Positive effect of seed size on seedling survival in fire-prone savannas of Australia, Brazil and West Africa
All plant species face a fundamental reproductive trade-off: for a given investment in seed mass, they can produce either many small seeds or few large seeds. Whereas small seeds favour the germination of numerous seedlings, large seeds favour the survival of seedlings in the face of common stresses such as herbivory, drought or shade (Leishman et al. 2000). One mechanism explaining the better survival of large-seeded species is the seedling size effect (SSE) (Westoby et al. 1996): because seeds with large reserves result in bigger seedlings, seedlings from large-seeded species would have better access to light and/or to reliable water supply than seedlings from small-seeded species.(Published Online October 20 2006)
(Accepted May 18 2006)
Key Words: buds; resource allocation; resprouting; root reserves; seed mass; seedling size.
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