Chris Free ‘10: The Population-level Impact of Density-dependent Seedling Mortality of Big-leaf Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla)

Discuss this project in MiddLab
Session: Slow Growth- MBH 216 at 9:45 a.m. from the Undergraduate Research Spring Symposium
Faculty Sponsor: Matt Landis, Biology
Major: Environmental Studies/Biology
Research Support: Senior Work Fund

A high mortality of seeds and seedlings has been documented in areas of high conspecific adult density as a result of increased predation and disease. Although this phenomenon has received significant attention in the scientific literature, the long-term evolutionary and ecological impact of density-dependent seedling mortality remains poorly understood. The purpose of the present study is to determine the population-level impact of density-dependent seedling mortality on heavily exploited big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla). The study was conducted by developing a spatially explicit individual-based model to examine the population size and distribution differences in mahogany populations grown with and without density-dependent seedling mortality. The heavy exploitation and threatened status of big-leaf mahogany highlight the importance of understanding density-dependent interactions in the develo p.m.ent of more robust predictive models and management plans.

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