Ecological and Genetic Implications of Seed Banks for a White Campion (Silene latifolia) Meta Population

White campion (Silene latifolia) currently serves as a model system for study into the effects of habitat fragmentation on plant populations. Habitat fragmentation usually leads to the creation of many small populations, and small populations experience much higher rates of extinction and are more susceptible to losses of genetic variation than larger populations. Peroni's research explores the potential for dormant seed banks to stabilize the population dynamics and genetics of these fragmented populations by providing a type of insurance policy should the above ground portion of the population be destroyed or reduced to only a few individuals. In collaboration with student researchers (*) this program has documented: (1) the existence of large persistent seed banks for populations in the study region (Peroni and Armstrong, 2001; Peroni and McCauley, in prep) (2) variation in seed bank persistence based on spatial heterogeneity and seed gender (Peroni, Boozer*, Whitehead*, Keifer*, Okey*, White*, and Bailey*, in prep) (3) environmentally dependent inbreeding depression for germination in the lab (White* and Peroni, in prep) (4) dark induction of secondary dormancy (Peroni, White*, Caldwell*, Halpin*, and Walker*, in prep). Potential projects include: (1) effects of inbreeding on seed germination in the field (2) effects of conspecifics on germination and seed bank persistence (3) assessment of heritability for seed germination characters (4) determination of environmental correlates that influence seed bank persistence (5) effects of vegetative cover and depth of burial on seed bank persistence.

© Copyright 2007 Department of Biology, Davidson College, Davidson, NC 28035
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