Effects of seed size and habitat on recruitment patterns in grassland and forest plants
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
A trade-off between seed size and seed number is central in seed ecology, and has been suggested to be related to a trade-off between competition and colonization, as well as to a trade-off between stress tolerance and fecundity. Large seeds endure hazards during establishment, such as shading, drought, litter coverage and competition from other plants, better than do small seeds, due to a larger amount of stored resources in the seed. Small seeds, however, are numerous and small-seeded species are therefore more fecund. Moreover, a pattern with small-seeded species being associated with open habitats and large-seeded species being associated with closed habitats has been reported in the literature. In this thesis I assess effects of seed size on recruitment, and how relationships between seed size and recruitment may relate to habitat conditions. Seed sowing experiments were performed in the field to assess inter- and intra-specific relationships between seed size and recruitment in open and closed habitats (Paper I and II). Seed removal experiments were performed in the field to assess what effects seed predation may have on a relationship between seed size and recruitment (Paper III). A garden experiment was performed based on contests between larger-seeded and smaller-seeded species, in order to examine different models on co-existence of multiple seed size strategies. The results showed that there was a weak positive relationship between seed size and recruitment in the field, and that this relationship was only weakly and inconclusively related to habitat (Paper I and II). Seed removal was negatively related to seed size in closed habitats and unrelated to seed size in open habitats (Paper III). This indicates that any positive relationship between seed size and recruitment may be an effect of higher seed removal in small-seeded species. However, when grown under controlled conditions in a garden experiment, there was a clear advantage of larger-seeded species over smaller-seeded species (Paper IV). This advantage was unaffected by seed density, indicating that there was no competitive advantage of the larger-seeded species. Instead, indirect evidence suggests that larger-seeded species exhibit higher tolerance to stress.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Botany, Stockholm University , 2012. , 32 p.
Seed size, seedling establishment, seedling survival, recruitment, seed removal, co-existence, game-theory
Research subject Plant Ecology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-82384ISBN: 978-91-7447-599-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-82384DiVA: diva2:567510
2012-12-14, Föreläsningssalen, Botaniska institutionen, Lilla Frescativägen 5, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Milberg, Per, Professor
Eriksson, Ove, Professor
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Accepted.
List of papers