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Título

Germination patterns throughout an insular altitudinal gradient: The case of the Macaronesian endemic plant Rubia fruticosa Ait. (Rubiaceae) in El Hierro (Canary Islands)

AutorNogales, Manuel ; Padrón, Benigno ; Pérez Padilla, David ; Nieves, Concepción; Marrero, Patricia
Palabras claveAltitudinal climatic gradient
Frugivorous effect
Island ecology
Seed germination
Endozoochorous dispersal
Fecha de publicación24-ene-2009
EditorElsevier
CitaciónFlora (2009), doi: 10.1016/j.flora.2008.07.006 (in press)
ResumenSeed germination percentage and rate of Rubia fruticosa, an endemic Macaronesian shrub was assessed with seed lots collected at three levels of an altitudinal gradient (200–800 m asl) located in El Hierro Island (Canarian Archipelago). Both seeds collected from control plants and those found in lizard droppings were studied. A significant decrease in the germination percentage was observed with control seeds and those seeds which are previously eaten by lizards if collected at 800 m asl. This indicates that R. fruticosa is a plant whose optimal germination environment is located between 200 and 500 m asl, occurring in higher altitudes only under sub-optimal conditions. The effect of lizard gut on R. fruticosa seeds was variable in the two study years: while germination percentage of seeds having passed through the lizards was not significantly different to that of control seeds in the first year, an increased germination was found for the animal-treated seeds in all three altitudinal zones in the second year. In general, germination rate of control seeds was rather variable between years. However, improvement of R. fruticosa seed germination caused by lizards may be important for its fitness; and a co-evolution may have occurred, since lizards and seeds of this endemic plant have been intensively interacting for millions of years in the lower zones of the Canary Islands.
Descripción6 pages, 2 figures, 1 table.-- Article in press.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.flora.2008.07.006
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/12616
DOI10.1016/j.flora.2008.07.006
ISSN0367-2530
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