Water and boating activity as dispersal vectors for Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper) seeds in freshwater and estuarine habitats
Abbreviated Journal Title
exotic species; hydrochory; invasive species; water dispersal; PROPAGULE PRESSURE; INVASIVE PLANTS; GAS-EXCHANGE; GROWTH; RECRUITMENT; FLORIDA; MANAGEMENT; Environmental Sciences; Marine & Freshwater Biology
Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper), a native of South America, is currently naturalized in 20 countries worldwide and can alter native systems by displacing flora and forming monotypic stands. The primary described mechanism of seed dispersal is through consumption of fruits by birds and mammals. We evaluated an alternative dispersal method by evaluating the potential for S. terebinthifolius growing in freshwater and estuarine environments to disperse via water currents. Specifically, we: (1) determined the duration fruits remained buoyant in three salinities, (2) estimated the viability of seeds after 7 days in water, (3) estimated the dispersal rate of floating solitary fruits, and (4) examined the role of boat wakes in moving seeds above mean high water at the shoreline. The length of time fruits floated in 0 ppt water (4.9 days) was significantly less than 15 ppt saltwater (6.2 days), and 30 ppt saltwater (6.9 days). After 7 days, over 13% of seeds remained viable in 0 ppt, 15 ppt, and 30 ppt water. By combining mean dispersal rates and the mean number of days fruits floated, we calculated individual fruits could be transported 16.9 km in 0 ppt and over 22 km in 15 and 30 ppt water. To increase germination, seeds must be stranded above the intertidal zone. Wind wakes alone never achieved this result; however, boat wakes plus wind wakes significantly increased the movement of fruits above the intertidal region into drier soils. The use of both vertebrate dispersal vectors and water dispersal may potentially increase the rate of invasion, establishment, and survival of S. terebinthifolius in freshwater and estuarine environments.
Estuaries and Coasts
"Water and boating activity as dispersal vectors for Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper) seeds in freshwater and estuarine habitats" (2008). Faculty Bibliography 2000s. 284.