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The chemical ecology of seed dispersal in monoecious and dioecious figs

Borges, Renee M and Bessiere, Jean-Marie and Hossaert-McKey, M (2008) The chemical ecology of seed dispersal in monoecious and dioecious figs. In: Functional Ecology, 22 (3). pp. 484-493.

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In the nursery pollination system of figs (Ficus, Moraceae), flower-bearing receptacles called syconia breed pollinating wasps and are units of both pollination and seed dispersal. Pollinators and mammalian seed dispersers are attracted to syconia by volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In monoecious figs, syconia produce both wasps and seeds, while in (gyno)dioecious figs, male (gall) fig trees produce wasps and female (seed) fig trees produce seeds. VOCs were collected using dynamic headspace adsorption methods on freshly collected figs from different trees using Super Q® collection traps. VOC profiles were determined using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS).The VOC profile of receptive and dispersal phase figs were clearly different only in the dioecious mammal-dispersed Ficus hispida but not in dioecious bird-dispersed F. exasperata and monoecious bird-dispersed F. tsjahela. The VOC profile of dispersal phase female figs was clearly different from that of male figs only in F. hispida but not in F. exasperata, as predicted from the phenology of syconium production which only in F. hispida overlaps between male and female trees. Greater difference in VOC profile in F. hispida might ensure preferential removal of seed figs by dispersal agents when gall figs are simultaneously available.The VOC profile of only mammal-dispersed female figs of F. hispida had high levels of fatty acid derivatives such as amyl-acetates and 2-heptanone, while monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and shikimic acid derivatives were predominant in the other syconial types. A bird- and mammal-repellent compound methyl anthranilate occurred only in gall figs of both dioecious species, as expected, since gall figs containing wasp pollinators should not be consumed by dispersal agents.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Functional Ecology
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to John Wiley and Sons.
Keywords: bird-dispersed figs;chemical ecology;floral volatiles;rugivory;fruit volatiles;mammal-dispersed figs.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2010 05:57
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2019 09:12
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/26786

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