Seed movement and delayed germination have long been thought to represent alternative risk-spreading strategies, but current evidence covers limited scales and yields mixed results. Here we present the first global-scale test of a negative correlation between dispersal and dormancy. The result demonstrates a strong and consistent pattern that species with dormant seeds have reduced spatial dispersal, also in the context of life-history traits such as seed mass and plant lifespan. Long-lived species are more likely to have large, non-dormant seeds that are dispersed far. Our findings provide robust support for the theoretical prediction of a dispersal trade-off between space and time, implying that a joint consideration of risk-spreading strategies is imperative in studying plant life-history evolution. The bet-hedging patterns in the dispersal–dormancy correlation and the associated reproductive traits have implications for biodiversity conservation, via prediction of which plant groups would be most impacted in the changing era.
- seed bank
- seed dispersal
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics