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Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås (2015)

A Review of Endozoochorous Seed Dispersal by Herbivores and Its Potential Effect on Seed Germination

Bilal, Muhammad Atif

Titre : A Review of Endozoochorous Seed Dispersal by Herbivores and Its Potential Effect on Seed Germination

Auteur : Bilal, Muhammad Atif

Université de soutenance : Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås

Grade : Master in General Ecology 2015

Résumé
Endozoochorous seed dispersal by large herbivores provides a possible aid for ecological restoration of plant communities. This review thesis determines and analyses seed dispersal and seed germination via sheep, cattle, horse, rabbit, deer and herbivore birds dung in different ecosystems. Large amounts of viable seeds of different plant species have been found in herbivore dung in previous studies ; however which species produce seeds that can survive and germinate after ingestion by herbivores is still not well understood. According to my review study out of 31 plant families Poaceae and Cyperaceae are the most common plant families which are dispersed by all six herbivores dung in different ecosystems. Cattle are among the most seed disperser as compared to other herbivores, while herbivores birds disperse the seeds at long distances then other herbivores due to migration over longer distances. Seed germination success rate depends on initial mastication and rumination by the herbivores rather than mean retention time. Those plants which have smaller seeds are more likely to disperse by herbivores dung than the plants which have large seeds. And the seed passage through the animal gut may affect the fraction of seed germination it may costly if inhibit the process of seed germination by reducing the mechanical protection of seed coat and this cost can be offset if animal deposit the seeds in very favorable microhabitats. This study also indicates that there are potentially high costs to endozoochory that have to be balanced against the benefits of long-distance dispersal by large herbivores.

Mots clés : Endozoochorous, Seed dispersal, Poaceae, Cyperaceae, Herbivores, Mastication, Rumination, Germination, Ingestion, Ecosystem.

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Page publiée le 19 février 2018, mise à jour le 7 octobre 2019