Fruit and Seed Chemistry, Biomass and Dispersal

  • Pia ParolinEmail author
  • Danielle Waldhoff
  • Maria T. F. Piedade
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 210)


Fruits and seeds are released into the water and may be submerged or floating for several days to months – a situation which normally makes most seeds unviable. Trees are adapted and seeds remain visually sound for >2 months when continuously submerged. This stands in contrast to the majority of land plants, whose seeds quickly lose viability if submerged for prolonged periods. On the contrary, seeds of floodplain species kept in air dry or decompose within few days or weeks. Many species have high nutrient contents as a function of the relation to fish dispersal, just as in upland forests diaspores of species dispersed by mammals are rich in fat and proteins. However, in Amazonian floodplain trees dispersal syndromes are closely linked to water, with all necessary adaptations enhancing floatation and attractiveness for fish. High nutrient contents are also advantageous for the seedling, because a high investment of the parent tree into seed reserves guarantees fast initial growth. This can be crucial in an environment with a flood amplitude exceeding 10m. Time for seedling establishment in the non flooded terrestrial period is reduced to few months or weeks. For a fast and well timed establishment, seeds must germinate fast and they need adequate nutrient reserves.


Upland Forest Amazonian Floodplain Brocket Deer Flooding Gradient Colossoma Macropomum 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pia Parolin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Danielle Waldhoff
    • 2
  • Maria T. F. Piedade
    • 3
  1. 1.Biozentrum Klein Flottbek, Systematik der PflanzenUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Working Group of Tropical EcologyMax Planck Institute for LimnologyPlönGermany
  3. 3.Wetlands Ecology and Adaptations of Plants to FloodingNational Institute of Amazon Research (INPA)ManausBrazil

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