Seeds can survive deeper than we expected: our new paper in PeerJ


Our new paper by Ágnes Tóth et al. about the vertical distribution of soil seed bank in alkaline grasslands has been published in PeerJ. The paper is freely available at the journal homepage, and can be downloaded from here.

We studied the vertical distribution of soil seed bank in high resolution and to a depth that - up to our knowledge - was never studied before. We sampled cores down to 80 cm and divided each sample to sixteen 5-cm-deep segments. We found that the 75% of the total seed density was concentrated in the uppermost (top 5cm) soil layer, but seeds of 5 species were found even at the deepest layer (80cm deep). It was fascinating to find germinable seeds in such deep soil layers which shows that we might reconsider the spatial dimensions of the distribution of the soil seed bank. This propagule reservoir can be more important that previously thought: deep buried seeds can also contribute to vegetation dynamics if some natural or anthropogenic disturbance help them to reach the soil surface.

You can read more about this study in our research blog here.