Volume 242, Issue 5 p. 2237-2250
Full paper

Plant hormones mediate the interaction between oak acorn germination and rodent hoarding behaviour

Ying Li

Ying Li

State Key Laboratory of Integrated Management on Pest Insects and Rodents, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101 China

College of Life Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049 China

These authors contributed equally to this work.

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Xifu Yang

Xifu Yang

State Key Laboratory of Integrated Management on Pest Insects and Rodents, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101 China

These authors contributed equally to this work.

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Enping Feng

Enping Feng

State Key Laboratory of Integrated Management on Pest Insects and Rodents, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101 China

College of Life Science, Hebei University, Baoding, Hebei Province, 071002 China

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Kunming Zhao

Kunming Zhao

State Key Laboratory of Integrated Management on Pest Insects and Rodents, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101 China

College of Ecology and Environment, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu, 610059 China

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Zhibin Zhang

Corresponding Author

Zhibin Zhang

State Key Laboratory of Integrated Management on Pest Insects and Rodents, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101 China

CAS Center for Excellence in Biotic Interactions, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049 China

Author for correspondence:

Zhibin Zhang

Email:[email protected]

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First published: 30 November 2023
Citations: 1

See also the Commentary on this article by Steele & Bogdziewicz, 242: 1854–1855.

Summary

  • The interaction between animals and plants for seed dispersal and predation has received much attention; however, the underlying physiological mechanisms driving the responses of both seeds and animals remain unclear.
  • We conducted a series of behaviour and physiology experiments to examine the role of plant hormones in regulating seed germination and rodent hoarding behaviour in the Quercus variabilis and Leopoldamys edwardsi systems.
  • We found that acorns that were partially consumed by rodents had increased gibberellin (GA) levels and shortened germination time. Rodents preferred scatter-hoarded abscisic acid (ABA)-treated and intact acorns but consumed germinated and GA-treated acorns; such treatment differences disappeared for inactivated acorns by boiling water. Moreover, we found that seven potential compounds may be linked to seed germination and rodent hoarding behaviour.
  • Our results indicate that acorns of oak showed rapid germination when facing predation risk, while rodents could identify the germination status of seeds for hoarding; GA and ABA may play an important role in regulating seed germination of oak and hoarding behaviour of rodents.

Data availability

Seed germination data and hoarding experiments data are available on the Science Data Bank (https://www.scidb.cn/s/miYNjy).