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Predicting germination response to temperature. I. Cardinal-temperature models and subpopulation-specific regression

Hardegree, S.P.
Annals of botany 2006 v.97 no.6 pp. 1115
seed germination, temperature, prediction, models, Poa secunda, Pseudoroegneria spicata, Elymus lanceolatus, Elymus elymoides, regression analysis, estimation, equations, accuracy
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The purpose of this study was to compare the relative accuracy of different thermal-germination models in predicting germination-time under constant-temperature conditions. Of specific interest was the assessment of shape assumptions associated with the cardinal-temperature germination model and probit distribution often used to distribute thermal coefficients among seed subpopulations. METHODS: The seeds of four rangeland grass species were germinated over the constant-temperature range of 3-38 °C and monitored for subpopulation variability in germination-rate response. Subpopulation-specific germination rate was estimated as a function of temperature and residual model error for three variations of the cardinal-temperature model, non-linear regression and piece-wise linear regression. The data were used to test relative model fit under alternative assumptions regarding model shape. KEY RESULTS: In general, optimal model fit was obtained by limiting model-shape assumptions. All models were relatively accurate in the sub-optimal temperature range except in the 3 °C treatment where predicted germination times were in error by as much as 70 d for the cardinal-temperature models. CONCLUSIONS: Germination model selection should be driven by research objectives. Cardinal-temperature models yield coefficients that can be directly compared for purposes of screening germplasm. Other model formulations, however, may be more accurate in predicting germination-time, especially at low temperatures where small errors in predicted rate can result in relatively large errors in germination time.