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Journal of Arid Land  2016, Vol. 8 Issue (2): 264-271    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-015-0014-3
Research Articles     
The ecological role of dew in assisting seed germination of the annual desert plant species in a desert environment, northwestern China
ZHUANG Yanli1,2, ZHAO Wenzhi1,2*
1 Linze Inland River Basin Research Station, Chinese Ecosystem Research Network, Lanzhou 730000, China;
2 Key Laboratory of Ecohydrology of Inland River Basin, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
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Abstract  It is important to understand the effects of dew events on non-mucilaginous seed germination of annual desert plant species during dry seasons, which is critical to maintaining long-term soil seed banks in a harsh desert environment. We hypothesize that dew deposition also assists in the non-mucilaginous seed germination of annual desert species. A common field dew treatment experiment was conducted in the Linze Inland River Basin Research Station to investigate the effects of dew deposition on the seed germination of four annual species, including Agriophyllum squarrosum, Corispermum mongolicum, Bassia dasyphylla and Halogeton arachnoideus. The results showed that the presence of dew significantly increased seed germination percentages and decreased the nonviable seed percentages of B. dasyphylla and H. arachnoideus, whereas there was no such trend for the seeds of C. mongolicum and A. squarrosum. The ecological effects of dew on the seed germination and viability of the annual desert plants were species specific. Although dew wetting is insufficient to cause seed germination, it may help in priming the seeds.

Received: 24 March 2015      Published: 01 April 2016

This research was funded by the National Basic Research Program of China (2013CB429903), the West Light Program for Talent Cultivation of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41301604).

Corresponding Authors: ZHAO Wenzhi     E-mail:
Cite this article:

ZHUANG Yanli, ZHAO Wenzhi. The ecological role of dew in assisting seed germination of the annual desert plant species in a desert environment, northwestern China. Journal of Arid Land, 2016, 8(2): 264-271.

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