After-ripening, the process of seed dormancy loss in dry storage is associated with a decrease in the mean base water potential, one of the parameters of hydrothermal time. The rate of change of the mean base water potential is assumed to be a linear function of temperature above a specific base temperature and as a result can be described by a thermal after-ripening (TAR) time model, an extension of hydrothermal modelling. The thermal requirement for after-ripening is the thermal time necessary for the modelling base water potential of the seed to shift from its original value to its final value. In order to include the effects of water potential on the rate of dormancy loss, a hydrothermal after-ripening (HTAR) time model was developed. Laboratory and field studies were conducted using seeds of Bromus tectorum. These studies identified four important ranges of water potential that influence the rate of dormancy loss. The ranges are identified as follows: seeds experiencing soil water potentials seeds experiencing soil water potentials <-400 MPa do not after-ripen, between -400 MPa and -150 MPa seeds after-ripen as a function of temperature (T) and water potential (Ψ), seeds experiencing water potentials >-150 MPa after-ripen as a linear function of temperature, and somewhere above -40 MPa seeds are too wet to after-ripen. These ranges suggest that specific reaction thresholds associated with non-fully imbibed seeds also apply to the process of after-ripening. The HTAR model for B. tectorum seeds generally improved predictions of dormancy loss in the field under soil conditions that were too dry for TAR alone. Reduced after-ripening rate under extremely dry conditions is ecologically relevant in explaining how seeds may prolong dormancy under high soil temperature conditions.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Plant and Wildlife Sciences



Date Submitted


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after-ripening, Bromus tectorum, dormancy loss, hydrothermal after-ripening time, hydrothermal time, modelling, water potential