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Seed Dispersal in Tropical Forests

Author(s): Anna Petrovicheva1, HHMI BioInteractive, Jessica Joyner2

1. Brooklyn college 2. CUNY Brooklyn College

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In this activity, students use data from published studies to understand patterns of seed dispersal and apply these ideas to the design of a conservation area. This was applied through the lens of ecology.

Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 1.0.0 - published on 25 Apr 2018 doi:10.25334/Q4GM5S - cite this

Adapted from: Seed Dispersal in Tropical Forests v 1.0


In this exercise, students investigate differences in seed dispersal between two tropical tree species, one wind-dispersed and one bird-dispersed. Student make predictions about the seed shadow of the two species and then compare their predictions to seed dispersal patterns revealed in graphs. Students also explore the relationship between seed survival as a function of distance from the maternal tree. Students apply what they learn to the design of a conservation area. In an optional activity, students examine the degree to which results from the study support the Janzen-Connell hypothesis.

Added modification of some botany background for an ecology class and the application of this topic to the ecology of different environments. Comparison of causes of fragmentation in the tropical environment in the activity to an urban environment. Discussion about competition between plant and how the type of seed transport affects distances of transport and germination rates.


Addition for using this activity in an ecology course.

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