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Seed Size and Shape Predict Persistence in Soil

K. Thompson, S. R. Band and J. G. Hodgson
Functional Ecology
Vol. 7, No. 2 (1993), pp. 236-241
DOI: 10.2307/2389893
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2389893
Page Count: 6
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Seed Size and Shape Predict Persistence in Soil
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Abstract

1. An understanding of seed persistence in the soil is important to vegetation management and weed control, but experimental collection of seed bank data is tedious and expensive. We report a rapid, simple method for predicting seed persistence in the soil. The method is tested on a range of British, mostly herbaceous, species. 2. Diaspore (seed or fruit) weight is plotted against variance of the three linear dimensions of the diaspore. All diaspores within an area of the graph defined by a maximum weight and variance are persistent in the soil. The critical weight is the same for fruits and seeds, but the critical variance of diaspore dimensions appears slightly higher for fruits. The great majority of diaspores outside this region are short lived, and the relatively few ambiguous cases can be resolved by reference to habitat. 3. The generality of the suspected underlying mechanism suggests that the method can also be applied to floras outside north-west Europe.

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