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Acta Botanica Brasilica

Print version ISSN 0102-3306


FAGUNDES, Marcílio et al. The role of historical and ecological factors on initial survival of Copaifera langsdorffii Desf. (Fabaceae). Acta Bot. Bras. [online]. 2013, vol.27, n.4, pp.680-687. ISSN 0102-3306.

The plant population dynamic is affected by ecological and evolutionary processes that operate at all stages of the plant life cycle. The aim of this study was to characterize the seed and seedling performance of Copaifera langsdorffii by testing four hypotheses: the resource concentration hypothesis; the relationship between seed size and germinability hypothesis; the relationship between seed size and seedling vigor hypothesis; and the intraspecific seedling competition hypothesis. All seeds used in the experiments were collected from 35 C. langsdorffii plants located in a fragment of the Brazilian cerrado (savanna). The number of fruits per plant negatively affected Rhinochenus brevicollis attacks on C. langsdorffii seeds. Therefore, this result does not support the resource concentration hypothesis, and predator satiation was used in order to explain the observed result. In general, seed germinability (percentage and time to emergence) was not influenced by seed size. The homogeneity of the experimental design, together with an abundant water supply, may have masked the effects of seed size on germinability. Seed size positively affected seedling development, corroborating the expected relationship between seed size and seedling vigor. The number of seedling per plastic bags negatively affected the growth of C. langsdorffii. The nutrient-limited soil probably promoted the below-ground competition for nutrients among seedlings. Finally, the role of evolutionary and ecological factors on C. langsdorffii population dynamics is discussed.

Keywords : plant competition; predation; Rhinochenus brevicollis; seed size; seedling development.

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