Table of Contents
ISRN Botany
Volume 2013, Article ID 310828, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/310828
Research Article

Ecological Implications of Acorn Size at the Individual Tree Level in Quercus suber L.

1Departamento de Ingeniería del Medio Agronómico y Forestal, Escuela de Ingenierías Agrarias, Universidad de Extremadura, Avendia Adolfo Suárez s/n, 06007 Badajoz, Spain
2Departamento de Producción Forestal, Centro de Investigación La Orden-Valdesequera, Consejería de Infraestructura y Desarrollo Tecnológico, Junta de Extremadura, Apartado de Correos 22, 06080 Badajoz, Spain
3Departamento de Biología Vegetal, Ecología y Ciencias de la Tierra, Área de Botánica, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Extremadura, Avendia de Elvas s/n, 06006 Badajoz, Spain

Received 10 June 2013; Accepted 10 July 2013

Academic Editors: S. Ogita, S.-W. Park, and T. Vogt

Copyright © 2013 Soledad Ramos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Few studies have determined the influence of acorn size on germination and predation percentage at tree level. To evaluate the seed size influence at individual tree level, trees producing two different sizes of acorn were chosen. Our results show that smaller acorns were significantly more infested (49.6–75.3%) than larger ones (11.0–27.33%). About germination, big acorns achieved the best germination percentage compared to the smaller ones (18% in infested and 76% in sound acorns for the small acorn group versus 69.3% in infested and 93.3% in sound acorns belonging to the big acorn group). We also found that there was a difference in behaviour between big and small seeds at tree level. The same size belonging to different functional groups presented a difference at the behavioural level per tree. Infested small acorns from trees 8 and 10 had only 33 and 13% germination, while big acorns from trees 2, 3, and 6 (there was no difference between both sizes) presented 67, 97, and 83%, respectively. These results indicate that the production of acorns with two different sizes could be a strategy for species regeneration, producing each size for a different purpose.