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Temporal patterns of seed germination in early spring-flowering temperate woodland geophytes are modified by warming

Newton, R. J., Hay, F. R. and Ellis, R. H. (2020) Temporal patterns of seed germination in early spring-flowering temperate woodland geophytes are modified by warming. Annals of Botany, 125 (7). pp. 1013-1023. ISSN 1095-8290

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcaa025


• Background and Aims Understorey species in temperate deciduous woodlands such as wild daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) and common snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) have complex dormancy: seeds shed in late spring require warm summer temperatures for embryo elongation and dormancy alleviation, but then cooler temperatures for germination in autumn. As seasons warm and tree canopies alter, how will different seasonal temperature sequences affect these complex dormancy responses? • Methods Different sequences of warmer (+5°C), current, or cooler (-5°C) seasons (summer to spring) on seed germination patterns over seven successive seasons were investigated with all sequences combined factorially to determine the consequences of differential seasonal temperature change for the temporal pattern of germination (and so seedling recruitment). • Key Results Little (<1%, G. nivalis) or no (N. pseudonarcissus) seed germination occurred during the first summer in any treatment. Germination of N. pseudonarcissus in the first autumn was considerable and greatest at the average (15°C) temperature, irrespective of the preceding summer temperature; germination was also substantial in winter after a warmer autumn. Germination in G. nivalis was greatest in the warmest first autumn and influenced by preceding summer temperature (average > warmer > cooler); the majority of seeds that germinated over the whole study did so during the two autumns but also in year 2’s cooler summer after a warm spring. • Conclusions Warmer autumns and winters delay first autumn germination of N. pseudonarcissus to winter but advance it in G. nivalis; overall, warming will deplete these species’ soil seed bank making annual seed influx increasingly important for recruitment and persistence. This study provides a comprehensive account of the effects of temperature changes in different seasons on seed germination in these early spring-flowering geophytes and consequently informs how these and other temperate woodland species with complex seed dormancy may respond to future climate change.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Crop Science
ID Code:88974
Uncontrolled Keywords:Amaryllidaceae, climate change, daffodil,Galanthus nivalis L., geophyte, morphophysiological dormancy, Narcissus pseudonarcissus L., seed germination, snowdrop, temperature, temperate woodland
Publisher:Oxford University Press


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