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Non-random host tree infestation by the Neotropical liana Marcgravia longifolia

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Heymann, EW; Thiel, S; Paci�ncia, F; Taricuarima, MNR; G�mez, RZ; Tello, NS; Heer, K; Sennhenn-Reulen, H; Mundry, R

NA

2022

PEERJ

10

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The question whether or not tropical lianas infest host trees randomly or they exert host selection has implications for the structure and dynamics of tropical rainforests, particularly if colonization by lianas impacts host fitness. In this study, we present evidence that the Neotropical liana Marcgravia longifolia (Marcgraviaceae) infests host trees non-randomly. We identified host trees to species or genus level for 87 of the 100 M. longifolia individuals found in the study area of the Estaci??n Biol??gica Quebrada Blanco (EBQB) in north-eastern Peruvian Amazonia. Data on host availability were taken from two 1-ha plots sampled at EBQB as part of a large-scale tree inventory in western Amazonia. Of the total of 88 tree genera with two or more individuals present in the inventory, 18 were represented amongst hosts. Host genera with a probability of colonization higher than expected by chance were Eschweilera (Lecythidaceae), Pouteria (Sapotaceae), Brosimum (Moraceae), and Hymenaea (Fabaceae). These findings suggest that M. longifolia exerts some level of host selectivity, but the mechanisms for this are completely unknown. Given the large number of animal species (41 bird species, three primate species) that are dispersing the seeds of M. longifolia and that have diverse ecological strategies, directed seed dispersal is unlikely to account for the observed patterns of host infestation.

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