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Seed Dispersal in Tropical Forests: Learning How Plants Move Around

Author(s): Sunshine Liberty Brosi

Frostburg State University

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This module focuses on the dispersal of seeds from trees in fragmented tropical forests. Students use data from published studies to understand patterns of seed dispersal and apply these ideas to the design of a conservation area.

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

Version 1.0 - published on 20 Dec 2018 doi:10.25334/Q4B43Z - cite this

Adapted from: Seed Dispersal in Tropical Forests v 1.0


Understanding differing dispersal mechanisms (wind & animal) and their impact on seed shadows and conservation actions is an essential first step in conservation. Comparing two types of tropical tree species, a wind-dispersed species and a bird-dispersed species, students consider factors that may limit dispersal for each type of tree.  Students explore concepts such as seed shadows, the relationship between seed survival as a function of distance from the maternal tree and the Janzen-Connell hypothesis. Students learn to graph data and discuss the impacts of fragmentation on dispersal.

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