Outline the different attributes of serotinous and soil-stored seedbanks and how the regeneration of vegetation might differ between a site affected by drought and one affected by fire.. Ecology

Difference between soil stored and serotinous seeds

  • Serotiny is when the seeds of a plant are stored on the adult until ready to be release. Serotiny is not common throughout the world, it is common in Australia.
  • Advantages of serotiny include: protection from predators, fire and desiccation.
  • Disadvantages of serotiny include: energy is drained from the adult.
  • Germination requirements of serotinous plants: most often fire, death of parent, wetting, sunlight, drying atmospheric conditions, fire followed by wetting.
  • Soil stored seeds often form seed banks in soil and germinate when there is a chemical or physical cue
  • Advantages of seed banks include: suitable habitats when germinate, build up large germination pool to beat predators
  • Disadvantages of seed banks include: competition between seedlings for light, space and nutrients, dependency on correct conditions being present, dormancy may be unnecessary in predictable environment
  • Germination cues for seed banks: physical breaking of the seed coat (fire or high temperatures), mechanical (breaking of seed coat by ingestion) or chemical (usually water).

The regeneration of an area affected will probably be poor compared to one affected by fire. Although the area affected by fire will look more desolate, the germination of the seed bank will be better. This is because the fire will:

  • Reduce competition between adults and seedlings
  • Create a nutrient rich environment
  • Kill pathogens on the soil
  • Improve light available to seedlings
  • Cue germination in a lot of seeds