The effect of some Mediterranean scrubland frugivores upon germination patterns

I. Izhaki, U. N. Safriel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Probability of germination, length of seed dormancy, and the temporal pattern of germination of 5 bird-dispersed plant species of an Israeli scrubland community varied depending on plant species, on which of 7 bird species they were experimentally fed to, on whether or not they remained covered by pulp, and on whether or not the pulp was experimentally removed before sowing. In order to withstand passage through the gut, seeds are apparently protected in a way that may delay their germination after defecation and alter the inherent dormancy, depending on the amount of wear the seeds go through while in the gut. Frugivory modifies the length of this dormancy so that the evenness of seedling emergence over time increases as more dispersers, each of which treats the seed in its gut differently, ingest the fruit. This may help to spread the risks encountered during germination, as an adaptation to a relatively mesic environment with an unpredictable rain pattern. Rhamnus palaestinus seeds are encased in a sheath with unique features. It fully protects the seeds during passage through the gut of a disperser, and is shed immediately after defecation. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-65
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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