Sandstone rock pools are unique and largely unstudied freshwater habitats that often harbour highly specialized endemic and range-restricted species. Cross et al. study seed biology and seed bank ecology in monsoon tropical freshwater rock pools, and find that persistent seed banks are likely to provide plant communities with resilience against environmental stochasticity in a dynamic and highly seasonal environment. Seed dormancy appears to facilitate the persistence of seeds through numerous wetting and drying cycles, with individual species exhibiting different patterns of seedling emergence. After-ripening promotes dormancy loss, with germination cued by exposure to karrikinolide or ethylene. The results suggest that sediment seed banks may represent a significant driver of species persistence in these ecosystems.
Results suggest that sediment seed banks may represent a significant driver of species persistence in these ecosystems.