Journal of Tropical Ecology

Short Communication

Germination after simulated rat damage in seeds of two endemic Hawaiian palm species

Hector E. Péreza1a2 c1, Aaron B. Shielsa3, Halina M. Zaleskia4 and Donald R. Drakea3

a1 Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, 3190 Maile Way, St. John 102, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA

a2 Department of Environmental Horticulture, University of Florida, P.O. Box 110675, Gainesville, FL 32611–0675, USA

a3 Department of Botany, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, 3190 Maile Way, St. John 101; Honolulu, HI 96822, USA

a4 Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, 1955 East-West Road, Agricultural Science 216; Honolulu, HI 96822, USA

Seed predation by native and alien rodents can limit plant recruitment and ultimately affect forest dynamics and composition (Campbell & Atkinson 2002, Côté et al. 2003, Hulme 1998, Sánchez-Cordero & Martínez-Gallardo 1998). Even partial consumption of seeds by predators may affect plant community structure, though its importance is poorly understood (Steele et al. 1993, Vallejo-Marín et al. 2006). Despite consumption of relatively large portions of seeds by herbivores, seeds can retain their ability to germinate if the embryo remains intact (Dalling & Harms 1999, Janzen 1972, Mack 1998). Germination of damaged seeds may be accelerated or prolonged (Karban & Lowenberg 1992, Koptur 1998, Vallejo-Marín et al. 2006). Damage by seed pests also facilitates ageing stress; which manifests as decreased seedling vigour, decreased seed viability, lower germination percentages and slower germination rates (Priestley 1986).

(Accepted July 03 2008)

Correspondence:

c1 Corresponding author. Email: heperez@ufl.edu