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When is it coevolution? A reply to Morgan-Richards et al.

By K. C. Burns

Abstract

I recently hypothesised that some characteristics of fleshy fruits in New Zealand could result from coevolution with wētā (Burns 2006a). Morgan-Richards et al. (2008) expand on the subject by offering some suggestions on how this hypothesis could be tested and by conducting several small field trials. In the process they argue emphatically against the hypothesis. I am delighted that Morgan-Richards et al. (2008) are interested in the subject and I applaud their efforts to test the hypothesis. I would argue that the best way to gain new insight into wētā seed dispersal is through direct, experimental tests such as theirs. However, the design of their field trials suffers from several serious shortcomings. In their experiment, they presented fruits of two Gaultheria species to each of seven Hemiandru

Year: 2008
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