Seed Treatment Optimizes Benefits of Seed Bank Storage for Restoration-Ready Seeds: The Feasibility of Prestorage Dormancy Alleviation for Mine-Site Revegetation

Authors

  • Shane R. Turner,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Plant Biology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
    • Kings Park and Botanic Garden, West Perth, WA 6005, Australia
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  • Kathryn J. Steadman,

    1. School of Pharmacy, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
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  • Stephen Vlahos,

    1. BHP Billiton Worsley Alumina Pty Ltd, PO Box 344, Collie, WA 6225, Australia
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  • John M. Koch,

    1. School of Plant Biology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
    2. Alcoa of Australia, PO Box 172, Pinjarra, WA 6208, Australia
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  • Kingsley W. Dixon

    1. Kings Park and Botanic Garden, West Perth, WA 6005, Australia
    2. School of Plant Biology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
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Address correspondence to S. R. Turner, email shane.turner@bgpa.wa.gov.au

Abstract

Dormant seeds of 18 species from 9 families covering a diverse range of seed dormancy syndromes and life histories from the southwest Australian biodiversity hotspot were assessed for germinability following storage at 15–25°C for 36 months. A total of 10 species with physical dormancy (PY) and 8 with either physiological dormancy (PD) or morphophysiological dormancy (MPD) were assessed as part of the study. Prior to storage, germination from dormant seeds was 1–27%, rising to 41–100% following specific dormancy-breaking treatments. When seed dormancy was removed prior to storage for 36 months seeds from all species were found to maintain a nondormant state and germinate to a similar level to that observed at the beginning of the experiment (44–100%). Likewise, seeds that did not receive a prestorage dormancy-breaking treatment maintained a dormant state (0–50% germination) and subsequently responded well to a dormancy-breaking treatment immediately prior to germination assessment (49–99%). There were minimal differences in response to dormancy-breaking treatments before and after 36 months storage (average 4–6% difference) and in the germination responses observed between both storage environments assessed (15°C/15% eRH or 15–25°C air dried). Based on these findings, storing seeds in a nondormant state does not alter germinability and this approach provides significant benefits to current seed-based restoration programs through reduction of double handling and improved seed use efficiency.

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