AbstractsBiology & Animal Science

The Role of Animals in Maintaining Forest Herb Diversity in Southeast Ohio

by Jennifer R. Philhower-Gillen

Institution: Ohio University
Department: Plant Biology (Arts and Sciences)
Degree: MS
Year: 2015
Keywords: Ecology; Plant Biology; animal-mediated seed dispersal; Hydrastis canadensis; Podophyllum peltatum; Maianthemum racemosum; Arisaema triphyllum; Hylocichla mustelina
Record ID: 2059549
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ohiou1415100392


Animal species have the ability to move the seeds of forest herbs long distances and into suitable sites for seedling success. Four forest herbs ( Hydrastis canadensis, Podophyllum peltatum, Maianthemum racemosum and Arisaema triphyllum ) were monitored in southeast Ohio from June to October in 2008 and 2009. Animal vector visits were monitored using Buckeye Cam scouting cameras. Eighteen habitat variables were also measured to determine if forest herb species require specific habitat types, and if these habitat types affect animal visits. Birds removed red fruits and fruit visible from above more than dangling fruit and did not eat large fruit. Large mammals (i.e. Odocoileus virginianus and Procyon lotor ) removed large yellow fruit and did not take any small, red fruit. Sciurus caronlinensis , was photographed 101 times and only removed fruit once. Hylocichla mustelina removed fruit most frequently compared to all other animal species. No non-native animals were recorded removing fruit. Three plant species exhibited a preference in micro-habitat specificity, although these results were not profound.