Inland Water Biology

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 68–73 | Cite as

Broad Seed Germination Niche as an Adaptation to Heterogeneous Aquatic Habit—a Case Study of Four Potamogeton species

  • S. RosbakhEmail author
  • P. Poschlod


Aquatic habitats represent an extremely heterogeneous media for the inhabiting its plants, because key environmental factors vary there rapidly at relatively small scales. In this study, we explore the seed germination strategies of four pondweed species (Potamogeton compressus L., P. natans L., P. pectinatus L. and P. vaginatus Turcz.) in relation to the habitats they occupy. We hypothesised that, due to the high heterogeneity of aquatic environments, none of the environmental factors, such as light, temperature fluctuations or oxygen would play the role of a reliable trigger for seed germination of these species. The results of the germination experiments confirm the proposed hypothesis: under almost all conditions – fluctuating and constant temperatures, light and darkness, aerobic, flooded and hypoxia conditions – germination percentages ranged from 88.5 to 100%. An interspecific comparison of germination patterns also evidenced that all the investigated species showed the same response to all the studied environmental factors. We speculate that similar adaptations present in other aquatic macrophytes may point out the broader occurrence of this phenomenon in aquatic plants.


Potamogeton pondweed aquatic habitat seed germination adaptation 



We would like to acknowledge the support given by German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and Russian Ministry of Science and Education (project RNP We also thank Katja Fleckenstein for help with seed collection, as well as Maik Bartelheimer for his help with statistical analysis, and Gunter Kolb and Inge Lauer for their technical assistance.


The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. This article does not contain any studies involving animals or human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Irkutsk State University, Department of Botany and GeneticsIrkutskRussia
  2. 2.University of Regensburg, Ecology and Nature Conservation BiologyRegensburgGermany

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