Delayed Germination of Seeds: A Look at the Effects of Adult Longevity, the\ud Timing of Reproduction, and Population Age/Stage Structure

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Rees, M. (1994)
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Subject:
    mesheuropmc: food and beverages

The effects of adult longevity, the timing of reproduction, and population age/stage structure on the evolution of seed dormancy are explored in both constant and variable environment models. In the constant environment models complete germination is the evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) regardless of adult longevity. Incorporating a cost of reproduction on subsequent survival does not alter this result. In contrast, in a variable environment changes in adult longevity can exert a strong selection pressure against seed dormancy. Incorporating a cost of reproduction for iteroparous species reduces adult longevity, which selects for more seed dormancy. The magnitude of the change in ESS germination probability depends on several factors, including which life-history stage is variable (e.g., fecundity, seedling survival), whether seeds can detect favorable sites for establishment, and the age/stage structure of the population. In general, increases in adult longevity select against seed dormancy, but exceptions to this pattern are discussed. The idea that established plant traits are uncoupled from those of the regenerative phase, as assumed by J. P. Grime's competition-stress-ruderal model, is considered critically.
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