Effects of germination season on life history traits and on transgenerational plasticity in seed dormancy in a cold desert annual.

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TitleEffects of germination season on life history traits and on transgenerational plasticity in seed dormancy in a cold desert annual.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
JournalScientific reports
Volume6
Pagination25076
Date Published2016
Abstract

The maternal environment can influence the intensity of seed dormancy and thus seasonal germination timing and post-germination life history traits. We tested the hypotheses that germination season influences phenotypic expression of post-germination life history traits in the cold desert annual Isatis violascens and that plants from autumn- and spring-germinating seeds produce different proportions of seeds with nondeep and intermediate physiological dormancy (PD). Seeds were sown in summer and flexibility in various life history traits determined for plants that germinated in autumn and in spring. A higher percentage of spring- than of autumn-germinating plants survived the seedling stage, and all surviving plants reproduced. Number of silicles increased with plant size (autumn- > spring-germinating plants), whereas percent dry mass allocated to reproduction was higher in spring- than in autumn-germinating plants. Autumn-germinating plants produced proportionally more seeds with intermediate PD than spring-germinating plants, while spring-germinating plants produced proportionally more seeds with nondeep PD than autumn-germinating plants. Flexibility throughout the life history and transgenerational plasticity in seed dormancy are adaptations of I. violascens to its desert habitat. Our study is the first to demonstrate that autumn- and spring-germinating plants in a species population differ in proportion of seeds produced with different levels of PD.

URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep25076
DOI10.1038/srep25076
Short TitleSci Rep
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