Not Falling Far from Tree: USU Ecologist Studies Seed-to-Seedling Transitions


Utah State University ecologist Noelle Beckman and colleagues Philippe Marchand of the University of Quebec, Liza Comita of Yale University, Joseph Wright of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, Richard Condit of Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History and internationally renowned ecologist Stephen P. Hubbell of the University of California, Los Angeles, explore these questions and recently published findings about seed-to-seedling transitions in the journal Ecology.

USU ecologist Noelle Beckman, assistant professor in the Department of Biology and the USU Ecology Center, studied spatial characteristics of 24 tree species in a Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Forest Dynamics Plot in Panama. M. Muffoletto.

The team’s research is supported by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Science Foundation.

The researchers studied spatial characteristics of 24 tree species from data collected at the STRI’s Forest Dynamics Plot on Barro Colorado Island [], located in the man-made Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal.

“Patterns of seed dispersal and seed mortality influence the spatial structure of plant populations and the local coexistence of competing species,” says Beckman, assistant professor in USU’s Department of Biology and the USU Ecology Center. “Most seeds are dispersed close to the parent tree, where mortality is also expected to be the highest, due to competition with siblings or the attraction of natural enemies.”

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