Dormancy-related seed positional effect in two populations of an annual grass from locations of contrasting aridity

Sergei Volis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In grasses, variation in seed size and dormancy often results from a seed's position within a dispersal unit. In this paper, I asked whether seed positional effect within a spikelet contributes to ecotypic differentiation between two populations of Avena sterilis having different species range position and associated aridity. I created experimental seed banks in which germination of seeds (florets) having different positions within a spikelet was examined over three years. In addition, two germination tests were conducted under controlled conditions. The two populations were found to have a short-living soil seed bank due to sequential germination of the florets. Although positional seed dormancy effect in A. sterilis does not appear to be a specific desert adaptation against unpredictability of rainfall events, this trait does contribute to ecotypic differentiation between desert and Mediterranean populations. Consistent with bet hedging buffering against rainfall unpredictability, germination fractions in the first year were higher in the Mediterranean than in the desert population, while seeds of the desert origin had stronger dormancy and more sequential germination of florets.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere93061
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
StatePublished - 27 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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