Ecological Research

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 165–176 | Cite as

Temporal variations in seed dispersal patterns of a bird-dispersed tree, Swida controversa (Cornaceae), in a temperate forest

  • Yoshihiro Yamazaki
  • Shoji Naoe
  • Takashi Masaki
  • Yuji Isagi
Original Article


The seed dispersal patterns of bird-dispersed trees often show substantial seasonal and annual variation due to temporal changes in frugivorous bird and bird-dispersed fruit distributions. Elucidating such variation and how it affects plant regeneration is important for understanding the evolution and seed dispersal maintenance strategies of these plants. In this study, we investigated the seed dispersal quantity and distance of a bird-dispersed plant, Swida controversa, for 2 years and detected large seasonal variations in dispersal pattern. Early in the fruiting season, short seed dispersal distance and large amounts of fruit consumption by birds (seed dispersal quantity) were observed. In contrast, late in the fruiting season, a long seed dispersal distance and small seed dispersal quantity were observed. This relationship between seed dispersal distance and quantity may help to maintain constant seed dispersal effectiveness during the long S. controversa fruiting season. Annual variation was also detected for both seed dispersal quantity and distance. More effective seed dispersal was achieved in the masting year, because both seed dispersal quantity and distance were greater than that in the non-masting year. These seed dispersal dynamics may contribute to the evolution and maintenance of S. controversa masting behavior. Thus, we identified substantial temporal variation on both seasonal and annual scales in the seed dispersal pattern of a bird-dispersed plant. The temporal variation in seed dispersal pattern revealed in this study probably plays a substantial role in the life history and population dynamics of S. controversa.


Frugivorous bird Fruit abundance Ogawa forest reserve Phenology Seed dispersal distance 



We thank Dr. S. Abe, A. Fujitsu, S. Harasawa, H. Yamagata, and many others for field assistance; Dr. S. Kaneko for instructing us in the technique used for the genetic experiments; and Dr. M. Yamasaki and Dr. M. Terakawa for useful advice. This work was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Research Fellowship for Young Scientists to Yoshihiro Yamazaki and by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Grant 19201048) from the JSPS to Takashi Masaki. Part of this study was financially supported by the Pollution Control Research Fun from the Ministry of the Environment, Japan.

Supplementary material

11284_2015_1324_MOESM1_ESM.docx (166 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 166 kb)
11284_2015_1324_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (53 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 53 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yoshihiro Yamazaki
    • 1
  • Shoji Naoe
    • 2
  • Takashi Masaki
    • 2
  • Yuji Isagi
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Forest Biology, Division of Forest and Biomaterials Science, Graduate School of AgricultureKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Forestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTsukubaJapan

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