Annals of Botany

Seed dormancy changes of snowbed species under climate warming

Parental plant growth environment could alter the state of seed dormancy, affecting the timing of emergence and seedling survival. In the context of climate warming, Bernareggi et al. investigate the effects of pre- and post-dispersal temperatures on the seed dormancy release and germination requirements of alpine plants.

Final germination percentage (mean ± s.e.) of control (C) and warmed (W) seeds
(A) Final germination percentage (mean ± s.e.) of control (C) and warmed (W) seeds and (B) mean time to germinate (in days, mean ± s.e.) of control and warmed seeds of C. cerastoides, L. alpina and V. alpina under the four incubation temperatures. Seed lots that failed to germinate more than 1 % were excluded from the analyses of the mean time to germination, although they are still present in the figures for comparative purposes.

They conclude that a warmer parental environment will change the germination responses of the seed progeny and that the extent of this change across species could be driven by seed dormancy traits. Transgenerational plastic adjustments of seed germination and dormancy patterns may play a crucial role in future plant adaptation to climate change.