Agroecosystem management for rare species of Paysonia (Brassicaceae): Integrating their seed ecology and life cycle with cropping regimens in a changing climate

E.A. Fitch, Jeffrey Walck, Siti Hidayati

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    Dormancy break and germination of seeds are governed by climatic cues, and predicted changes in climate may impact the ecology and conservation of species. Paysonia perforata and P. stonensis are rare brassicaceous winter annuals occurring primarily in fields on floodplains, where corn or soybeans are recommended for habitat maintenance. We tested the effects of precipitation, based on two predictions of changes in climate, on seed germination in these two species and placed the results into a management framework. Seeds of both species, collected during peak dispersal in late April/early May, were given various periods of light (or darkness) followed by darkness (or light) at summer temperatures before placement in darkness during late summer/early autumn in both laboratory and field. The light requirement was met earliest at 10 wk (mid-July) on alternating wet/dry substrate (simulating current climatic conditions). However, seeds of P. perforata and P. stonensis were photostimulated earliest at 2 wk (mid-May) and 6 wk (mid-June), respectively, on a continuously moist substrate (simulating predicted future conditions). The soil seed bank could be depleted if plowing coincides with photostimulation of seeds. Fields should be prepared after dispersal but before seeds are photostimulated and harvesting completed before seed germination in early September. Because seeds are highly photostimulated in late summer, disturbance from harvesting must be low to prevent burial. Cultivation of soybean, particularly for forage, is better matched to the seed biology and life cycle of Paysonia than that of corn under current and predicted climates.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)102-110
    JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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