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Title: Germination in four low-várzea tree species of Central Amazonia
Authors: Wittmann, Astrid Oliveira de
Piedade, Maria Teresa Fernandez
Parolin, Pia
Wittmann, Florian Karl
Keywords: Buoyancy
Evergreen Tree
Flooded Soil
Floodplain Forest
Seedling Emergence
Swamp Forest
Marajo Varzea
Para [brazil]
South America
Pseudobombax Munguba
Issue Date: 2007
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Aquatic Botany
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 86, Número 3, Pags. 197-203
Abstract: Trees of Central Amazonian white-water (várzea) forests are highly adapted to the annual inundations, which can last up to 7 months every year. Many trees synchronize fruit production to the period of highest water levels of the rivers, and hydrochory is especially common in species that colonize the low-lying flood-levels flooded for longer periods. The effect of the contact of diaspores with the river water is controversially discussed in literature. While many studies describe that flooding breaks the dormancy in seeds of many várzea tree species and is necessary for germination, other studies mention that seed buoyancy and/or submergence have negative effects on germination. Therefore, the present study was designed in order to test experimentally how seed buoyancy and seed submergence affect germination in four várzea tree species of the low-lying flood-levels. The tested species with buoyant seeds were Salix martiana and Pseudobombax munguba, those with submerged seeds Laetia corymbulosa and Vitex cymosa. 50 seeds from each species were (a) placed in water during a period of 15 days and afterwards moved to várzea substrate, thus simulating seed buoyancy and/or submergence in the natural environment, and (b) directly placed in várzea substrate, with four repetitions, respectively. Three species showed significantly higher percentages of germination in the flooded seeds than in the non-waterlogged seeds, while fruit-fibre involved seeds of P. munguba showed an opposite trend. In L. corymbulosa, germination initiated earlier in the submerged than in the control seeds, whereas there was no difference in the start of germination between waterlogged and non-waterlogged seeds of the other species. From buoyant seeds of P. munguba and S. martiana, seedlings with entirely formed cotyledons were developed while still in water. These seedlings were characterized by morphological differences in comparison to seedlings originating from non-waterlogged seeds and could not protrude the root into the soil (i.e. establish) when placed in the substrate. It is likely that the seed involving fruit-fibres contribute to long-distance dispersal in these species in the natural environment, and to stabilize seedlings when diaspores land on substrate. Concluding, contact with the river water did not disturb but on the contrary enhanced germination in the four studied species. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.1016/j.aquabot.2006.10.001
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