Publication Details

Ooi, M. K. J. (2012). Seed bank persistence and climate change. Seed Science Research, 22 (Supplement S1), S53-S60.


"The strong mechanistic relationship between climatic factors and seed dormancy and germination suggests that forecast climatic changes will significantly affect seed bank persistence. This review focuses on the potential impact of changing temperature, rainfall and fire regimes on the longevity of long-term persistent seed-banks. Currently, there are few studies investigating the mechanistic responses of demographic processes, such as seed-bank dynamics, to forecast climate change. However, from the work that has been published, several key points have been highlighted. First, increased air temperatures will produce significantly higher soil temperatures in open and sparsely vegetated habitats. Some evidence shows that this could accelerate the decline of seed viability and compromise bet-hedging strategies of species in dryland regions. Second, changes to rainfall season may determine the relative success of recruitment, with lower levels of success producing net losses to seed bank longevity. Finally, higher temperatures are likely to produce increased fire frequency, compromising the persistence of plant populations dependent on long-lived seed banks. Improving our understanding of both the mechanistic response and adaptive capacity of seed banks to climate change will provide a solid basis for improved predictions of future species distributions and risk of extinction, particularly in ecosystems subjected to temporally stochastic disturbances. It is necessary to develop functional groups based on key life-history trait responses to changing environmental conditions, to enable broader-scale predictions of distribution and persistence in the future."



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