Seed Treatment Optimizes Benefits of Seed Bank Storage for Restoration-Ready Seeds: The Feasibility of Prestorage Dormancy Alleviation for Mine-Site Revegetation
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Dormant seeds of 18 species from 9 families covering a diverse range of seed dormancy syndromes and life histories from the southwest Australian biodiversity hotspot were assessed for germinability following storage at 15–25°C for 36 months. A total of 10 species with physical dormancy (PY) and 8 with either physiological dormancy (PD) or morphophysiological dormancy (MPD) were assessed as part of the study. Prior to storage, germination from dormant seeds was 1–27%, rising to 41–100% following specific dormancy-breaking treatments. When seed dormancy was removed prior to storage for 36 months seeds from all species were found to maintain a nondormant state and germinate to a similar level to that observed at the beginning of the experiment (44–100%). Likewise, seeds that did not receive a prestorage dormancy-breaking treatment maintained a dormant state (0–50% germination) and subsequently responded well to a dormancy-breaking treatment immediately prior to germination assessment (49–99%). There were minimal differences in response to dormancy-breaking treatments before and after 36 months storage (average 4–6% difference) and in the germination responses observed between both storage environments assessed (15°C/15% eRH or 15–25°C air dried). Based on these findings, storing seeds in a nondormant state does not alter germinability and this approach provides significant benefits to current seed-based restoration programs through reduction of double handling and improved seed use efficiency.
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