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10 - Implications of plant spatial distribution for pollination and seed production

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 August 2009

Jaboury Ghazoul
Imperial College London
David Burslem
University of Aberdeen
Michelle Pinard
University of Aberdeen
Sue Hartley
University of Sussex
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The production of offspring has long been thought to be predominantly limited by the availability of resources rather than mating opportunities, a view based on ‘Bateman's principle’ espoused by Bateman in 1948. Applied to vascular plants, this principle predicts that fruit production is limited by maternal resources rather than pollen transfer. However, in the past 20 years limitation of seed production by pollination has been reported in numerous studies, and reviews suggest that more than 50% of plants studied show increased fruit production following experimental pollen supplementation (Burd 1994). Of course, short-term pollen supplementation studies fail to capture the lifetime success of the whole plant, leading some critics to maintain that lifetime reproductive output remains resource-limited. Nevertheless, population-wide declines in reproductive success, at least in the short term, owing to reduced pollen availability or ineffectual pollination have now been recorded among a range of plant species and geographic locations.

The cause of the declining efficiency in pollination has often been traced to changes in the spatial distribution of plants in the population, which in turn has affected the abundance of pollinators or led to changes in their foraging behaviour. Plant spatial distribution has become increasingly relevant following rapid changes in land use and landscape structure driven by anthropogenic activities. Logging and land clearance for agriculture and development has caused degradation of forest habitats either through the partial removal of economically important species, or by wholesale clearance and effective fragmentation and isolation of remnant forest patches.

Biotic Interactions in the Tropics
Their Role in the Maintenance of Species Diversity
, pp. 241 - 266
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2005

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To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

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Send book to Dropbox

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Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats