Secondary seed dispersal and its role in landscape organization

Sally Thompson, Gabriel Katul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Mathematical models of banded vegetation patterns predict rapid upslope migration of vegetated patches not realized in field observations, a key point of disagreement between theory and observation. It is shown that the disagreement between model results and field observations can arise from seed dispersal dynamics. Two representations of biomass movement are used to test the hypothesis that secondary seed dispersal in overland flow inhibits band migration. The first is based on coupling down-slope water transport and seed advection. The second uses a kernel-based representation of seed transport where an anisotropic dispersal kernel combines the effects of isotropic primary and downslope secondary seed dispersal, and ensures that conclusions about secondary dispersal are independent of diffusive representations of biomass movement. The analysis demonstrates that secondary seed dispersal can retard upward movement of banded vegetation irrespective of the precise representation of biomassmovement as long as the anisotropic effects are accounted for. Citation: Thompson, S., and G. Katul (2009), Secondary seed dispersal and its role in landscape organization, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L02402, doi:10.1029/2008GL036044.

Original languageEnglish
Article number02402
Number of pages6
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


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