This research examined the influence of hydrochory (seed dispersal via water), anemochory (seed dispersal via wind), and zoochory (seed dispersal by animals) on the re-establishment of the important floodplain vegetation communities of the Kissimmee River floodplain. Fifty-eight seed species were identified from 19,849 and 43,894 seeds trapped in hydrochory traps in sites north and south of Oak Creek, respectively. Seeds trapped by anemochory were measurable but were found to be far less important than hydrochory, while results showed no evidence of zoochory. The sampling month showed significant effects in ANOVA for hydrochory seed density/trap, hydrochory species richness, anemochory seed density/trap, species richness in standing vegetation, standing vegetation axis 1 and 2, hydrochory seed pool axis 2, and both maximum and mean wind speed; however, the directional relationship to Oak Creek showed significant effects for hydrochory species diversity, species richness in standing vegetation, standing vegetation axis 3, hydrochory seed pool axis 1, and both maximum and mean wind speed; while site type showed significant effects for hydrochory seed density/trap, species richness in standing vegetation, and both hydrochory seed pool axis 1 and 2. A Kruskal-Wallis Non-parametric test showed significant effects for site type, month and directional relationship to Oak Creek for water depth and standing vegetation. Water velocity sampling and a seed mimic release experiment showed minimal water and seed movement in the floodplain, indicating that seed may not disperse far from the parent plant via hydrochory. Seeds typical of species found in broadleaf marsh communities were found in high densities in hydrochory traps south of Oak Creek, but were not found in traps north of Oak Creek. A number of interacting factors, e.g. hydrology, lack of remnants, seed phenology, etc, are limiting the dispersal of broadleaf marsh species north of Oak Creek, delaying range, expansion, and further community restoration. Upstream seed dispersal could be very effective in BLM restoration efforts and should be further evaluated.
|Commitee:||Fadiman, Maria, Root, Tara|
|School:||Florida Atlantic University|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||MAI 51/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Ecology, Environmental science|
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