Recent Posts

The seed germination spectrum of alpine plants ($) (New Phytol.)

Alpine ecosystems include all the environments found above the treeline, the maximum elevation where trees can grow. These environments are known for their low temperatures, unstable substrates, and short growing seasons. However, while germination studies in this ecosystem can be traced back to…

Elevation filters seed traits and germination strategies in the eastern Tibetan Plateau (Ecography)

Mountains are extraordinary natural laboratories. They encompass a wide range of environments in a relatively small space, making them ideal for assessing how different environmental variables shape plant traits and communities. Here, Wang and colleagues evaluate how seed functional traits vary along…

The first dormancy profile for a tropical montane forest community (Plant Biol.) ($)

Seed dormancy is a crucial mechanism to synchronize germination with the most suitable environmental conditions. Therefore, assessing its prevalence at the community level allows us to understand how plants adapt to their local environment. In this paper, Athugala and colleagues build the first dormancy…

The rise of angiosperms pushed conifers to decline during global cooling (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA)

During the Triassic and Jurassic periods (approximately 250 – 140 million years ago), Earth was dominated by gymnosperms including conifers. Today, the number of species and individuals is greatly reduced from their heyday, and instead Earth is dominated by angiosperms. Although it is widely stated…

Buffering effects of soil seed banks on plant community composition in response to land use and climate (Glob. Ecol. Biogeogr.)

Plant communities seem to be able to mitigate the effects of climate and land-use change, given their responses are usually observed long after environmental conditions have changed. This lagged response has been attributed to the presence of persistent soil seed banks. Still, the evidence of their…

Burning grasses, poor seeds: Post-fire reproduction of early-flowering Neotropical savanna grasses produces low-quality seeds (Plant Ecol.) ($)

Fire is a disturbance that underpins several ecological processes in tropical savannas. For instance, some plant species from these ecosystems are traditionally known for relying on fires to reproduce. However, this dependency remains to be formally tested. Also, the impact of fire on seed quality…

Opinion. We have been in lockdown, but deforestation has not (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA)

Douglas Daly is the B. A. Krukoff Curator of Amazonian Botany, Institute of Systematic Botany at the New York Botanic Garden, and a specialist in tropical tree systematics and the flora of the Amazon region. In this Opinion article, he reflects on how he and other field-based botanists have kept their…

Review: Trade‐off between seed dispersal in space and time (Ecol. Lett.)

Seeds can be dispersed in space (i.e., away from their mother plants) or time (i.e., delayed germination via seed dormancy or persistent soil seed banks). These contrasting strategies have traditionally been considered to increase reproductive success, but our understanding of their relationship is…

Do regeneration traits vary according to vegetation structure? A case study for savannas ($) (J. Veg. Sci.)

Regeneration traits –such as germination strategies, seed dormancy, and seedling establishment– are presumably shaped by environmental variables that operate at different temporal and spatial scales. However, empirical evidence about the variation is lacking for most regeneration seed traits. Here,…