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Trends Ecol Evol. 2008 Nov;23(11):638-47. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2008.08.003. Epub 2008 Sep 25.

Mechanisms of long-distance seed dispersal.

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The Movement Ecology Laboratory, Department of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology, Alexander Silberman Institute for Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Edmond J. Safra Campus at Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.


Growing recognition of the importance of long-distance dispersal (LDD) of plant seeds for various ecological and evolutionary processes has led to an upsurge of research into the mechanisms underlying LDD. We summarize these findings by formulating six generalizations stating that LDD is generally more common in open terrestrial landscapes, and is typically driven by large and migratory animals, extreme meteorological phenomena, ocean currents and human transportation, each transporting a variety of seed morphologies. LDD is often associated with unusual behavior of the standard vector inferred from plant dispersal morphology, or mediated by nonstandard vectors. To advance our understanding of LDD, we advocate a vector-based research approach that identifies the significant LDD vectors and quantifies how environmental conditions modify their actions.

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