What are two advantages of dispersing seeds by animal dispersal?

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gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The dispersal of seeds by animals offers a few broad advantages:

  • Protection from predators: Predators typically target regions of dense with prey and thus dispersal (away from the parent plant) reduces the density near the parent plant, thereby providing protection from predators. 
  • Better access to sunlight and nutrients: If there is no seed dispersal, the seeds will grow in the shadow (or under) the parent plant and will be (likely) outcompeted by the parent plant for sunlight and nutrients. Seed dispersal away from the parent plant increases the survival likelihood.
  • Colonization of new regions: Seed dispersal also allows plants to colonize new regions originally devoid of the plant species. 

Animals help with seed dispersal by acting as unknowing carriers or transporters of the seeds. For example, human beings carry fruits (say apples) on picnics and throw out the core containing seeds outside. Many animals help with seed dispersal through feces.  

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