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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: A case study of a plant-animal relationship: Cola lizae and lowland gorillas in the Lope Reserve, Gabon
Author(s): Tutin, Caroline E G
Williamson, Elizabeth A
Rogers, M Elizabeth
Fernandez, Michel
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Keywords: Gorilla gorilla
seed dispersal
Social behavior in animals
Animal nutrition
Seeds Dispersal
Issue Date: May-1991
Date Deposited: 19-May-2009
Citation: Tutin CEG, Williamson EA, Rogers ME & Fernandez M (1991) A case study of a plant-animal relationship: Cola lizae and lowland gorillas in the Lope Reserve, Gabon. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 7 (2), pp. 181-199.;
Abstract: The fruits of Cola lizae, an endemic tree with a limited geographical distribution, have been a major food source for lowland gorillas in the Lope Reserve during part of each year over a six-year period. Faecal analysis indicated that 11,000- 18,000 Cola seeds km-2 were deposited by gorillas during the 4- month season in 1989. Gorillas are the only important dispersers of this species: other primates consume the succulent mesocarp, but do not swallow the large seed; elephants do not eat Cola fruits. Observations of Cola seeds in gorilla faeces showed a very high germination rate and, despite initial high mortality, 18% of seedlings still survived six months after deposition. Survival of seedlings was significantly better in faeces left at nest-sites than in other areas of the forest: 40% of seedlings were viable at nest- sites six months after deposition. This suggests that the open areas of forest, preferred by gorillas as nest-sites, are advantageous to the propagation of this species.
DOI Link: 10.1017/S0266467400005320
Rights: Published in the Journal of Tropical Ecology. Copyright: Cambridge University Press / INTECOL and the ICSU Press. The Journal of Tropical Ecology is available online at:

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