Soil seed bank and aboveground vegetation of Cirsio dissceti-Molinietum, a threatened species-rich fen-meadow community, were studied in two, closely located Dutch stands. In the spring soil cores of 10 cm depth were drilled then subdivided into equal upper and lower segments. After concentration by washing over a fine sieve samples were spread thinly on sterilized soil and germinated in a climate chamber for 14 weeks. In the aboveground vegetation frequency of species was recorded on the same plots in summer. A total of 95% of species germinated in 5 weeks and the same portion of individuals emerged in 10 weeks. Prolonged germination of wetland species possibly due to a limited duirnal fluctuation of temperature was found. Seed densities of the stands did not differ significantly and the seed bank eas similary dominated by a few species. Correlation between dominance ranks of species in vegetation and in seed bank was weak. Seed bank of the smaller stand contained more non fen-meadow species than the other one and dominance ranks of species in different soil depths were also less similar. Most species had transient or short-term persistent seed banks but in Juncaceae and Ericaceae long-term persistent records were typical. The smaller stand had more persistent species but most of the species present at both stands were similary classified. Differences between the stands can be linked to their different distances from external seed sources. A more persistent-dominated seed bank and uneven layer stucture in the smaller stand could reflect the greater effect of environmental fluctuations.
Intensification of land use in the last few decades resulted in an increased rate of fragmentation of natural forest habitats. With decreased patch size but increased total borderline length the influence of the surroundings also increased. The extent of influence is especially crucial where the forest stands are adjacent to agricultural lands. We studied the vegetation (cover) and seed bank (soil samples, seedling emergence) along adjacent stands of an abandoned vineyard and edge and interior of an oak forest community (Quercetum petraeae-cerris) widespread in Central-Europe, using five transects (16 m2 plots along each transect). We asked the following questions: (i) How do vegetation and seed bank composition differ between the vineyard and forest interior and (ii) which weeds are able to penetrate into the forest herbaceous understorey vegetation and seed banks from the vineyard? In total, 15 phanaerophytes and 147 herbs were detected. Negatively associated with canopy shading, herb cover proved the lowest in the forest inferior. Few weeds and other ruderals recorded in vineyard penetrated into the forest interior. Mean seed density decreased one order of magnitude from the vineyard to the forest interior (from 20,831 to 2,159 seed/m2). The seed banks of the abandoned vineyard and edge and forest interior were dominated by ruderals, but decreasing proportion of weeds was detected from the vineyard to the forest interior. Characteristic forest herbs possessed at most sparse seed banks. Our results suggest that high canopy cover mitigates the negative impact of surrounding weedy vegetation on the forest herb layer. Therefore, the effect of surroundings is detectable mostly in the seed banks. We can assume that the formation of an increased ruderal herb cover can be foreseen if canopy opens, because the local propagule sources of forest species are missing from vegetation and soil seed banks.
The taxonomy of the genus
, in which two European species, a smaller eastern
and a more robust western
are included, has been controversial since the description of the eastern species in 1821. Nuclear encoded ribosomal DNA ITS1 and the entire chloroplast DNA ITS were sequenced from several European populations, from France to the Ukraine, and the leaf width of mature living individuals was measured and analysed by ANOVA and Tukey-test. Although the studied DNA regions proved to be invariable, leaf width shows extreme variability. We found no correlation between the leaf size of the individuals and the geographical position of the populations, and in addition, the sequenced DNA regions showed total uniformity. Thus, our results do not support the division of the genus
into two taxa, at least in the sampled area. The formerly described size variants can be treated taxonomically at the
We studied the potential role of seed bank in the dynamics of the understorey in a turkey oak-sessile oak forest (Querceteum petraeae-cerris) in Hungary. We used long-term records of the herb layer (1973–2006) and the seed bank composition of 2006 to assess the role of seed bank in the regeneration of herb layer. The total cover of herb layer decreased from 22% (1973) to 6% (1988), and remained low (<10%) till 2006; coinciding with the increasing cover of secondary canopy dominated by Acer campestre. We found a low density seed bank (ca. 1300 seeds/m2). Altogether 33 species were germinated from the soil samples. A few generalist weed species composed the majority of seed bank. It was possible to assign a seed bank type for 19 species; 14 species out of 19 was long-term persistent. We found that the characteristic perennial forest herbs and grasses had only sparse seed bank. The Jaccard similarity between vegetation and seed bank was low (<30%). Our results suggest that the continuous establishment of forest herbs are not based on local persistent seed bank; it should be based on vegetative spreading and/or seed rain.
In the present paper we report original thousand-seed weight data for the flora of the Pannonian Basin. Our goal was to demonstrate the usefulness of seed weight databases by analysing seed weight data in relation to social behaviour types and life forms. We specifically asked the following questions: (i) how the seed weights are related to social behaviour type categories; (ii) how the life form of the species influences seed weight differences between respective social behaviour types? Own weight measurements are provided for 1,405 taxa; and for 187 taxa we published seed weight data for the first time: these were mostly endemics, orchids and/or species with Pontic, Caspian or continental distribution. Several taxonomic or functional groups are underrepresented in our database, like aquatic plants, rare arable weeds and sub-Mediterranean species. Problematic taxa, some difficult-to-harvest species or species with low seed production and cultivated adventives are also underrepresented. We found that the plant strategies expressed by social behaviour types were significantly different in terms of seed weights. The lowest seed weight scores were found for natural pioneers, whereas the highest ones were found for adventives and introduced cultivated plants. Short-lived herbaceous species had significantly higher seed weight scores than herbaceous perennials. No significant differences were found between specialists and generalists within the stress tolerant group. We found that short-lived graminoids possess heavier seeds than perennial graminoids, perennial and annual forbs. Naturalness scores were negatively correlated with seed weights. Our findings showed that seed collections and databases are not only for storing plant material and seed weight data, but can be effectively used for understanding ecological trends and testing plant trait-based hypotheses. Even the identified gaps underline the necessity of further seed collection and measurements.
For understanding local and regional seed dispersal and plant establishment processes and for considering the ecotypes and other forms of specific variability, hard data of locally or regionally measured traits are necessary. We provided newly measured seed weight data of 193 taxa, out of which 24 taxa had not been represented in the SID, LEDA or BiolFlor databases. Our new measurements and formerly published data of locally collected seed weight records together covers over 70% of the Pannonian flora. However, there is still a considerable lack in seed weight data of taxonomically problematic genera, even though they are represented in the Pannonian flora with a relatively high number of species and/or subspecies (e.g. Sorbus, Rosa, Rubus, Crataegus and Hieracium). Our regional database contains very sporadic data on aquatic plants (including also numerous invasive species reported from Hungary and neighbouring countries) and some rare weeds distributed in the southwestern part of the country. These facts indicate the necessity of further seed collection and measurements.