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Type: Journal article
Title: Differences in seed biology of annual plants in arid lands: A key ingredient of the storage effect
Author: Facelli, J.
Chesson, P.
Barnes, N.
Citation: Ecology, 2005; 86(11):2998-3006
Publisher: Ecological Soc Amer
Issue Date: 2005
ISSN: 0012-9658
Statement of
Jose M. Facelli, Peter Chesson and Nicola Barnes
Abstract: We used a combination of field studies and laboratory experiments to characterize key ecological aspects of the seed biology and soil seed bank dynamics of annual plant communities in chenopod shrublands of South Australia. A sequential study of the soil seed bank demonstrated seasonal and between-year variability in numbers and composition of the soil seed bank. Soil samples incubated under different temperature and watering regimes produced different communities, indicating that species respond differentially to various environmental combinations. Emergence was extremely low at low water availability and at high temperatures, even in trays with ample water. A high percentage of seeds of four out of five species buried in the field remained viable for two years, while the fifth, Carrichtera annua, showed a sharp decline in seed viability, reaching nearly zero survivorship. Our results indicate that, in this system, annual plant communities result from germination of a fraction of seeds present in the soil seed bank, when autumn or winter rainfalls occur. Because different species have different responses to various combinations of environmental conditions, the community composition varies from year to year. This variability is likely to be a component of coexistence through the storage effect.
Keywords: Australia
environmental variability
seed banks
species coexistence
storage effect
Description: Copyright by the Ecological Society of America
DOI: 10.1890/05-0304
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 6
Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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