Seed germination ecology of Conyza sumatrensis populations stemming from different habitats and implications for management.
ABSTRACT: Conyza sumatrensis (Retz.) E. H. Walker is an obnoxious weed, emerging as an invasive species globally. Seed germination biology of four populations of the species stemming from arid, semi-arid, temperate, and humid regions was determined in this study. Seed germination was recorded under six different environmental cues (i.e., light/dark periods, constant and alternating day and night temperatures, pH, salinity, and osmotic potential levels) in separate experiment for each cue. Populations were main factor, whereas levels of each environmental cue were considered as sub-factor. The impact of seed burial depths on seedling emergence was inferred in a greenhouse pot experiment. Seed germination was recorded daily and four germination indices, i.e., seed germination percentage, mean germination time, time to reach 50% germination, and mean daily germination were computed. Tested populations and levels of different environmental cues had significant impact on various seed germination indices. Overall, seeds stemming from arid and semi-arid regions had higher seed germination potential under stressful and benign environmental conditions compared to temperate and humid populations. Seed of all populations required a definite light period for germination and 12 hours alternating light and dark period resulted in the highest seed germination. Seed germination of all populations occurred under 5-30°C constant and all tested alternate day and night temperatures. However, the highest seed germination was recorded under 20°C. Seeds of arid and semi-arid populations exhibited higher germination under increased temperature, salinity and osmotic potential levels indicating that maternal environment strongly affected germination traits of the tested populations. The highest seed germination of the tested populations was noted under neutral pH, while higher and lower pH than neutral had negative impact on seed germination. Arid and semi-arid populations exhibited higher seed germination under increased pH compared to temperate and humid populations. Seed burial depth had a significant effect on the seedling emergence of all tested populations. An initial increase was noted in seedling emergence percentage with increasing soil depth. However, a steep decline was recorded after 2 cm seed burial depth. These results indicate that maternal environment strongly mediates germination traits of different populations. Lower emergence from >4 cm seed burial depth warrants that deep burial of seeds and subsequent zero or minimum soil disturbance could aid the management of the species in agricultural habitats. However, management strategies should be developed for other habitats to halt the spread of the species.
Project description:Seed burial in the sediment is critical for successful seedling establishment in seagrasses because it protects from predation and dispersal into unsuitable sites, and it may enhance germination by exposing the seeds to suitable germination stimuli. However, relatively little is known about the fate of buried seeds and their ability to emerge from greater depths. The goal of this study was to determine seed survival in the sediment, seedling emergence success and initial seedling biomass of Zostera marina in relation to burial depth and to evaluate if large seeds, having larger energy reserves, are more tolerant to burial than small seeds. Seeds from a perennial Z. marina population were buried at 7 different sediment depths (0.1-8 cm), and seeds sorted by size (large and small) were buried at depths of 2, 4 and 6 cm in outdoor mesocosms. Total seedling emergence after 2 months was significantly affected by seed burial depth, with maximum values in the top 2 cm of the sediment (48.1-56.7% of planted seeds), and a marked decline below 4 cm depth to only 5% seedling emergence at the deepest burial depth of 8 cm. Moreover, seeds had shorter time to emergence from shallow compared to deep burial depths. At all burial depths, a small fraction of seeds (<10%) died after germination but before emerging, and 15-30% remained viable after 6 months. Seed mortality was the major limitation to seedling recruitment from the deeper burial depths. The effect of seed size on seedling emergence success and time was not clear, but heavier seeds displayed greater longevity and gave rise to seedlings of significantly higher biomass, indicating that the mobilization of metabolic reserves may be important during initial seedling development.
Project description:Two Solanaceae invasive plant species (Physalis angulata L. and P. philadelphica Lam. var. immaculata Waterfall) infest several arable crops and natural habitats in Southeastern Anatolia region, Turkey. However, almost no information is available regarding germination biology of both species. We performed several experiments to infer the effects of environmental factors on seed germination and seedling emergence of different populations of both species collected from various locations with different elevations and habitat characteristics. Seed dormancy level of all populations was decreased with increasing age of the seeds. Seed dormancy of freshly harvested and aged seeds of all populations was effectively released by running tap water. Germination was slightly affected by photoperiods, which suggests that seeds are slightly photoblastic. All seeds germinated under wide range of temperature (15-40?°C), pH (4-10), osmotic potential (0 to -1.2?MPa) and salinity (0-400?mM sodium chloride) levels. The germination ability of both plant species under wide range of environmental conditions suggests further invasion potential towards non-infested areas in the country. Increasing seed burial depth significantly reduced the seedling emergence, and seeds buried below 4?cm of soil surface were unable to emerge. In arable lands, soil inversion to maximum depth of emergence (i.e., 6?cm) followed by conservational tillage could be utilized as a viable management option.
Project description:Anthropogenic activities are causing species extinctions, raising concerns about the consequences of changing biological communities for ecosystem functioning. To address this, we investigated how dung beetle communities influence seed burial and seedling recruitment in the Brazilian Amazon. First, we conducted a burial and retrieval experiment using seed mimics. We found that dung beetle biomass had a stronger positive effect on the burial of large than small beads, suggesting that anthropogenic reductions in large-bodied beetles will have the greatest effect on the secondary dispersal of large-seeded plant species. Second, we established mesocosm experiments in which dung beetle communities buried Myrciaria dubia seeds to examine plant emergence and survival. Contrary to expectations, we found that beetle diversity and biomass negatively influenced seedling emergence, but positively affected the survival of seedlings that emerged. Finally, we conducted germination trials to establish the optimum burial depth of experimental seeds, revealing a negative relationship between burial depth and seedling emergence success. Our results provide novel evidence that seed burial by dung beetles may be detrimental for the emergence of some seed species. However, we also detected positive impacts of beetle activity on seedling recruitment, which are probably because of their influence on soil properties. Overall, this study provides new evidence that anthropogenic impacts on dung beetle communities could influence the structure of tropical forests; in particular, their capacity to regenerate and continue to provide valuable functions and services.
Project description:Seed germination behavior is an important factor in the distribution of species. Many studies have shown that germination is controlled by phylogenetic constraints, however, it is not clear whether phylogenetic constraints or environmental cues explain seed germination of a genus from a common ancestor. In this study, seed germination under different temperature- and water-regimes [induced by different osmotic potentials of polyethylene glycol (PEG)] was investigated in the phylogenetically-related Caragana species that thrive in arid, semiarid, semihumid and humid environments. The results showed that the final percentage germination (FPG) decreased from 95% in species from arid habitats to 0% in species from humid habitats, but with no significant phylogenetic signal. Rather, the response of seed germination to temperature and PEG varied greatly with species from arid to humid habitats and was tightly linked to the ecological niche of the species, their seed coat structure and abscisic acid concentration. The findings are not consistent with the hypothesis that within a family or a genus, seed germination strategies can be a stable evolutionary trait, thus constraining interspecific variation, but the results clearly show that seed germination of Caragana species distributed across a range of habitats has adapted to the environment of that habitat.
Project description:Seed dormancy cycling plays a crucial role in the lifecycle timing of many plants. Little is known of how the seeds respond to the soil seed bank environment following dispersal in spring into the short-term seed bank before seedling emergence in autumn. Seeds of the winter annual Arabidopsis ecotype Cvi were buried in field soils in spring and recovered monthly until autumn and their molecular eco-physiological responses were recorded. DOG1 expression is initially low and then increases as dormancy increases. MFT expression is negatively correlated with germination potential. Abscisic acid (ABA) and gibberellin (GA) signalling responds rapidly following burial and adjusts to the seasonal change in soil temperature. Collectively these changes align germination potential with the optimum climate space for seedling emergence. Seeds naturally dispersed to the soil in spring enter a shallow dormancy cycle dominated by spatial sensing that adjusts germination potential to the maximum when soil environment is most favourable for germination and seedling emergence upon soil disturbance. This behaviour differs subtly from that of seeds overwintered in the soil seed bank to spread the period of potential germination in the seed population (existing seed bank and newly dispersed). As soil temperature declines in autumn, deep dormancy is re-imposed as seeds become part of the persistent seed bank.
Project description:Nassella trichotoma (Nees) Hack. ex Arechav. (Serrated tussock) is an aggressive globally significant weed to agricultural and natural ecosystems. Herbicide resistant populations of this C3 perennial weed have emerged, increasing the need for effective wide-scale cultural control strategies. A thorough seed ecology study on two spatially distinct populations of N. trichotoma was conducted on this weed to identify differences in important environmental factors (drought, salinity, alternating temperature, photoperiod, burial depth, soil pH, artificial seed aging, and radiant heat) which influence seed dormancy. Seeds were collected from two spatially distinct populations; Gnarwarre (38 O 9' 8.892'' S, 144 O 7' 38.784'' E) and Ingliston (37O 40' 4.44'' S, 144 O 18' 39.24'' E) in December 2016 and February 2017, respectively. Twenty sterilized seeds were placed into Petri dishes lined with a single Whatman® No. 10 filter paper dampened with the relevant treatments solution and then incubated under the identified optimal alternating temperature and photoperiod regime of 25°C/15°C (light/dark, 12h/12h). For the burial depth treatment, 20 seeds were placed into plastic containers (10cm in diameter and 6cm in depth) and buried to the relevant depth in sterilized soil. All trials were monitored for 30 days and germination was indicated by 5mm exposure of the radicle and emergence was indicated by the exposure of the cotyledon. Each treatment had three replicates for each population, and each treatment was repeated to give a total of six replicates per treatment, per population. Nassella trichotoma was identified to be non-photoblastic, with germination (%) being similar under alternating light and dark and complete darkness conditions. With an increase of osmotic potential and salinity, a significant decline in germination was observed. There was no effect of pH on germination. Exposure to a radiant heat of 120°C for 9 minutes resulted in the lowest germination in the Ingliston population (33%) and the Gnarwarre population (60%). In the burial depth treatment, the Ingliston population and the Gnarwarre population had highest emergence of 75% and 80%, respectively at a depth of 1cm. Variation between the two populations was observed for the burial depth treatments; Gnarwarre had greater emergence than Ingliston from the 4cm burial depth, while Ingliston had greater emergence at the soil surface than Gnarwarre. The Gnarwarre population had greater overall germination than Ingliston, which could be attributed to the greater seed mass (0.86mg compared to 0.76mg, respectively). This study identifies that spatial variations in N. trichotoma's seed ecology are present between spatially distinct populations.
Project description:In recent years, spread of invasive alien plant species (IAPS) has been a major concern in Nepal. One such IAPS is Ageratum houstonianum, an Asteraceae, that is a prolific seed producer and difficult-to-control in farmland and various ecological regions causing crop yield and biodiversity losses. However, very little information is available on the germination biology and ecology of this species. Therefore, experiments were conducted to assess the effect of water stress, pH level, and light requirement on seed germination, and the effect of seed burial depth on seedling emergence. Water stress was simulated by polyethylene glycol solutions ranging from 0-5.56 MPa and pH solutions ranging from 4 to 9 were prepared using hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide. Germination tests were conducted in petri dishes lined with filter paper and placed in a controlled environment chamber set at 20° C. Light requirement comparisons were made by having petri dishes wrapped with aluminum foil or left unwrapped. Seedling emergence was evaluated by placing seeds at depths ranging from 0 to 20 mm in the soil. Results indicated that this species was moderately drought-tolerant because germination ceased beyond 0.51 MPa. Greater germination occurred at neutral to acidic than at alkaline pH levels. The seeds were positively photoblastic because no germination occurred under dark condition. No seedlings emerged from seeds placed more than 2 mm deep in the soil, indicating that this is a primarily surface germinating species. These findings will help predict future invasions and in development of management strategies for this IAPS.
Project description:In Australia, turnip weed has been rapidly emerging as one of the major weeds in conservation agricultural systems. Germination and emergence of turnip weed were examined for two populations collected from Gatton and St George regions of Australia; two locations with high and low rainfall, respectively. The seeds of turnip weed germinated at all the tested temperatures, but germination was the lowest at 15/5°C, intermediate at 20/10°C and highest at 25/15°C and 30/20°C. The results indicated a high adaptability of turnip weed to warm environmental conditions, although it is a major problem in the winter season. Germination was higher in dark than light/dark regimes except at 30/20°C. Three was a concomitant reduction in germination as the osmotic potential values decreased from 0 to -1.0 MPa. There was 2 and 4% germination at -0.8 MPa for Gatton and St George populations, respectively, and no germination occurred at an osmotic potential of -1.0 MPa. There was a reduction in germination when the sodium chloride (NaCl) concentration was increased from 0 to 150 mM, and no germination was observed at 200 and 250 mM of NaCl. Turnip weed germinated over a broad range of pH (4 to 10). Seedling emergence was higher at 1 cm depth compared to 0.5 cm or at the soil surface. There was 28 and 33% emergence at the surface for the Gatton and St George populations, respectively, compared to 48 and 56% emergence from 1 cm depth for the Gatton and St George populations, respectively and no emergence was observed from 6 cm depth. The results indicated that tillage leading to shallow burial would promote the emergence of turnip weed; on the contrary, tillage that could bury seeds deep into the soil profile might minimise the emergence. Under ideal conditions and lack of integrated weed management programmes, this weed will emerge, set seeds and enrich the soil seed bank and thereby continue to be a problem in the northern grain region of Australia.
Project description:To achieve global ambitions in large scale ecological restoration, there is a need for approaches that improve the efficiency of seed-based interventions, particularly in overcoming the bottleneck in the transition from germination to seedling establishment. In this study, we tested a novel seed-based application of the plant stress modulator compound salicylic acid as a means to reduce seedling losses in the seed-to-seedling phase. Seed coating technology (encrusting) was developed as a precursor for optimising field sowing for three grass species commonly used in restoration programs, Austrostipa scabra, Microlaena stipoides, and Rytidosperma geniculatum. Salicylic acid (SA, 0.1mM) was delivered to seeds via imbibition and seed encrusting. The effects of SA on seed germination were examined under controlled water-limited conditions (drought resilience) in laboratory setting and on seed germination, seedling emergence, seedling growth and plant survival in field conditions. Salicylic acid did not impact germination under water stress in controlled laboratory conditions and did not affect seedling emergence in the field. However, seedling survival and growth were improved in plants grown from SA treated seeds (imbibed and encrusted) under field conditions. When SA delivery methods of imbibing and coating were compared, there was no significant difference in survival and growth, showing that seed coating has potential to deliver SA. Effect of intraspecific competition as a result of seedling density was also considered. Seedling survival over the dry summer season was more than double at low seedling density (40 plants/m2) compared to high seedling density (380 plants/m2). Overall, adjustment of seeding rate according to expected emergence combined with the use of salicylic acid via coating could improve seed use efficiency in seed-based restoration.
Project description:Recruitment for many arid-zone plant species is expected to be impacted by the projected increase in soil temperature and prolonged droughts associated with global climate change. As seed dormancy is considered a strategy to avoid unfavorable conditions, understanding the mechanisms underpinning vulnerability to these factors is critical for plant recruitment in intact communities, as well as for restoration efforts in arid ecosystems. This study determined the effects of temperature and water stress on recruitment processes in six grass species in the genus <i>Triodia</i> R.Br. from the Australian arid zone. Experiments in controlled environments were conducted on dormant and less-dormant seeds at constant temperatures of 25°C, 30°C, 35°C, and 40°C, under well-watered (Ψ<sub>soil</sub> = -0.15 MPa) and water-limited (Ψ<sub>soil</sub> = -0.35 MPa) conditions. Success at three key recruitment stages-seed germination, emergence, and survival-and final seed viability of ungerminated seeds was assessed. For all species, less-dormant seeds germinated to higher proportions under all conditions; however, subsequent seedling emergence and survival were higher in the more dormant seed treatment. An increase in temperature (35-40°C) under water-limited conditions caused 95%-100% recruitment failure, regardless of the dormancy state. Ungerminated seeds maintained viability in dry soil; however, when exposed to warm (30-40°C) and well-watered conditions, loss of viability was greater from the less-dormant seeds across all species. This work demonstrates that the transition from seed to established seedling is highly vulnerable to microclimatic constraints and represents a critical filter for plant recruitment in the arid zone. As we demonstrate temperature and water stress-driven mortality between seeds and established seedlings, understanding how these factors influence recruitment in other arid-zone species should be a high priority consideration for management actions to mitigate the impacts of global change on ecosystem resilience. The knowledge gained from these outcomes must be actively incorporated into restoration initiatives.