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Seed germination in response to diurnal fluctuations of temperature


DIURNAL fluctuations in temperature may initiate or accelerate germination in certain flowering plants1–6, and the effectiveness of the stimulus varies according to the amplitude of fluctuation7 and the presence or absence of light8. Attempts3,6 to assess the adaptive significance of the phenomenon, however, have been limited by the scarcity of data for species of contrasted ecology. We report here an investigation of germination responses to fluctuating temperatures, conducted on seeds of herbaceous species collected from native populations near Sheffield. The results suggest that requirements for diurnal fluctuations in temperature are characteristic of the germination of species from particular types of habitat and provide mechanisms which cause seeds to germinate at times and in places favourable for seedling establishment.

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THOMPSON, K., GRIME, J. & MASON, G. Seed germination in response to diurnal fluctuations of temperature. Nature 267, 147–149 (1977).

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