Evolution of seed dispersal in the Cerrado biome: ecological and phylogenetic considerations


Acta Bot. Bras.




ABSTRACT The investigation of the phylogeny of a group of organisms has the potential to identify ecological and evolutionary processes that have been occurring within a community. Seed dispersal is a key process in the life cycle of vegetation and reflects different reproductive strategies of plants to a set of ecological and evolutionary factors. Knowing the dispersal syndromes and fruits types of a plant community may help elucidate plant-animal interactions and colonization strategies of plants. We investigated dispersal syndromes and fruit types in Cerrado formations as a parameter for understanding the evolution of angiosperm reproductive strategies in this mega-diverse tropical biome. To do this we identified and mapped the distribution of different parameters associated with seed dispersal on a phylogeny of Cerrado angiosperms genera and tested the presence of phylogenetic signal. The results showed that there were strong relationships between fruit types, seed dispersal strategies and vegetation life forms and that these traits were closely related to angiosperms phylogeny and, together, contribute to the evolution of plants in the forest, savanna and grassland formations of the Cerrado biome.

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