Factors influencing repeated seed movements by scatter-hoarding rodents in an alpine forest.

Scientific reports

PubMedID: 24759374

Wang B, Chen J, Corlett RT. Factors influencing repeated seed movements by scatter-hoarding rodents in an alpine forest. Sci Rep. 2014;44786.
Scatter-hoarding rodents are effective dispersal agents for many plant species. Several studies have shown that rodents repeatedly re-cache seeds. The re-caching process often has a significant impact on final seedling establishment, but the factors determining its occurrence are poorly understood. In this study, we followed the fate of 3564 artificial seeds that varied in size, nutrient content and tannin content. Seeds cached closer to their original releasing plots were more likely to be re-cached, and to a further distance. Larger seeds were more likely to be re-cached than smaller ones, while nutrient and tannin content had little effect. Most plant species that depend on scatter-hoarding rodents for seed dispersal bear relatively large seeds, and large seeds are usually more likely to be dispersed and to establish seedlings, suggesting that the caching preferences of scatter-hoarding rodents may have played an important role in the evolution of large seeds.