Seed output and the seed bank in Vallisneria Americana
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Seed banks and sexual reproduction are known to be significant in colonization and re-establishment of some aquatic macrophyte communities. For highly clonal aquatic macrophytes, however, there is a lack of information on seed production and seed fate as compared with annual sexual species. The seed bank for three populations of Vallisneria americana in the Huron-Erie corridor of the Great Lakes was sampled and quantified in the spring of 1994, and related to seed production in the previous season at these sites. Seed deposition rates during 1994 were also assessed. Sites varied in the proportion of plants flowering and in their tertiary sex ratios, but did not differ in seed numbers produced per unit area. The size of the seed bank was not significantly related to the previous season's seed output, and estimates of seed deposition in the following year tended to be approximately tenfold greater than seed densities found in the seed bank. The stages between seed production and subsequent seed germination are generally very dynamic, with dispersal, mortality, and predation as likely regulating factors. The potential for seedling establishment in V. americana needs to be assessed more fully before the role of seeds in population processes can be determined.
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