Search icone
Search and publish your papers

Plant-animal interactions in forest ecosystems

Or download with : a doc exchange

About the author


About the document

Published date
documents in English
7 pages
0 times
Validated by
0 Comment
Rate this document
  1. Introduction.
  2. Mutualistic interactions.
    1. Pollination.
    2. Invertebrate pollinators.
    3. Seed dispersal.
    4. Plant protection by Ants.
  3. Antagonistic interactions.
    1. Herbivory and plant defenses.
    2. Seed predation.
    3. Mechanical damage.
  4. Conclusion.

Flowering plants, being sedentary, have co-opted animal partners for purposes of gene exchange and propagule dispersal, through pollination and seed dispersal. To secure these services plants provide a variety of flower or fruit rewards creating some of the most common and obvious mutualistic interactions in the natural world. However, plants are also eaten by animals which graze on leaves, bore through stems, or predate seeds. Plants have therefore evolved mechanisms to promote the efficiency of mutualistic interactions and protect against herbivores and seed predators. This article describes the range of ecologically significant plant?animal interactions that commonly occur in temperate and tropical forest systems. Most ?owering plants are animal pollinated, and indeed the function of ?owers is to attract animal vectors for pollen dispersal. Most ?owers offer a reward to pollinators which are usually nectar or pollen, but can also include resins (e.g. Clusiaceae), waxes, or oils (orchids). Pollinators attracted to ?owers collect the resources and in the process pick up pollen through contact with the anthers and deposit pollen they are carrying onto the stigma where pollen germinates and ultimately fertilizes the ovules.

[...] The most important herbivores in tropical forest habitats in terms of the amount of plant biomass consumed are insects, in both adult and larval forms. Grasshoppers, katydids, some beetles and ants, and the larvae of moths, butter?ies, and many ?ies and saw?ies consume vast quantities of leaf material. Many other insect grazers, such as springtails, feed on root tissues. A large number of insects belonging to the orders Coleoptera (beetles), Lepidoptera (moths), Diptera (?ies), and Hymenoptera (saw?ies) consume tissue between the epidermal layers of leaves creating conspicuous mines or blotches. [...]

[...] Plants have, in turn, evolved a wide array of defensive compounds or physical structures that impede insect or vertebrate attack. Chemical defenses can reduce the digestibility of leaf tissue, or may have a toxic or repellent function. Tannins are large carbon-rich compounds that bind proteins making them dif?cult to digest. Toxic compounds include phenolics and alkaloids and these may poison or kill animals that consume them. Some plants have responded to attack by leaf miners by secreting latex which impedes or kills larvae. [...]

[...] Many forest rodents ?scatterhoard' seed that is they store a little food in each of numerous caches which results in widely dispersed small seedling clumps. Burial of oak seeds by squirrels, for example, results in seedling distribution that is not unlike dispersal by wind, where most of the seeds are within a few meters of the parent tree with a much smaller proportion distributed further away. Such behavior is contrasted with ?larderhoarding' in which all food is stored in one or very few locations, resulting in a much higher density of seedlings per clump. [...]

Similar documents you may be interested in reading.

Aquatic habitats in forest ecosystems

 Politics & international   |  Ecology & environment   |  Presentation   |  11/21/2008   |   .doc   |   8 pages

Human influences on the tropical forest wildlife

 Politics & international   |  Ecology & environment   |  Presentation   |  11/21/2008   |   .doc   |   7 pages

Recent documents in ecology & environment category

Depolluting the river Thames

 Politics & international   |  Ecology & environment   |  Presentation   |  10/28/2018   |   .doc   |   3 pages

Global warming and climate change

 Politics & international   |  Ecology & environment   |  Presentation   |  11/28/2016   |   .doc   |   3 pages