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Seed Dispersal Methods

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on 18 February 2016

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Transcript of Seed Dispersal Methods

What's the deal with dispersal?
Seeds can not get these resources if it falls directly below the "parent" plant.
WIND
Tradeoff: smaller endosperm, fewer nutrients
FIRE
Unique qualities: remain dormant for a long time, cones with special glue (resin) that melts when the fire is hot enough to burn adult trees
BALLISTIC
Explosion!
ANIMAL
Seeds as FOOD
Seeds are amazing!
WATER
Plants that grow in or near the water can use water to move their seeds
Seeds as HITCHHIKERS
Seed Dispersal Methods
Seeds have evolved different strategies for dispersing.
Seeds must relocate to a new location to find the resources.
Plants need water, sun, and space.
Usually lighter & smaller than other seeds
Special structures, like wings or fluff
Can travel very far
Produced in LARGE numbers because most will die
Mangrove seeds germinate as soon as they touch soil
Structures to increase their buoyancy
Palm trees' seeds can float 100s of miles across the ocean
Fire destroys living plants in the area, creating space for new seeds to grow
Seeds do not need to travel far
Gravity
Involved in most dispersal methods
Seeds can fall to the ground and stay there...
Or, can then use another method to relocate
As the pod dries out, it cracks or shrivels and sends the seeds flying
The seeds are contained in some sort of seed pod
Or, once the pod is full-grown, pressure can set it off
Plants may produce fruits to hold the seeds. Fruits are fleshy, and usually sweet - and animals love to eat them
Many animals and plants have co-evolved to rely on each other
Coevolution: Animals & Plants
These seeds have
elaiosomes
: fleshy structures attached to the seeds, which are rich in lipids and proteins.

Ants bring them back to feed to ant larvae inside the hill; they "dispose" of the seeds, which later sprout!
Myrmecochory - seed dispersal by ants
3,000 plants worldwide use this dispersal method
Seeds themselves can be tasty. Example: squirrels & acorns. Squirrels
cache
(hide) the nuts in the ground for later, but the forgotten seeds sprout
These seeds have structures to attach themselves to animals.
Papaya = tasty fruit
Squirrel & acorn
Agouti and Brazil nut tree
Agouti are the only animals that can crack open the Brazil Nut tree's seeds.
These two species are completely dependent upon one another for survival!
elaiosome
seed
Afzelia africana
tree
Acacia neurophylla
In this case, the seeds may be harmless, or may be a nuisance to the carrier animal.
Ex: burs, hooks
Coevolution: when two different species change and evolve over time together. They are usually dependent on each other for survival.
http://animals.howstuffworks.com/28420-fooled-by-nature-the-agoutis-teeth-video.htm
https://archive.org/details/ThePrivateLifeOfPlants_581
Full transcript