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Journal Article

Seed mass in Amazonian floodplain forests with contrasting nutrient supplies.


Parolin,  Pia
Working Group Tropical Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Parolin, P. (2000). Seed mass in Amazonian floodplain forests with contrasting nutrient supplies. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 16(3), 417-428.

Cite as:
In the Central Amazonian floodplains, several hundred tree species grow in areas that are periodically flooded by nutrient-rich while-water rivers (varzea) and by nutrient poor black-water rivers (igapo). Seed masses of 31 species from varzea and 27 species from igapo were compared taking into consideration their taxonomic relatedness. Overall average seed mass was higher (mean = 7.08 g) in nutrient-poor igapo than in nutrient-rich varzea (mean = 1.16 g). In igapo, the species growing at high elevations on the flooding gradient had significantly higher seed masses than the species growing at low elevations. In varzea, no difference was found between species growing at high and low elevations. Four large-seeded species from igapo occurring at high elevations on the flooding gradient were responsible for most of the difference in average seed mass between forest types. These data suggest that at low positions in the flooding gradient in igapo, selection pressure on seed size is probably the same as in varzea. At sites with short periods of flooding in igapo forests, on high levels in the flooding gradient, the need for rapid height growth may have selected for species with larger seeds which enable seedlings to be less dependent on soil nutrients.