Mechanisms of dormancy of seeds from an annual population of the seagrass Zostera marina L. (eelgrass) in the SW Netherlands were investigated in the laboratory. Both physiological dormancy (a requirement for reduced salinity for germination) and physical dormancy (imposed by the seed coat) existed in recently shed seeds. Physiological seed dormancy was partly released in the seed bank by early winter, but physical dormancy lasted longer. By March seeds germinated quickly in the dark in full-strength seawater without artificial weakening of the seed coat. Viable seeds were released with coats that ranged from green (easily ruptured by the embryo) to brown (not easily ruptured); this variation may account for the occasional seedlings that appear during winter. No significant effects of temperature or light on germination were detected. A reexamination of the literature suggests that the observed variation in timing of germination in eelgrass populations may be a result of hitherto overlooked aspects of dormancy. Key words: eelgrass, seagrass, seed coat, seed dormancy, seed germination, Zostera marina.
|Journal||Canadian Journal of Botany-Revue Canadienne De Botanique|
|Publication status||Published - 1991|