Evol Ecol Res 2: 353-363 (2000) Full PDF if your library subscribes.
Interspecific variation in seed mass and the co-existence of conifer species: A null model test
Joseph A. Veech,1
David A. Charlet2 and Stephen H. Jenkins1
1Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557-0015 and 2Department of Science – S2B, Community College of Southern Nevada, North Las Vegas, NV 89030, USA
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In many plant communities, there is remarkable variation in seed mass among co-existing species. Plant ecologists have focused on explaining the evolution of this variation but have directed relatively little attention towards examining its significance for species co-existence. This study represents the first empirical attempt to link variation in seed mass with species co-existence. Recent models have suggested that variation in seed mass may promote species co-existence if seedlings compete and if a trade-off exists between seed number and seed mass. We used a null model to test whether the pattern of interspecific variation in seed mass in 124 assemblages of montane conifer species was random or non-random. In most assemblages (mountain ranges), the variation appeared to be random. However, in assemblages consisting solely of pine species, seed masses were more evenly spaced than expected by chance alone. We therefore conclude that variation in seed mass is not important to species co-existence in diverse conifer assemblages but it may promote co-existence among pine species. Further empirical tests are needed before ecologists can come to a consensus opinion concerning the role of variation in seed mass in species co-existence.
Keywords: conifer, Great Basin, null model, seed size variation.
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