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Protocols for Use of Potamogeton perfoliatus and Ruppia maritima Seeds in Large-Scale Restoration

Ailstock, M. Stephen, Shafer, Deborah J., Magoun, A. Dale
Restoration ecology 2010 v.18 no.4 pp. 560-573
Potamogeton perfoliatus, Ruppia maritima, aeration, cold storage, dormancy, freshwater, salinity, seed germination, seed yield, seeds, storage time, submerged aquatic plants, temperature, viability
Restoration of submerged aquatic vegetation from seed has been hampered by a lack of information on the appropriate conditions for collecting, processing, and storing seeds prior to dispersal. Seeds must be processed and stored under conditions that maintain seed viability, meet dormancy requirements, and prevent premature germination. This study examined the effects of collection date, processing technique, aeration, storage and induction temperature and salinity, and storage period on seed germination of two mesohaline aquatic species, Potamogeton perfoliatus and Ruppia maritima. Collection date and processing technique were significant factors affecting seed yield from donor populations. Seeds of both species remained viable and germinated best when stored at 4°C, and then exposed to freshwater induction conditions. However, their responses to other factors differed. Aeration during storage was necessary in order to maintain viability of P. perfoliatus seeds, whereas it was unnecessary for R. maritima seeds. Storage in freshwater at 4°C prevented germination of P. perfoliatus seeds, while high salinity during cold storage was necessary to minimize premature germination of R. maritima. Mean germination time of P. perfoliatus was dependent on storage salinity; in contrast, mean germination time of R. maritima seeds was dependent on induction salinity. These differences indicate that the methods required to produce large quantities of underwater plant seed amenable to large-scale restoration efforts must be tailored to the specific requirements of individual species and must consider the range of processes from initial harvest through seed testing prior to field establishment.