Invitation to contribute to the Special Issue “Seed Dormancy and Germination as Key for Crop Establishment and Food Production”
We invite you to contribute to the Special Issue “Seed Dormancy and Germination as Key for Crop Establishment and Food Production”.
Timing of seed germination is one of the key steps in plant life. It determines when plants enter natural or agricultural ecosystems and is the basis for crop production. In the wild, many seeds only germinate after certain conditions have occurred. In contrast, crops tend to germinate as soon as they are wet and planted. A certain level of seed dormancy is desirable even in crops, since precocious germination might be detrimental to harvest. Balance in seed germination is also important for processing, like barley malting. In the context of restoration, recruitment limitations must be considered, which involve seed persistence, dormancy, and germination. Dormancy is a common attribute of many weed seed populations.
Following maturation, seed might be ready to germinate under favourable conditions. A diverse range of dormancy mechanisms has evolved in keeping with the diversity of climates and habitats. Dormancy and germination traits are controlled in a highly complex manner. Seed dormancy is also one of the key traits altered during domestication process, since it is vital for crop establishment. Soil seed banks spanning over several generations are ubiquitous for many species with seed dormancy in plants. Seed banks are also key for the conservation of endangered plant species as a life history trait modulating habitat fragmentation.
Advances in the study of seed dormancy and germination currently focus on mechanistic biology mediated by either the genome or epigenome and the relationship with new environmental conditions. Agricultural systems are increasingly more complex and the biological knowledge of interactions is needed to improve crop production. In addition, seed traits related to germination timing with suitable conditions remain largely unexplored, despite playing a central role in improving our understanding of plant evolution and ecosystem functioning. Understanding how the numerous seed traits map to germination functions is necessary for integrating regeneration traits into ecological strategies and advancing predictive models. In the latter, bio-ecological limitations arise as seed dormancy processes and germination requirements of various species remain to be elucidated to bridge the ecological knowledge gap for accurate emergence prediction. A new generation of modelling approaches based on soft computing techniques are positioned as an interesting methodology to assist with this task.
This Special Issue aims to provide up-to-date information on various aspects of seed dormancy and germination, both from theoretical and practical perspectives, from biology and genetics to agronomical aspects.
We welcome the following article types: original research, reviews, and opinions.
Prof. Dr. Petr Smýkal
Prof. Juan Pablo Renzi