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…

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…

Among-population variation in seed mass for 190 Tibetan plant species: Phylogenetic pattern and ecological correlates (Glob. Ecol. Conserv.)

Seed mass is a central trait in plant life history that impacts on seed production, germination, and establishment. Several studies have documented the variation in seed mass between species, but little is known about its variation among populations of the same species. In this paper, Zhang et al. tested…

Phylogenetic relatedness mediates persistence and density of soil seed banks ($) (J. Ecol.)

Soil seed banks are classified into two types, depending on how long seeds remain viable in the soil before germination or decay: transient (< 1 year) or persistent (> 1 year). In turn, a species' ability to form a persistent seed bank presumably depends on seed traits and plant habitat. However,…

Cones structure and seed traits of four species of large‐seeded pines: Adaptation to animal‐mediated dispersal (Ecol. Evol.)

Different studies show that animal-dispersed pines have particular cone and seed structures to match their dispersers. However, most research has either addressed the changes in cone and seed traits in a single species over an environmental gradient or the differences between wind-dispersed and animal-dispersed…

On the origin of giant seeds: the macroevolution of the double coconut (Lodoicea maldivica) and its relatives (Borasseae, Arecaceae) (New Phytol.)

The double coconut –Lodoicea maldivica (J.F.Gmel.) Pers. (Arecaceae: Coryophoideae)– is an endemic palm from Seychelles with the largest seed in the world: 0.5 m length and 25 Kg weight. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the origin of this enormous seed, but they have not been formally…

Review: Seed Mucilage Evolution: Diverse Molecular Mechanisms Generate Versatile Ecological Functions for Particular Environments ($) (Plant Cell Environ.)

Plants with myxodiaspory release mucilage upon imbibition of seeds (myxospermy, e.g., Arabidopsis thaliana) or fruits (myxocarpy, e.g., Linum usitatissimum). This ability appears in several angiosperm families, but its evolutionary origin has seldom been studied. In this review, Viudes et al. synthesize our…

Phylogenetic analyses of key developmental genes provide insight into the complex evolution of seeds ($) (Mol. Phylogenet. Evol.)

The complex genetic network behind the development of the ovule –the cell that will give place to seeds after fertilization– has been widely described in some model plants. However, ovules hold a high variability in integument number and morphology across seed plants. To understand the genetic mechanism…