Capsule development, seed germination and dormancy of Luehea seemannii (Tiliaceae) in two forests in Panama 2008
Pre-dispersal seed predation can greatly reduce crop size and affects recruitment success. In addition, fungi have been directly implicated in post-dispersal seed losses, but successful fungal infection may depend on initial damage to seeds by seed predators. The objectives of this study were (1) to quantify pre-dispersal seed predation and fungal infection in a Neotropical tree species, Luehea seemannii, that produces dehiscent fruits and wind-dispersed seeds, and (2) to link pre-dispersal effects on seed quality to seed survival in the soil. To examine how seed predators and fungi influence seed losses, mesh exclosures, fungicide and the combination of both treatments were applied to separate branches in the canopy of trees in Gamboa and Parque Natural Metropolitano, Panama. To determine if treatments affect seed viability and survival in the soil, half of the seeds collected from each treatment were buried for four weeks in forest soils and subsequently germinated before and after the breaking of dormancy. Data include number of aborted and damaged capsules in the canopy and germination of seeds before and after burial.