Mammalian Consumers as Mediators of Oak Recruitment
Many tree species throughout the world are exhibiting reduced regeneration and our lab is especially interested in understanding the role of mammalian herbivores and granivores in driving these declines. Using long-term factorial experiments, we have evaluated the individual and interactive effects of large and small mammalian consumers on recruitment of three dominant oak species in northern California. Our research has shown that interactions between large and small mammals can alter the intensity and direction of their effects on juvenile trees. This work also indicates that mammals play crucial roles in limiting tree recruitment by reducing seedling abundance, maintaining oaks in stunted states and preventing them from reaching sapling stages and becoming reproductive.