Water-mediated spread of seeds (hydrochory) plays an important role in the dispersal of aquatic plants. In this study we investigate intraspecific variation in floating ability and germination capacity of Sparganium emersum seeds in relation to seed mass, within three natural populations along the Rur River (the Netherlands–Germany). Our results suggest that S. emersum produces two types of seeds: (i) short-floating seeds (SFS) that sink within 4 weeks (approximately 71% of all seeds), and (ii) long-floating seeds (LFS) that float at least for 6 months (approximately 28% of all seeds). Our study further shows that short-floating seeds display a significantly higher germination (%) (SFS = 89.9% vs LFS = 32.6%), a faster germination rate (SFS = 8.71 ± 3.3 vs LFS = 9.32 ± 3.1 days to germination) and a higher mean seed mass (SFS = 15.17 ± 4.5 vs LFS = 11.25 ± 3.8 mg), compared to long-floating seeds. It is argued that the production of these two types of seeds by S. emersum plants, each type with a different potential for water-mediated dispersal, represents a bimodal hydrochoric dispersal strategy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAquatic Botany
Journal publication date2009

ID: 93838