Publication
Title
Beyond predator satiation : masting but also the effects of rainfall stochasticity on weevils drive acorn predation
Author
Abstract
Escaping seed predation is a classic "economy of scale" hypotheses (predator satiation hypothesis, Psh) to explain the selection for the synchronous production of massive and nil seed crops (masting) in plants. The Psh postulates that predator satiation occurs through a combination of (1) "functional satiation," as not all seeds can be consumed during a massive crop, and (2) "numerical satiation," as predator populations collapse during poor crop years. Many studies advocate for the Psh, but few have investigated the importance of masting compared to other factors for the control of predation extent. Namely, environmental cues prompting masting could also determine predator's success and, ultimately, influence directly and independently seed predation intensity. We explored this question in Mediterranean oaks, as they exhibit strong masting behavior; acorns are heavily predated upon by weevils; and rainfall stochasticity drives masting and the emergence of adult weevils from the soil. Results of two mid-term studies (4 and 11 yr) showed that acorn production and predation were highly variable across years, while the abundance of adult weevils was positively related to autumn rainfall and to the number of infested acorns the previous years. Ultimately, acorn predation was negatively influenced by inter-annual fluctuation of seed production (masting) yet, mainly and positively, prompted by autumn rainfall and acorn crop size (only in one site). Our results highlight the relevance of masting to reduce seed predation. Yet evidences that rainfall stochasticity directly determines the success of weevils, and it independently influences seed predation extent, indicate that environmental cues prompting masting may also fine-tune the output of this reproductive behavior. Additionally, local differences suggest that the relevance of masting may change with tree characteristics (low vs. high seed production) and landscape structure (isolated vs. dense forests). We also discuss what can be the effects of increasing drought in Mediterranean areas for this antagonistic interaction, triggered by rainfall.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Ecosphere. - Ithaca, N.Y., 2010, currens
Publication
Ithaca, N.Y. : 2017
ISSN
2150-8925
Volume/pages
8:6(2017), 13 p.
Article Reference
e01836
ISI
000405626700002
Medium
E-only publicatie
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (open access)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Publication type
Subject
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identification
Creation 08.10.2018
Last edited 06.07.2021