Recent Posts

Nanoscale movements of cellulose microfibrils in primary cell walls ($)

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Cell walls are complex mixtures of cellulose microfibrils, proteins and other materials. Their mechanical properties can be measured and modeled, but it is not always simple to translate these measurements to changes at the molecular level. Zhang et al. used atomic force microscopy to provide an unprecedented…

Review: The pleurogram, an under-investigated functional trait in seeds (Ann. Bot.)

The pleurogram is a depression on both sides of the seeds of some Fabaceae species. Surprisingly, although it is recognized as a specialized structure, little is known about its anatomical features or biological role. In this review, Rodrigues-Junior et al. synthesize the current knowledge about the…

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…

Single nucleus analysis of Arabidopsis seeds reveals new cell types and imprinting dynamics (bioRxiv)

Arabidopsis seeds consist of various tissue like seed coat, embryo, and endosperm. The endosperm provides the nutrient supplies to the growing embryo and has three domains namely, micropylar (surrounding embryo), chalazal (opposite end of the seed), and peripheral (in between micropylar and chalazal)…

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,…

The process of seed maturation is influenced by mechanical constraints (New Phytol.)

Developing organs need to sense their surroundings to modulate their growth. In the case of embryos, their development is physically limited by the embryo sac; thus, they must assess the space they have available for growing and modulate their growth accordingly. In this paper, Rolletschek et al. report…

Review: Extending Plant Defense Theory to Seeds (Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst.) ($)

Plants have developed multiple mechanisms to deal with the natural enemies they encounter through their life. In consequence, the Plant Defense Theory has arisen to assess how plants allocate resources to this purpose. However, much of the efforts in this matter has revolved around the defense that occurs…

Seed predation selects for reproductive variability and synchrony in perennial plants (New Phytol.) ($)

Instead of regularly flowering and fruiting each year, some long-lived species exhibit annually variable reproduction events. This phenomenon, known as masting, is considered an adaptation to reduce the losses from seed predation: in years of high reproduction, seeds are so abundant that predators become…

Hydration-dependent phase separation of a prion-like protein regulates seed germination during water stress (bioRxiv)

Plant seeds can remain dormant for several years under stress conditions and subsequently germinate once favorable conditions return. Even though this phenomenon has been known for many years, what keeps the seed from germinating during the unfavorable conditions, especially during water deficit conditions,…

Limited evidence for a consistent seed mass-dispersal trade-off in wind dispersed pines (J. Ecol.) ($)

The dispersal capacity of wind-dispersed seeds is expected to be shaped by seed mass, with lighter seeds dispersed further due to low terminal velocity (i.e., maximum velocity while falling). However, this relationship has been mostly tested comparing species from different taxonomic groups, rather…