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Seed-litter-position drives seedling establishment in grassland species under recurrent drought

Title data

Wellstein, Camilla:
Seed-litter-position drives seedling establishment in grassland species under recurrent drought.
In: Plant Biology. Vol. 14 (2012) Issue 6 . - pp. 1006-1010.
ISSN 1438-8677
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1438-8677.2012.00635.x

Abstract in another language

Changes in land use and climate interfere with grassland ecosystem processes. Here I experimentally investigated the combined effects of land-use change related litter cover and contrasting water supply on seedling emergence. In this context, the role of the initial relative position of seeds, i.e. seeds on top of the litter versus seeds beneath the litter in interaction with water supply has not been investigated so far. I hypothesised that facilitative effects of litter on seedling emergence occur when seeds are covered by litter and deteriorate when litter covers the ground and seeds fall on it (seeds on top of the litter). Further, I hypothesised that the importance of seed position for seedling emergence will increase under conditions of recurrent drought. I performed a controlled pot experiment on seedling emergence of three common European grassland species (Pimpinella saxifraga, Leontodon autumnalis, Sanguisorba officinalis) by experimental manipulations of litter and water availability. Seedling emergence under moist conditions showed no significant differences between each litter position compared to the control across species. In contrast, under recurrent drought, seedling emergence was significantly higher below the litter compared to seeds on top of the litter and the control (i.e. no litter). In abandoned land, seedling emergence may be limited when seeds fall on ground-covering litter. In contrast, in grasslands with regular low-intensity land use, seedling emergence may be enhanced when a moderate level of litter covers seeds at the end of the growing season. Protective mechanisms that occur with seeds positioned beneath litter are particularly important under recurrent drought.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER107146
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Biogeography
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
Date Deposited: 03 May 2015 08:56
Last Modified: 03 May 2015 08:56
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/12653