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How much Dillenia indica seed predation occurs from Asian elephant dung?

Sekar, Nitin and Giam, Xingli and Sharma, Netra Prasad and Sukumar, Raman (2016) How much Dillenia indica seed predation occurs from Asian elephant dung? In: ACTA OECOLOGICA-INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, 70 . pp. 53-59.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actao.2015.11.005


Elephants are thought to be effective seed dispersers, but research on whether elephant dung effectively protects seeds from seed predation is lacking. Quantifying rates of seed predation from elephant dung will facilitate comparisons between elephants and alternative dispersers, helping us understand the functional role of megaherbivores in ecosystems. We conducted an experiment to quantify the predation of Dillenia indica seeds from elephant dung in Buxa Reserve, India from December 2012 to April 2013. Using dung boluses from the same dung pile, we compared the number of seeds in boluses that are a) opened immediately upon detection (control boluses), b) made available only to small seed predators (<= 3 mm wide) for 1-4 months, and c) made available to all seed predators and secondary dispersers for 1-4 months. Using a model built on this experiment, we estimated that seed predation by small seed predators (most likely ants and termites) destroys between 82.9% and 96.4% of seeds in elephant dung between the time of defecation and the median germination date for D. indica. Exposure to larger seed predators and secondary dispersers did not lead to a significant additional reduction in the number of seeds per dung bolus. Our findings suggest that post-dispersal seed predation by small insects (<3 mm) substantially reduces but does not eliminate the success of elephants as dispersers of D. indica in a tropical moist forest habitat. (C) 2015 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, PO BOX 211, 1000 AE AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
Keywords: Asian elephant (Elephas maximus); Buxa Tiger Reserve; Dillenia indica; Dispersal ecology; Elephant dung; Post-dispersal seed predation
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2016 05:13
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2016 05:13
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/53411

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