Effect of birds and temperature on the germination and viability of Rubus ulmifolius (Rosaceae) seeds

Effect of birds and temperature on the germination and viability of Rubus ulmifolius (Rosaceae) seeds


  • Claudia Dellafiore Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto, Departamento de Ciencias Naturales, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Físico-Químicas y Naturales, Ruta 36 km 601, Río Cuarto, Córdoba, Argentina http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6549-6295
  • Maximiliano Sainz Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto, Departamento de Ciencias Agrarias, Facultad de Agronomía y Veterinaria, Ruta 36 km 601, Río Cuarto, Córdoba, Argentina https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0403-1926




Keywords: Germination power, fires, frosts, dispersal, blackberry


Introduction: Invasive species is causing great modifications worldwide, affecting both deserts and tropical forests. In the province of Córdoba, Argentina, the distribution and abundance of blackberry (Rubus ulmifolius) has been seriously increased in recent times both in natural and rural environments. The appearance of these plants in isolated areas has been attributed to birds, which have been mentioned as one of the main responsible for their dispersal; however, there are no studies referring to the consumption of blackberry by them. On the other hand, forest fires and the proliferation of invasive alien species can positively interact with each other, increasing the impact of these species on invaded ecosystems. Objectives: a) to know if the birds disperse the blackberry seeds, b) to know if the birds affect the germination of said seeds and c) to know the effect of high and low temperatures on their germination and viability. Results: 80 blackberry seeds were extracted from the feces of the birds, which did not present any type of physical damage. These seeds did not germinate after 20 months, but they remained viable. Significant differences were observed in the viability of the fruit seeds and those subjected to high and low temperature treatments (H: 21.50, p = 0.0054). The greatest effects were observed for extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. Conclusion: blackberry seeds have low germination power since they did not germinate under any treatment after 20 months in favorable conditions of light, temperature and humidity. Birds make a “legitimate” dispersal of blackberry seeds, which are also highly resistant to high and low temperatures, although surface fires could destroy these seeds


Alba-Lynn C., & Hen, S. (2010). Potential for ants and vertebrate predators to shape seed-dispersal dynamics of the invasive thistles Cirsium arvense and Carduus nutans in their introduced range (North America). Plant Ecology, 210, 291-301. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11258-010-9757-2

Alexander J.M., & D’Antonio, C. (2003). Seed bank Dynamics of French Broom. In Coastal California grasslands: effects Of Stand Age and prescribed burning on control and Restoration. Restoration Ecology, 11(2), 185-197. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1526-100X.2003.00169.x

Cabrera, A. L. (1976). Enciclopedia Argentina de agricultura y jardinería: Regiones fitogeográficas Argentinas. Editorial Acme.

Carballas-Fernández, T. (2003). Los incendios forestales. En J. J. Casares (Ed.), Reflexiones sobre el medio ambiente en Galicia (pp. 363-415). Consellería de Medio Ambiente Centro de Desenvolvemento Sostible.

Cottrell, H. J. (1947). Tetrazolium salt as a seed germination indicator. Nature, 159, 748. https://doi.org/10.1038/159748a0

D’Antonio, C.M., & Vitousek, P.M. (1992). Biological Invasions B Exotic Grasses, The Grass/Fire Cycle, And Global Change. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 23, 63-87.

D’Antonio, C.M. (2000). Fire, plant Invasions, And Global Changes. In H. A. Mooney & R.J. Hobbs (Eds.), Invasive Species in a Changing World (65-95). Island Press.

Giorgis, M. A., Tecco, P. A., Marcora, P., Cingolani, M., Paiaro, V., & Renison, D. (2006). Las invasiones biológicas y su problemática ambiental – Manual para docentes. CONICET.

Jordano. P. (1984). Seed weight variation and differential avian dispersal in blackberries. Oikos, 43(2), 149-153. https://doi.org/10.2307/3544762

Lodge, D.M., & Sgrader-Frechette, K. (2002). Nonindigenous Species: Ecological Explanation, Environmental Ethics & Public Policy. Conservation Biology, 17(1), 31-37. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1523-1739.2003.02366.x

Mackay, D. B. (1972). The measurement of viability. In E. H. Roberts (Ed.) Viability of seeds (pp. 172-208). Chapman and Hall.

Mack, M.C., & D’Antonio, C.M. (1998). Impacts of Biological Invasions on Disturbance Regimes. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 13(5), 195-198. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0169-5347(97)01286-X

Mack, R.N., Simberloff, D., Lonsdale, W.M., Evans, H., Clout, M., & Bazzaz, F.A. (2000). Biotic Invasions: Causes, Epidemiology, Global Consequences and Control. Ecological Applications, 10(3), 689-710. https://doi.org/10.1890/1051-0761(2000)010[0689:BICEGC]2.0.CO;2

Traveset, A., Riera, N., & Mas R.E. (2001). Passage through bird guts causes interspecific differences in seed germination characteristics. Functional ecology, 15(5), 669-675. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.0269-8463.2001.00561.x

Traveset, A., & Richardson, D.M. (2006). Biological Invasions as disruptors of Plant-Animal Reproductive Mutualisms. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 21(4), 208-216. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2006.01.006

Wada S., & Reed B.M. (2011). Optimized scarification protocols improve germination of diverse Rubus germplasm. Scientia Horticulturae, 130(3), 660-664.

Walker, B., & Steffen, W. (1997). An overview of the implications of global change for natural and managed terrestrial ecosystems. Conservation Ecology, 1(2), 1-18. http://www.jstor.org/stable/26271662

Williamson, M. (1999). Invasions. Ecography, 22(1), 5-12. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0587.1999.tb00449.x

Zasada, J.C., & Tappeiner, J.C. (2003). Rubus L. The Woody Plant Seed Manual U.S.D.A. Forest Service, 162, 9-1638.



How to Cite

Dellafiore, C., & Sainz, M. (2022). Effect of birds and temperature on the germination and viability of Rubus ulmifolius (Rosaceae) seeds. UNED Research Journal, 14(1), e3786. https://doi.org/10.22458/urj.v14i1.3786



Invited articles