Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2009, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (1): 171-179.DOI: 10.3773/j.issn.1005-264x.2009.01.019

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

GERMINATION CHARACTERISTICS OF 61 COMMON WOODY SPECIES FROM THE EASTERN QINGHAI-TIBET PLATEAU OF CHINA AND THEIR LIFE HISTORY CORRELATES

WANG Ju-Hong1,2(), DU Guo-Zhen2,*(), CUI Xian-Liang2, ZHENG Xiu-Fang1, QI Wei2   

  1. 1Institute of Ecology, Hexi University, Zhangye, Gansu 734000, China
    2Key Laboratory for Arid Agroecology of the Ministry of Education, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • Received:2008-04-15 Accepted:2008-08-12 Online:2008-04-15 Published:2009-01-30
  • Contact: DU Guo-Zhen
  • About author:First author contact:

    E-mail of the first author: wjuh1918@yahoo.cn

Abstract:

Aims Seed germination is a crucial plant life history stage related to seedling establishment, survival, fitness and life history expression. Our objectives were to determine: 1) seed germination characteristics of common woody species from the eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and 2) whether differences in seed germination among species are related to seed size, dispersal mode, and mother plant altitude and habitat.
Methods We surveyed seed germination of 61 species under an alternating temperature regime (20 °C/5 °C; 12 h light/dark). We used one-way ANOVA to determine the effects of seed size, dispersal mode, altitude and habitat on final germination percentage and initial germination time, the least significant difference test (LSD) to survey the extent of differences in final germination percentage and initial germination time among dispersal categories and correlation analysis to determine the relationship between seed size and germination.
Important findings Final germination percentages of the species displayed a skewed bimodal distribution, and this implies that dormancy and low and/or continuous germination are the main germination strategies to escape adverse factors. Variances in final germination percentages and initial germination time among species were largely dependent upon dispersal mode, but a few were influenced by seed size, habitat and altitude. Wind-dispersed seeds had higher mean germination percentage (60.6%) and earlier initial germination time (9 d) than those of vertebrate-dispersed (23.4%, 23 d) and unassisted-dispersal seeds (29.5%, 17 d). Findings indicate intrinsic association between life-history characteristics such as seed germination and dispersal mode.

Key words: Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, woody species, seed germination, seed size, dispersal mode