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Scientia Agricola

versão On-line ISSN 1678-992X

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BRANCALION, Pedro Henrique Santin  e  RODRIGUES, Ricardo Ribeiro. Seed size-number trade-off in Euterpe edulis in plant communities of the Atlantic Forest. Sci. agric. (Piracicaba, Braz.) [online]. 2014, vol.71, n.3, pp.226-231. ISSN 1678-992X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-90162014000300007.

Investigations of seed size and number differences among plant populations growing in contrasting habitats can provide relevant information about ecological strategies that optimize reproductive effort. This may imply important consequences for biodiversity conservation and restoration. Therefore, we sought to investigate seed size-number trade-off in Euterpe edulis populations growing in plant communities in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Seed dry mass and seed number per bunch were evaluated in 2008 and 2009 in large remnants of the Seasonally Dry Forest, Restinga Forest and Atlantic Rainforest in southeastern Brazil, in 20 individuals per site and year. Seed size and seed number varied among forest types, but a seed size-number trade-off was neither observed within nor among populations. Positive association between seed size and number was found in the Atlantic Rainforest, and reduced seed crop was not accompanied by heavier seeds in the Restinga Forest. Seed dry mass declined in 2009 in all three forest types. Compared to seed number in 2008, palms of both the Restinga Forest and the Atlantic Rainforest produced in 2009 higher yields of smaller seeds - evidence of between years seed size-number trade-off -, while the Seasonally Dry Forest population produced a reduced number of smaller seeds. Such a flexible reproductive strategy, involving neutral, positive, and negative associations between seed size and number could enhance the ecological amplitude of this species and their potential to adapt to different environment conditions.

Palavras-chave : seed ecology; seed dispersal; seed size optimization; plant reproductive effort; seedling establishment.

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