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Journal Articles Seed Science Research Year : 2010

Seed mortality in the soil is related to seed coat thickness

Antoine Gardarin
Carolyne Dürr
  • Function : Author
Maria R Mannino
  • Function : Author
Hugues Busset
  • Function : Author
Nathalie Colbach


Models that quantify the effects of cropping systems on weed dynamics are useful tools for testing innovative cropping systems. In these models, seed mortality in the soil is a key parameter to account for the cumulated effect of cropping systems over time via the soil seed-bank. Since seed mortality is difficult to measure, our objective was to develop a method to estimate it from easily accessible information. Seeds of 13 weed species were buried 30 cm deep in fields and were recovered regularly for 2 years to measure their viability. Seed mass, dimensions, shape, and protein and lipid contents as well as coat thickness were measured. To estimate seed mortality of species not included in the study, we searched for relationships between mortality rates and seed traits. Seed viability mainly decreased during the second year of burial, with mortality rates ranging from 0.01 to 0.63 seeds•seeds 21 •year 21 , depending on the species. Seed mortality decreased with increasing seed coat thickness. No correlation was found with other measured traits or with seed persistence data in the literature. These results were confirmed when the effects of phylogenetic relatedness with phylogenetically independent contrasts were included. The thickness of the seed coat, which varied between 17 and 231 mm over the range of species studied, can protect the seed from external attacks in the soil and slow down seed decay. This trait can be easily measured via X-ray images and could be used to estimate the seed mortality rate for a wider range of species.
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Dates and versions

hal-03335838 , version 1 (13-09-2021)



Antoine Gardarin, Carolyne Dürr, Maria R Mannino, Hugues Busset, Nathalie Colbach. Seed mortality in the soil is related to seed coat thickness. Seed Science Research, 2010, 20, pp.243 - 256. ⟨10.1017/s0960258510000255⟩. ⟨hal-03335838⟩
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