When Trees Go Nuts

Published on May 17, 2018
47

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Every once in a while, all the oaks or spruces or other plants in a region suddenly produce a tremendous bounty of seeds – up to 100 times more than usual. But why do they do it, and how do they all manage to sync up?
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To learn more about mast seeding, start your googling with these keywords:

Mast Year: A year in which all the plants of a particular species in a region ramp up their seed production.

Predator Satiation Hypothesis: The hypothesis that mast seeding is a strategy plants use for controlling the population of squirrels and other seed-eating animals.
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Credits (and Twitter handles):
Script Writer: Emily Elert (@eelert)
Script Editor: Alex Reich (@alexhreich)
Video Illustrator: Ever Salazar (@eversalazar)
Video Director: Alex Reich (@alexhreich)
Video Narrator: Emily Elert (@eelert)
With Contributions From: Henry Reich, Kate Yoshida, Peter Reich, David Goldenberg
Music by: Nathaniel Schroeder: http://www.soundcloud.com/drschroeder
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References:

Fletcher, Quinn E., Stan Boutin, Jeffrey E. Lane, Jalene M. LaMontagne, Andrew G. McAdam, Charles J. Krebs, and Murray M. Humphries. 2010. “The Functional Response of a Hoarding Seed Predator to Mast Seeding.” Ecology 91 (9): 2673–83.

Kelly, Dave, and Victoria L. Sork. 2002. “Mast Seeding in Perennial Plants: Why, How, Where?” Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 33 (1). Annual Reviews: 427–47.

Kelly, D. 1994. “The Evolutionary Ecology of Mast Seeding.” Trends in Ecology & Evolution 9 (12): 465–70.

LaMontagne, J. 2018. Personal Communication.

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