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Seed Size Variation of Trees and Lianas in a Tropical Forest of Southeast Asia: Allometry, Phylogeny, and Seed Trait - Plant Functional Trait Relationships

Abstract : Seed size is a key trait for understanding and predicting ecological processes in a plant community. In a tropical forest, trees and lianas are major components driving ecosystem function and biogeochemical processes. However, seed ecological research on both components remains limited, particularly phylogenetic patterns and relationships with other traits. Here, we compiled a unique dataset of seed size (seed mass and geometrical size metrics) based on collections of more than 5,200 seeds of 196 woody plant species, covering >98 and 70% of tree and liana stems, respectively, located on a 30-ha plot in a tropical evergreen forest in central Thailand. We aimed to (1) develop allometric equations among seed size metrics to predict seed mass; (2) examine phylogenetic influence on seed size variation; and (3) examine relationships among seed traits and several other functional plant traits. Our allometric equations relating seed mass, seed volume, and width were well-fitted with data ( R 2 = 0.94, 0.87 respectively). A phylogenetic signal test found that seed size was randomly distributed across the phylogeny. To study the functional trait relationships, we separately tested seed size data of the tree and liana communities (146 and 50 species, respectively), against mean body size of frugivores, successional niches, leaf, and structural traits. For the tree community, seed size was significantly related to mean body size of frugivores, which we believe is a basic driver of seed size because it is related to the gape width affecting dispersal effectiveness. Nearly all leaf traits were significantly positively correlated with seed size ( p < 0.03). The significant positive correlation of leaf area and greenness suggested the high-energy demand of large-seeded species. We found a strong positive correlation between seed size and leaf toughness, suggesting a coordination between seed size and leaf defense. However, all these patterns disappeared in the same analysis applied to the liana community. Liana seed size variation was lower than that of trees, perhaps because lianas grow in relatively more uniform conditions in the forest canopy. Frugivore size was the strongest driver of seed size variation. Our study shows a surprising contrast between trees and lianas that is worth further investigation.
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Contributor : Emmanuel Paradis Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, June 20, 2022 - 9:30:10 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, October 20, 2022 - 4:03:25 AM

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Pornwiwan Pothasin, Emmanuel Paradis, Warren Brockelman, Anuttara Nathalang, Thantiyapawn Khemrugka, et al.. Seed Size Variation of Trees and Lianas in a Tropical Forest of Southeast Asia: Allometry, Phylogeny, and Seed Trait - Plant Functional Trait Relationships. Frontiers in Plant Science, 2022, 13, ⟨10.3389/fpls.2022.852167⟩. ⟨ird-03699157⟩



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