Indirect herbivore mediation of avian seed dispersal in pinyon pine

K. M. Christensen, T. G. Whitham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Colorado pinyon pine Pinus edulis suffered reduced cone initiation and increased cone mortality primarily from infestation by the stem- and cone-boring moth Dioryctria albovitella. Because avian dispersal agents, eg Clark's nutcracker Nucifraga columbiana and pinyon jay Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus, selectively foraged where cone crops were highest, individual trees and stands of trees with greater insect abundances were avoided. Even herbivore-resistant trees with substantial cone crops did not receive dispersal services if they were surrounded by susceptible trees. Masting, the production of large cone crops at irregular intervals, may have evolved to insure dispersal success. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-542
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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