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Physically, physiologically and conceptually hidden: improving the description and communication of seed persistence

Jaganathan, G, Boenisch, G, Kattge, J and Dalrymple, SE (2019) Physically, physiologically and conceptually hidden: improving the description and communication of seed persistence. Flora. ISSN 0367-2530

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Abstract

Seed persistence is a trait that is difficult to observe or measure and consequently, has remained conceptually obscure for 40 years since Grubb’s influential description of the regeneration niche. Seed persistence is the ability of seeds to persist in a viable state post-dispersal and is relevant to current research in plant community dynamics and conservation. However, categorisations of seed persistence as transient, short-term or long-term persistent do not acknowledge the variation in persistence times as a result of deterministic processes and are difficult to apply in a predictive capacity. Consequently, a more robust understanding of seed persistence is needed in niche descriptions that are temporally explicit and in predicting the distributional changes of species in the current and future climate. We surmise an alternative to the categorizations of seed persistence on the basis of seed bank type and argue that it is best expressed as a continuous variable. We review the methods available for estimating seed persistence in situ and provide a number of testable hypotheses to contribute to the development of this important research topic. We maintain that seed persistence has not been incorporated adequately into niche theory and highlight that it can make several contributions including properly defining metapopulation niche, population growth definition. This holistic approach by integrating seed persistence into niche theory would allow us to better predict the survival of plants in a changing environment.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0607 Plant Biology
Subjects: Q Science > QK Botany
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2019 08:36
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2019 08:45
DOI or Identification number: 10.1016/j.flora.2019.05.012
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10789

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