Alpine plant species have limited capacity for long-distance seed dispersal Academic Article uri icon


  • Seed dispersal will be essential for plants to track future climate space, but dispersal capacity is rarely measured or incorporated into species distribution models. Using the entire alpine flora of the Snowy Mountains, south-eastern Australia, as a case study, we modelled the dispersal capacity of 198 species (93.4% of the flora) using the plant traits dispersal syndrome, seed mass, seed release height and growth form. The modelled maximum dispersal distances were mostly affected by dispersal syndrome of each species. The models reveal that 75% of species disperse up to 10 m, whilst 20% may disperse >100 m. Most species in this flora do not have any specific dispersal strategy, hence their inability to disperse >10 m. However, those species with longer modelled distances were dispersed by animals or wind (>600 and >140 m, respectively). This alpine flora has a low capacity for long-distance seed dispersal and is likely to suffer from migration lag as the local climate undergoes rapid changes.

publication date

  • 2017

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