Cold temperature increases winter fruit removal rate of a bird-dispersed shrub

  • Authors: Kwit, Charles; Levey, Douglas J.; Greenberg, Cathryn H.; Pearson, Scott F.; McCarty, John P.; Sargent, Sarah
  • Publication Year: 2004
  • Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
  • Source: Oceologia 139: 30-34

Abstract

We tested the hypothesis that winter removal rates of fruits of wax myrtle, Myrica cerifera, are higher in colder winters. Over a 9-year period, we monitored M. cerifera fruit crops in 13 0.1-ha study plots in South Carolina, U.S.A. Peak ripeness occurred in November, whereas peak removal occurred in the coldest months, December and January. Mean time to fruit removal within study plots was positively correlated with mean winter temperatures, thereby supporting our hypothesis. this result, combined with the generally low availability of winter anthropods, suggests that fruit abundance may play a role in determining winter survivorship and distribution of permanent resident and short-distance migrant birds. From the plant's perspective, it demonstrates inter-annual variation in the temporal component of seed dispersal, with the possible consequences for post-dispersal seed and seedling ecology.

  • Citation: Kwit, Charles; Levey, Douglas J.; Greenberg, Cathryn H.; Pearson, Scott F.; McCarty, John P.; Sargent, Sarah 2004. Cold temperature increases winter fruit removal rate of a bird-dispersed shrub. Oceologia 139: 30-34
  • Keywords: Avian seed dispersal, frugivory, seed predation, winter food, yellow-rumped warbler
  • Posted Date: April 1, 1980
  • Modified Date: August 22, 2006
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