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A conceptual framework linking pollen limitation and seed dispersal effectiveness
  • Laura Leal,
  • Matthew Koski
Laura Leal
Universidade Federal de São Paulo

Corresponding Author:laura.leal@unifesp.br

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Matthew Koski
Clemson University
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Seed production and dispersal are crucial ecological processes impacting plant demography, species distributions, and community assembly. Plant-animal interactions commonly mediate both seed production and seed dispersal, but current research often examines pollination and seed dispersal separately, which hinders our understanding of how pollination services affect downstream dispersal services. To fill this gap, we propose a conceptual framework exploring how pollen limitation can impact the effectiveness of seed dispersal for endozoochorous and myrmecochorous plant species. We summarize the quantitative and qualitative effects of pollen limitation on plant reproduction and use Optimal Foraging Theory to predict its impact on the foraging behavior of seed dispersers. In doing so, we offer a new framework that poses numerous hypotheses and empirical tests to investigate downstream effects of pollen limitation on seed dispersal effectiveness and, consequently, post-dispersal ecological processes occurring at different levels of biological organization. Finally, considering the importance of pollination and seed dispersal outcomes to plant eco-evolutionary dynamics, we discussed the implications of our framework for future studies exploring the demographic and evolutionary impacts of pollen limitation for animal-dispersed plants.
20 Mar 2023Submitted to Ecology Letters
22 Mar 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
22 Mar 2023Assigned to Editor
22 Mar 2023Submission Checks Completed
23 Mar 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
05 May 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Major