Hernandez, R.R.; Tanner, K.E.; Haji, S.; Parker, I.M.; Pavlik, B.M.; Moore-O’Leary, K.A. Simulated Photovoltaic Solar Panels Alter the Seed Bank Survival of Two Desert Annual Plant Species. Plants2020, 9, 1125.
Hernandez, R.R.; Tanner, K.E.; Haji, S.; Parker, I.M.; Pavlik, B.M.; Moore-O’Leary, K.A. Simulated Photovoltaic Solar Panels Alter the Seed Bank Survival of Two Desert Annual Plant Species. Plants 2020, 9, 1125.
Seed bank survival underpins plant population persistence but studies on seed bank trait-environment interactions are few. Changes in environmental conditions relevant to seed banks occur in desert ecosystems owing to solar energy development. We developed a conceptual model of seed bank survival to complement methodologies using in-situ seed bank packets. Using this framework, we quantified the seed bank survival of two closely related annual desert plant species, one rare (Eriophyllum mohavense) and one common (Eriophyllum wallacei) and the seed bank-environment interactions of these two species in the Mojave Desert within a system that emulates microhabitat variation associated with solar energy development. We tracked 4,860 seeds buried across 540 seed packets and found, averaged across both species, that seed bank survival was 21% and 6% for the first and second growing seasons, respectively. After two growing seasons, the rare annual had a significantly greater seed bank survival (10%) than the common annual (2%). Seed bank survival, across both species, was significantly greater in Shade (10%) microhabitats compared to Runoff (5%) microhabitats and Control microhabitats (3%). Our study confers insight into this early life-stage across rare and common congeners and their environmental interactions using a novel conceptual framework for seed bank survival.
disturbance; drylands; photovoltaic; plant community; plant traits; rare species; renewable energy; seed traits; seed banks; solar energy
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