Original Article

Ecological Research

, 24:663

First online:

Microsatellite analysis of the maternal origin of Myrica rubra seeds in the feces of Japanese macaques

  • Mari TerakawaAffiliated withGraduate School for International Development and Cooperation, Hiroshima UniversityLaboratory of Forest Biology, Division of Forest and Biomaterials Science, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University Email author 
  • , Yuji IsagiAffiliated withGraduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University
  • , Kiyoshi MatsuiAffiliated withBiological Laboratory, Nara University of Education
  • , Takakazu YumotoAffiliated withResearch Institute for Humanity and Nature

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Abstract

Identifying the maternal origin of dispersed seeds is a challenging task because it is impossible to directly track seed movement once an animal has ingested them. However, recent development of molecular techniques allows us to identify the maternal origin of dispersed seeds in natural plant populations. Here we analyzed the maternal origin of Myrica rubra seeds found in the feces of Yakushima macaques. We detected a high level of diversity among the dispersed seeds, with an average of 3.0 maternal origins (range 1–9) in each feces. The average dispersal distance was 270.0 m (range 20.4–634.0 m) and the average of distance between maternal trees of dispersed seeds in the same feces was 161.5 m (range 0–573.9 m). These results suggest that seed dispersal by macaques plays an important role in maintaining the genetic diversity of Myrica rubra populations.

Keywords

Seed dispersal Microsatellite markers Endocarp DNA Myrica rubra Macaca fuscata yakui