Understanding seed-soil adhesion by myxospermous seeds and their biophysical function in agroecosystems

  • Ashley Gorman

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Abstract

Seedbanks provide many ecosystem services that support wildlife and regulate soil function. The fate of arable seeds is vital in shaping the aboveground composition of plant communities in agroecosystems. Understanding seed fate informs seedbank dynamics with multi-species interactions, as well as safeguarding arable biodiversity and food security. While many seed fate pathways are well known, the role of myxospermy in temperate agricultural soils is rarely addressed. Mucilage released by myxospermous seeds can modify the soil physical, hydraulic and microbial environment surrounding the seed. The principle biophysical mechanisms underlying the redistribution of weed seeds in eroded soils are unknown. It is possible that myxospermy delivers crucial services at the field scale, such as soil stability and water retention. However, modifications of the soil physical environment have been investigated using only a single-species approach and are often tested with extracted mucilage rather than seeds in-situ. As multiple taxa produce myxospermous seeds, the effects of a single species cannot be generalised. As seeds co-exist in the soil as multi-species communities, a multi-species approach is needed to further understand the functionality of seed mucilage and their implications for soil, relative to the wider seedbank. This thesis focussed on examining the mechanisms responsible for the adhesive interactions between soil and myxospermous seeds and discusses the ecological function and behaviour at the soil particle scale.
Date of Award2019
LanguageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Dundee
SupervisorJohn Rowan (Supervisor), Blair McKenzie (Supervisor) & Cathy Hawes (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • Soil
  • Myxospermy
  • Seeds
  • Mucilage
  • Soil Erosion

Cite this

Understanding seed-soil adhesion by myxospermous seeds and their biophysical function in agroecosystems
Gorman, A. (Author). 2019

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy