Biodiv Sci ›› 2003, Vol. 11 ›› Issue (3): 248-255.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2003032

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How to trace seeds and fruits dispersed by frugivorous animals: a review

XIAO Zhi-Shu, ZHANG Zhi-Bin   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Integrated Management of Pest Insects&Rodents in Agricuoture,Insitute of Zoology,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100080
  • Received:2003-01-03 Revised:2003-03-10 Online:2003-05-20 Published:2003-05-20
  • Contact: ZHANG Zhi-Bin

Abstract: One of the most important obstacles to studying seed dispersal by frugivorous animals is the difficulty in tracking seed fates and estimating seed shadows. So far, many tracing techniques have been applied to study the relationships between frugivorous animals and seed dispersal and seed fates, e.g. direct observation, radioisotope labeling, metal or magnet tagging, fluorescent powders or microspheres, line-marked method, and genetic techniques. More recently, there is a preference for tracing techniques using numbered codes to label seeds and fruits. The present paper reviews some important techniques for tracing seed fates and estimating seed shadows influenced by frugivorous animals, and discusses their advantages, disadvantages and applications.

Key words: frugivorous animals, seed dispersal, seed fates, numbered codes