Germination strategies of annual and short-lived perennial species in the Arabian Desert
Germination timing is highly regulated in short-lived plant species since it strongly influences recruitment success of vegetation. In deserts, the spatiotemporal distribution of plant-available water is highly episodic and unpredictable, making winter months more favorable for seed germination when other abiotic conditions co-occur. We hypothesized that changes in photoperiod and thermoperiod would impact germination more in seeds that had undergone in situ storage. We assessed 21 annual and short-lived perennial species in the Arabian Desert to find (1) if seeds were dormant at maturity, (2) if in situ seed storage increased germination percentage compared with no storage, (3) if photoperiod and thermoperiod germination requirements were influenced by in situ storage, and (4) if a phylogenetic association in seed germination could be observed. Seeds of each species collected in early 2017 were divided into two batches. One was tested for germination within one week (fresh seeds). The other was stored in situ at the maternal location (stored seeds) until October 2017 and tested for seed germination in the first week of November. Seed germination was conducted in incubators at two thermoperiods (15°C/20°C and 20°C/30°C; 12 h/12 h), and two photoperiods (12 and 0 h light per day). Results indicated that seed germination percentages of 13 species were significantly enhanced by in situ storage. A thermoperiod response was exhibited by stored, but not fresh seeds. Light exposure increased germination of fresh seeds but had only a minimal effect on stored seeds. Germination traits exhibited no phylogenetic correlation. This result indicated that selection pressure for germination strategy was stronger than that for taxonomic traits of these desert species.
BHATT, Arvind; GALLACHER, David J.; and SOUZA-FILHO, Paulo R M
"Germination strategies of annual and short-lived perennial species in the Arabian Desert,"
Journal of Arid Land: Vol. 12
, Article 12.
Available at: https://egijournals.researchcommons.org/journal-of-arid-land/vol12/iss6/12