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Implications of Environmental Stress during Seed Development on Reproductive and Seed Bank Persistence Traits in Wild Oat (Avena fatua L.)

Author(s): Robert S. Gallagher | Kristen L. Granger | Amanda M. Snyder | Dennis Pittmann | E. Patrick Fuerst

Journal: Agronomy (Basel)
ISSN 2073-4395

Volume: 3;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 537;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Avena fatua | maturation environment | seed bank | seed dormancy | seed vigor | reproductive allocation

Weeds produce seed under a wide range of conditions, depending on timing of emergence, prevailing crop, soil microsites, and climatic conditions, among other factors. We hypothesized that the maturation environment during weed seed development will influence reproductive allocation and seed persistence traits, such as seed dormancy and vigor, and needs to be considered when formulating weed management strategies. This research evaluated the effects of shade and drought stress on reproductive allocation, seed dormancy and seed vigor in select lines of wild oat (Avena fatua L.). Plants were grown in the greenhouse under drought stress and shade. Harvested seed were subjected to controlled after-ripening and aging regimes. Drought and shade reduced reproductive allocation and resulted in seed with less intense primary dormancy compared to the plants grown under resource-rich conditions, but had no apparent effect on seed vigor. Our data provide additional support to the hypothesis that seed dormancy within a species is a highly plastic trait that can be strongly influenced by the growth conditions of the mother plant. Such plasticity may have important implications for establishing ecologically-based weed control criteria on which threshold-based weed management systems are implemented.
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