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Ficus species are keystone plants in tropical rainforests, and hemi-epiphytic figs play a notably important role in forest ecosystems. Because hemi-epiphytic figs have strict germination requirements, germination and establishment stages regulate their populations. Despite the ecological importance of hemi-epiphytic figs in the rainforests, seed dispersal systems by fig-eating animals under natural conditions remain unknown because of the difficulty in tracing the destiny of dispersed seeds in the canopy. Therefore, seed dispersal effectiveness (SDE) has never been evaluated for hemi-epiphytic figs. We evaluated the SDE of hemi-epiphytic figs using qualitative and quantitative components by three relatively large-sized (> 3 kg) arboreal and volant animals in Bornean rainforests that largely depend on fig fruits in their diets: binturongs Arctictis binturong, Mueller's gibbons Hylobates muelleri, and helmeted hornbills Rhinoplax vigil. The SDE values of binturongs was by far the highest among the three study animals. Meanwhile, successful seed dispersal of hemi-epiphytic figs by gibbons and helmeted hornbills is aleatory and rare. Given that seed deposition determines the fate of hemi-epiphytic figs, the defecatory habits of binturongs, depositing feces on specific microsites in the canopy, is the most reliable dispersal method, compared to scattering feces from the air or upper canopy. We showed that reliable directed dispersal of hemi-epiphytic figs occurs in high and uneven canopy of Bornean rainforests. This type of dispersal is limited to specific animal species, and therefore it may become one of the main factors regulating low-success hemi-epiphytic fig recruitment in Bornean rainforests.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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The various physical methods which include wind, insects, animals, tension, and water, by which a plant scatters its seeds away from the parent plant.
A genus of gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod-shaped bacteria whose organisms are associated with plants as pathogens, saprophytes, or as constituents of the epiphytic flora.
One or more types of plant seed proteins providing the large amounts of AMINO ACIDS utilized in GERMINATION and SEEDLING growth. As seeds are the major food source from AGRICULTURAL CROPS, seed storage proteins are a major source of DIETARY PROTEINS.
Unique, genetically controlled determinants present on ANTIBODIES whose specificity is limited to a single group of proteins (e.g., another antibody molecule or an individual myeloma protein). The idiotype appears to represent the antigenicity of the antigen-binding site of the antibody and to be genetically codetermined with it. The idiotypic determinants have been precisely located to the IMMUNOGLOBULIN VARIABLE REGION of both immunoglobin polypeptide chains.
A subset of various vascular plants (also known as the Tracheophyta) which include seed-bearing and non seed-bearing species.
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