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Longevity of seeds in a glacier foreland of the Central Alps - a burial experiment Erich Schwienbacher & Brigitta Erschbamer Institute of Botany University.

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Presentation on theme: "Longevity of seeds in a glacier foreland of the Central Alps - a burial experiment Erich Schwienbacher & Brigitta Erschbamer Institute of Botany University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Longevity of seeds in a glacier foreland of the Central Alps - a burial experiment Erich Schwienbacher & Brigitta Erschbamer Institute of Botany University of Innsbruck Contact: 15th annual meeting of the Section Plant Population Biologie of the Society for Ecology, May 2002

2 Introduction  Seed germination: important life history trait  Seed banks: important sources for the regeneration

3  Lack of knowledge about longevity of alpine seeds Introduction Controversial opinions about the glacier foreland  burial experiment

4 persistence of seeds is dependent on size (1) small seeds  long-lived (2) big seeds  short-lived Hypotheses but independently of the size (3) hard-coated seeds  long-lived

5 ROTMOOSFERNER Tyrol, Austria burial site m a.s.l. 46°49‘N 11°02‘E glacier foreland

6 Saxifraga aizoides Saxifraga oppositifolia Linaria alpina Achillea moschata Artemisia genipi Trifolium pallescens Oxyria digyna Geum reptans Anthyllis alpestris Species used for the experiment

7 Types of seeds small Saxifraga aizoides big Anthyllis alpestris Trifolium pallescens hard-coated

8 Design of experiment 1-year 2-year 5-year 4 groups 9 species 100 seeds 5 replicates fresh field experiment

9 Protocol of the burial experiment and the germination test stratification (+ 4°C) growth chamber: germination test - 10 days germination rate ‚scarified seeds‘ scarification of hard-coated seeds germination rate ‚growth chamber‘ growth chamber: germination test days fresh seeds

10 field experiment 1-year burial Protocol of the burial experiment and the germination test fresh seeds growth chamber: germination test - 10 days scarification of hard-coated seeds germination rate ‚scarified seeds‘ germination rate ‚growth chamber‘ growth chamber: germination test days stratification (+ 4°C) stratification + germination in the field germination rate ‚field‘

11 Protocol of the burial experiment and the germination test field experiment 1-year burialfresh seeds growth chamber: germination test - 10 days scarification of hard-coated seeds germination rate ‚scarified seeds‘ germination rate ‚growth chamber‘ growth chamber: germination test days stratification + germination in the field stratification (+ 4°C) germination rate ‚field‘ 2-year burial5-year burial

12 Results fresh seeds

13 Results fresh seeds: 1-year burial: but:increasing germination rates with increasing seed weight  high germination rates (42.7 % ± 34.7)  mostly low germination rates (10.6 % ± 13.8)

14 Results log seed weight log no. of seedlings R²=0.82 Regression: seed weight/number of seedlings 1-year burial

15 Results fresh seeds 1-year burial hard-coated seeds: Linaria alpina, Trifolium pallescens, Anthyllis alpestris

16 Conclusions (1) hard-coated seeds (2) big seeds (3) small seeds  loose their viability during the first winter ?  secondary dormancy takes place ? or  potential to form persistent seed banks  germinate after the first year in the field

17 Future For how long do seeds persist in the glacier foreland?  2-year burial 5-year burial

18 Acknowledgements Jürg Stöcklin Colleagues of the Univ. Innsbruck Austrian Academy of Science Thank you for your attention! Contact:


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