The role of the soil seed bank in the unpredictable habitat of Anthemis chrysantha J. Gay, a critically endangered species

Journal ar
Flora: Morphology, Distribution, Functional Ecology of Plants
  • Volumen: 207
  • Número: 12
  • Fecha: 01 diciembre 2012
  • Páginas: 903-907
  • ISSN: 03672530
  • Tipo de fuente: Revista
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.flora.2012.10.004
  • Tipo de documento: Artículo
The ability of Anthemis chrysantha to form a soil seed bank (SB) was investigated in order to understand better the adaptation of this rare annual species to its arid and unpredictable natural habitat. The natural seed bank population was analyzed in five consecutive plant cohorts (2006-2010) by sampling at two different times: in May, after the germination period, and in October, after the first dispersal episodes due to the beginning winter rainfall. In addition, to determine the persistence in the soil of the two achene morphs of this species' (white and dark achenes), an artificial SB was created where achenes were buried and exhumed successively after each season, during two years. In all the cohorts studied, seedling emergence from May samples indicated the existence of a persistent seed bank (PSB). Moreover, the dark achenes were largely responsible for the permanent fraction because, after two years of burial in the artificial SB, 85.0% of them remained apparently healthy without having germinated, versus 9.9% of white achenes. Both types of buried achenes exhibited an annual conditional dormancy/non-dormancy cycle, induced by low winter temperatures. The PSB dynamics appeared to oscillate between the minimum values at the end of the germination period in spring (up to 2000 achenes per square meter) and the maximum values of the dispersal episodes in early autumn (up to 6000 achenes per square meter), with fluctuations of achene density due to the variability in annual rainfall. Hence, the SB showed a decline due to the failure of fruiting in the 2008 cohort, caused by drought, although the low value of ca. 560 achenes per square meter was able to establish the following population. Our study highlights the importance of the PSB, which, in "bad" years, may be critical for the persistence of this species. © 2012 Elsevier GmbH.

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