Seed size and shape: are they good predictors of seed persistence in the soil in the Andes of central Chile?
Sierra-Almeida, Angela*,1, 2, Cavieres, Lohengrin1, 2, 1 Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, Chile2 Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad (IEB), Santiago, Chile
ABSTRACT- It has been proposed that seeds able to persist for long time buried in the soil tend to be smaller and rounded. This relationship has found support in studies performed with the flora of England, Argentina, Iran and Italy. However, studies performed with the flora of Australia, New Zealand and Spain have not found support for that relationship. We evaluated if seed size and shape are good predictors of seed persistence in soil for 59 species distributed along an altitudinal gradient in the Andes of central Chile (33°S). Persistence in the soil was assessed with burial experiments. Seed mass, length, and width was measured for 30 seeds collected per species. We did not find a relationship between seed shape and persistence in the soil. However, seed mass was highly correlated with persistence in soil, that is, persistent seeds tend to be smaller than the non-persistent ones. Therefore, seed size is a good predictor of seed persistence in the soil for species of the Andes of central Chile. In contrast, seed shape is not a good predictor, which can be related with phylogenetic constraints because few species belonging to very particular families has been able to colonize the stressful habitats of the high-elevation Andes. FONDECYT 1030821, P02-051-F ICM supporting the Center of Advanced Studies in Ecology and Research in Biodiversity
Key words: seed size, Andes of central Chile, persistence
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