Date of Award

5-2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Departmental Honors

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Noelle Beckma

Abstract

Tropical vertebrate species have faced increasing pressures from hunters, causing many to become locally extinct. I used an agent-based model (NEDD) to investigate the influence of dispersal and insect seed predation on seedling survival. Statistical dispersal kernels were used to simulate the dispersal of seeds. The NEDD model generates survival and spatial data from parameter sets, which were chosen based on a Latin-Hypercube experimental design. Spatial point analysis was performed on the output data to identify trends in spatial clustering patterns as the parameter space was changed. The results of this investigation suggest that there is a positive association between the proportion of seeds that are distributed at a frugivore site and the successful recruitment of seeds. Increasing frequency of frugivore sites was shown to have a negative impact on seedling recruitment. Understanding the role of tropical vertebrates in mediating seed dispersal and survival may inform management decisions in the near future.

Included in

Biology Commons

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