Seed after-ripening and dormancy determine adult life history independently of germination timing.
• Seed dormancy can affect life history through its effects on germination time. Here, we investigate its influence on life history beyond the timing of germination. • We used the response of Arabidopsis thaliana to chilling at the germination and flowering stages to test the following: how seed dormancy affects germination responses to the environment; whether variation in dormancy affects adult phenology independently of germination time; and whether environmental cues experienced by dormant seeds have an effect on adult life history. • Dormancy conditioned the germination response to low temperatures, such that prolonged periods of chilling induced dormancy in nondormant seeds, but stimulated germination in dormant seeds. The alleviation of dormancy through after-ripening was associated with earlier flowering, independent of germination date. Experimental dormancy manipulations showed that prolonged chilling at the seed stage always induced earlier flowering, regardless of seed dormancy. Surprisingly, this effect of seed chilling on flowering time was observed even when low temperatures did not induce germination. • In summary, seed dormancy influences flowering time and hence life history independent of its effects on germination timing. We conclude that the seed stage has a pronounced effect on life history, the influence of which goes well beyond the timing of germination.
de Casas, RR; Kovach, K; Dittmar, E; Barua, D; Barco, B; Donohue, K
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