799 Plant Biology not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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