Desiccation cracks act as natural seed traps in flood-meadow systems
2010 (English)In: Plant and Soil, ISSN 0032-079X, E-ISSN 1573-5036, Vol. 333, no 1-2, 351-364 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Desiccation cracks are a natural phenomenon of clay-rich soils that form via soil shrinkage during dry conditions. Our aim was to test the seed trapping potential of such cracks and assess its impact on seed bank formation in a flood-meadow ecosystem. We documented crack patterns on permanent plots and analysed the soil seed content along and adjacent to cracks. Seed translocation via cracks was tested with a mark-recapture experiment, and post-entrapment seed fate was tested with a burial experiment. Most cracks re-opened in the same positions in consecutive dry periods. Along cracks, most seeds were found in 10-20 cm depth, whereas adjacent to cracks most seeds were found in 0-5 cm depth. The majority of seeds found in shallow depths adjacent to cracks belonged to species that were also present in the above-ground vegetation, whereas this rate was always under 50% along desiccation cracks. The mark-recapture experiment gave evidence for vertical seed translocation through desiccation cracks. Post-entrapment seed fate differed between species and burial depth, with a trend towards increasing survival with increasing depth. We conclude that desiccation cracks act as natural seed traps, foster seed bank formation and thus influence plant community dynamics in flood meadow systems.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 333, no 1-2, 351-364 p.
Alluvial meadows, Burial experiment, Grassland, Seed fate, Soil seed bank
Research subject Biology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-37731DOI: 10.1007/s11104-010-0350-1ISI: 000280089400028OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-37731DiVA: diva2:857182