Data from: Seedling recruitment in subalpine grassland forbs: predicting field regeneration behaviour from lab germination responses
Vandvik, Vigdis; Elven, Reidar; Töpper, Joachim (2017), Data from: Seedling recruitment in subalpine grassland forbs: predicting field regeneration behaviour from lab germination responses, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.04f8c
Environmental cueing that restricts seed germination onto times and places where mortality risk is relatively low may have considerable selective advantage. The predictive power of lab germination responses for field regeneration behaviour is rarely tested. We screened 11 alpine grassland forbs for germination behaviours predictive of microsite and seasonal selectivity, and seed carry-over across years. The predictions were tested in a field experiment. Germination in the lab ranged from 0.05% to 67.9%, and was affected by light (5 species), temperature (6), fluctuating temperatures (4), moist chilling prior to germination (cold-stratification) (6), and dormancy-breaking by means of gibberellic acid (8). Seedling emergence in the field varied from 0.1% to 14.1%, and increased in low-competition microsites (bare-ground gaps and cut vegetation; 7 species), and showed seasonal timing (1 in autumn and 1 in spring), and seed carry-over across years (7). Lab germination responses successfully predicted microsite selectivity in the field and to some extent seed carry-over across years but not seasonal timing of germination. Gap-detecting species were generally small-seeded, low-growing, and found in unproductive habitats. Larger-seeded species germinated in all microsites but experienced increased mortality in high-competition microsites. Seed carry-over across years was lower in alpine specialists than in more widely-distributed species.