Indirect interactions among tropical tree species through shared rodent seed predators: a novel mechanism of tree species coexistence

C.X. Garzon-Lopez, L. Ballesteros-Mejia, A. Ordonez, S.A. Bohlman, H. Olff, P.A. Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The coexistence of numerous tree species in tropical forests is commonly explained by negative dependence of recruitment on the conspecific seed and tree density due to specialist natural enemies that attack seeds and seedlings (‘Janzen–Connell’ effects). Less known is whether guilds of shared seed predators can induce a negative dependence of recruitment on the density of different species of the same plant functional group. We studied 54 plots in tropical forest on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, with contrasting mature tree densities of three coexisting large seeded tree species with shared seed predators. Levels of seed predation were far better explained by incorporating seed densities of all three focal species than by conspecific seed density alone. Both positive and negative density dependencies were observed for different species combinations. Thus, indirect interactions via shared seed predators can either promote or reduce the coexistence of different plant functional groups in tropical forest.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)752-760
JournalEcology Letters
Volume18
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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rodent
coexistence
rodents
predator
seed
predators
seeds
tropical forests
tropical forest
functional group
seed predation
natural enemy
guild
Panama
natural enemies
seedling
seedlings

Keywords

  • rain-forest tree
  • apparent competition
  • density-dependence
  • spatial autocorrelation
  • plant recruitment
  • dispersal
  • palm
  • herbivores
  • diversity
  • survival

Cite this

Garzon-Lopez, C.X. ; Ballesteros-Mejia, L. ; Ordonez, A. ; Bohlman, S.A. ; Olff, H. ; Jansen, P.A. / Indirect interactions among tropical tree species through shared rodent seed predators: a novel mechanism of tree species coexistence. In: Ecology Letters. 2015 ; Vol. 18, No. 8. pp. 752-760.
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abstract = "The coexistence of numerous tree species in tropical forests is commonly explained by negative dependence of recruitment on the conspecific seed and tree density due to specialist natural enemies that attack seeds and seedlings (‘Janzen–Connell’ effects). Less known is whether guilds of shared seed predators can induce a negative dependence of recruitment on the density of different species of the same plant functional group. We studied 54 plots in tropical forest on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, with contrasting mature tree densities of three coexisting large seeded tree species with shared seed predators. Levels of seed predation were far better explained by incorporating seed densities of all three focal species than by conspecific seed density alone. Both positive and negative density dependencies were observed for different species combinations. Thus, indirect interactions via shared seed predators can either promote or reduce the coexistence of different plant functional groups in tropical forest.",
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Indirect interactions among tropical tree species through shared rodent seed predators: a novel mechanism of tree species coexistence. / Garzon-Lopez, C.X.; Ballesteros-Mejia, L.; Ordonez, A.; Bohlman, S.A.; Olff, H.; Jansen, P.A.

In: Ecology Letters, Vol. 18, No. 8, 2015, p. 752-760.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Garzon-Lopez, C.X.

AU - Ballesteros-Mejia, L.

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AU - Jansen, P.A.

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AB - The coexistence of numerous tree species in tropical forests is commonly explained by negative dependence of recruitment on the conspecific seed and tree density due to specialist natural enemies that attack seeds and seedlings (‘Janzen–Connell’ effects). Less known is whether guilds of shared seed predators can induce a negative dependence of recruitment on the density of different species of the same plant functional group. We studied 54 plots in tropical forest on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, with contrasting mature tree densities of three coexisting large seeded tree species with shared seed predators. Levels of seed predation were far better explained by incorporating seed densities of all three focal species than by conspecific seed density alone. Both positive and negative density dependencies were observed for different species combinations. Thus, indirect interactions via shared seed predators can either promote or reduce the coexistence of different plant functional groups in tropical forest.

KW - rain-forest tree

KW - apparent competition

KW - density-dependence

KW - spatial autocorrelation

KW - plant recruitment

KW - dispersal

KW - palm

KW - herbivores

KW - diversity

KW - survival

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