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Within-Season Synchrony of a Masting Conifer Enhances Seed Escape
Devan W. Archibald, Andrew G. McAdam, Stan Boutin, Quinn E. Fletcher and Murray M. Humphries
The American Naturalist
Vol. 179, No. 4 (April 2012), pp. 536-544
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/664623
Page Count: 9
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AbstractPredator satiation resulting from interannual reproductive synchrony has been widely documented in masting plants, but how reproductive synchrony within a year influences seed escape is poorly understood. We evaluated whether the intra-annual reproductive synchrony of individual white spruce trees (Picea glauca) increased seed escape from their primary predispersal seed predator, North American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus). Trees with cones that matured synchronously relative to those of other trees within red squirrel territories were significantly more likely to escape squirrel predation in years with both low and superabundant levels of cone production, generating a significantly positive linear selection differential for increasing intra-annual reproductive synchrony. Thus, this masting plant escapes seed predation in numbers through interannual synchrony in seed production and in time through intra-annual synchrony of seed availability.
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