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

John, Elizabeth A., Soldati, Francesca, Burman, Oliver H. P., 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

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11258-016-0652-3

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

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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