Seeds in the Natural Environment
A perusal of nineteenth-century botanical textbooks and floras reminds us that much of the factual basis of our subject has been quite well established for a long time. For seeds, most of the early information was based on observation and deduction. For example, a great deal was learned about dispersal mechanisms in this way. Experimental investigations developed out of observation, much of it by agricultural research workers concerned with such problems as the enormous populations of weed seeds buried in the soil. In due course some botanists began to see themselves as population biologists, a discipline previously left almost entirely to zoologists. A leading part in the development of this subject area was played by J.L. Harper and his research group, and his classic text Population Biology of Plants (1977) includes many of their contributions. That work, and that of J.P. Grime, Plant Strategies and Vegetation Processes (1979), include substantial consideration of seeds in this context, specifically with respect to seed production, predation, dispersal, survival in the seed bank of the soil, and germination. These topics are specifically considered by M. Fenner in his recent text, Seed Ecology (1985).
KeywordsClay Recombination Polythene Germinate Nylon
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