Plant ecology meets animal cognition: impacts of animal memory on seed dispersal

John, Elizabeth A. and Soldati, Francesca and Burman, Oliver H. P. and Wilkinson, Anna and Pike, Thomas W. (2016) Plant ecology meets animal cognition: impacts of animal memory on seed dispersal. Plant Ecology, 217 (11). pp. 1441-1456. ISSN 1385-0237

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We propose that an understanding of
animal learning and memory is critical to predicting
the impacts of animals on plant populations through
processes such as seed dispersal, pollination and
herbivory. Focussing on endozoochory, we review
the evidence that animal memory plays a role in seed
dispersal, and present a model which allows us to
explore the fundamental consequences of memory for
this process. We demonstrate that decision-making by
animals based on their previous experiences has the
potential to determine which plants are visited, which
fruits are selected to be eaten from the plant and where
seeds are subsequently deposited, as well as being an
important determinant of animal survival. Collectively,
these results suggest that the impact of animal
learning and memory on seed dispersal is likely to be
extremely important, although to date our understanding
of these processes suffers from a conspicuous lack
of empirical support. This is partly because of the
difficulty of conducting appropriate experiments but is
also the result of limited interaction between plant
ecologists and those who work on animal cognition.

Keywords:Animal behaviour, ? Frugivory, ? Animal learning, ? Animal memory seed dispersal, ? Endozoochory, ? Plant–animal interactions, JCOpen
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C180 Ecology
C Biological Sciences > C230 Plant Biotechnology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:24232
Deposited On:19 Sep 2016 15:53

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