• Effects of wind speed, underlying surface, and seed morphological traits on the secondary seed dispersal in the Tengger Desert, China

    分类: 生物学 >> 植物学 提交时间: 2024-04-15 合作期刊: 《干旱区科学》

    摘要: The maintenance of sand-fixing vegetation is important for the stability of artificial sand-fixing systems in which seed dispersal plays a key role. Based on field wind tunnel experiments using 11 common plant species on the southeastern edge of the Tengger Desert, China, we studied the secondary seed dispersal in the fixed and semi-fixed sand dunes as well as in the mobile dunes in order to understand the limitations of vegetation regeneration and the maintenance of its stability. Our results indicated that there were significant variations among the selected 11 plant species in the threshold of wind speed (TWS). The TWS of Caragana korshinskii was the highest among the 11 plant species, whereas that of Echinops gmelinii was the lowest. Seed morphological traits and underlying surface could generally explain the TWS. During the secondary seed dispersal processes, the proportions of seeds that did not disperse (no dispersal) and only dispersed over short distance (short-distance dispersal within the wind tunnel test section) were significantly higher than those of seeds that were buried (including lost seeds) and dispersed over long distance (long-distance dispersal beyond the wind tunnel test section). Compared with other habitats, the mobile dunes were the most difficult places for secondary seed dispersal. Buried seeds were the easiest to be found in the semi-fixed sand dunes, whereas fixed sand dunes were the best sites for seeds that dispersed over long distance. The results of linear mixed models showed that after controlling the dispersal distance, smaller and rounder seeds dispersed farther. Shape index and wind speed were the two significant influencing factors on the burial of seeds. The explanatory power of wind speed, underlying surface, and seed morphological traits on the seeds that did not disperse and dispersed over short distance was far greater than that on the seeds that were buried and dispersed over long distance, implying that the processes and mechanisms of burial and long-distance dispersal are more complex. In summary, most seeds in the study area either did not move, were buried, or dispersed over short distance, promoting local vegetation regeneration.

  • Effects of degradation and species composition on soil seed density in the alpine grasslands, China

    分类: 生物学 >> 生态学 提交时间: 2023-12-20 合作期刊: 《干旱区科学》

    摘要: Grassland degradation can alter the structure and function of ecosystem and soil seed bank. Therefore, estimating the role of soil seed bank in vegetation regeneration of degraded grasslands is crucial. We selected grasslands with three levels of degradation, namely non-degraded (ND), mildly degraded (MD), and heavily degraded (HD) to analyze the effect of grassland degradation on soil seed bank, as well as the role of soil seed bank on vegetation regeneration of the alpine grasslands, China. Soil samples from each level were collected in May, before seedling emergence, in August, after completion of transient seed bank germination, and in December, after seed dispersal, to determine the seed density and species composition through germination experiment. Result showed that a total of 35 plant species was identified, including 15 species observed in both soil seed bank and above-ground vegetation. A total of 19, 15, and 14 species of soil seed bank were identified in December, May, and August, respectively. The most abundant species in soil seed bank were Compositae (5 species), followed by Poaceae (4 species), and Cyperaceae (3 species). Degradation level has no significant impact on species richness and Shannon- Wiener index of soil seed bank. In addition, sampling month and grassland degradation affected soil seed bank density, in which December>May>August, and ND>MD>HD, indicating that density of transient seed bank was greater than persistent seed bank. Soil seed bank density of surface layer (05 cm) accounting for 42%72% of the total density, which was significantly higher than that of deep layer (510 cm). Similarity of species composition between vegetation and soil seed bank was low, and it increased with degradation level (ranged from 0.14 to 0.69). We concluded that grassland degradation affects soil seed bank density more than species diversity, and soil seed bank contributed slightly to vegetation regeneration of degraded alpine grassland. Therefore, it is unlikely that degraded alpine meadow can be restored solely through soil seed bank.