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Title: Dispersal of Amazonian trees: Hydrochory in Swartzia polyphylla
Authors: Williamson, G. Bruce
Costa, Flávia Regina Capellotto
Minte-Vera, Carolina Viviana
Keywords: Hydrochory
Seed Dispersal
South America
Bacteria (microorganisms)
Swartzia Polyphylla
Swartzia Polyphylla
Issue Date: 1999
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Biotropica
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 31, Número 3, Pags. 460-465
Abstract: Hydrochory was investigated in the seeds of the Amazonian floodplain tree, Swartzia polyphylla, in which pods open on the tree to release one large seed. Seeds collected from beach drift along the Rio Negro showed a high percentage of floaters (82%). Yet most seeds sank following collection from: adult trees (89%), unflooded ground under adults (96%), and flooded ground under adults (86%). The specific gravity of the seeds was near that of water, 1.04 ± 0.03 for sinkers and 0.98 ± 0.02 for floaters. The ability to float was correlated directly with the volume of the air pocket between the two cotyledons, which varied from 5.6 to 20.5 percent of the total seed volume. In a long-term floatation test lasting 81 days, 45 percent of the seeds never floated, 33 percent always floated, and 22 percent first sank for one week and then floated for at least one month. Seeds that never floated eventually rotted, but not until days 6373. Seeds that were floating at day 81, regardless of how long they had been floating, were placed on moistened filter paper for 18 days during which time 36 percent germinated, 45 percent rotted, and 19 percent did neither but remained viable. These results suggest that S. polyphylla achieves dimorphism in flotation of its seeds, some sinking and some floating, by producing seeds of continuous variation in specific gravity around a mean close to 1.00. Seeds that float can be dispersed long distances along river margins, while those that sink may be moved only marginally from the parent tree.
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.1999.tb00388.x
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