Research Topic

Functional Seed Ecology: from Single Traits to Plant Distribution Patterns, Community Assembly and Ecosystem Processes

About this Research Topic

Seeds play several pivotal roles in plant biology, ecology, and geography. They help plants to adapt to changing environments, allow them to maintain existing populations, and to establish new populations in suitable habitats via dispersal networks as an important part of ecosystem processes. Despite this high importance, the landscape of plant trait research has been largely dominated by studies using vegetative traits (e.g. plant height, clonality, specific leaf area), to infer plant functioning at different scales. However, emerging research suggests that regenerative (seed) traits can help us to understand better the driving forces behind local, regional, and global plant distribution patterns and community assembly processes.

The overarching goal of this Research Topic is to advance the current regenerative trait research agenda by making state-of-art knowledge on seed traits widely available. We are looking for studies using different approaches to test seed trait-environment and trait-trait relationships covering seed biological as well as ecological (germination, dispersal, and soil seed bank) aspects. While we welcome contributions on different aspects of seed research, we are particularly interested in papers that go beyond the discussion of specific patterns (e.g. multispecies studies and experiments, meta-analyses) and address the following issues:

• Seed trait variation along ecological gradients
• The role of seed traits in controlling species geographic boundaries
• The importance of seed traits in community assembly processes (including seed ecological spectra of plant communities)
• Usage of seed traits to understand vegetation dynamics due to land-use and climate change


Keywords: Functional Seed Ecology, Seed Trait, ecological gradients, plant distribution patterns, seed ecology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Seeds play several pivotal roles in plant biology, ecology, and geography. They help plants to adapt to changing environments, allow them to maintain existing populations, and to establish new populations in suitable habitats via dispersal networks as an important part of ecosystem processes. Despite this high importance, the landscape of plant trait research has been largely dominated by studies using vegetative traits (e.g. plant height, clonality, specific leaf area), to infer plant functioning at different scales. However, emerging research suggests that regenerative (seed) traits can help us to understand better the driving forces behind local, regional, and global plant distribution patterns and community assembly processes.

The overarching goal of this Research Topic is to advance the current regenerative trait research agenda by making state-of-art knowledge on seed traits widely available. We are looking for studies using different approaches to test seed trait-environment and trait-trait relationships covering seed biological as well as ecological (germination, dispersal, and soil seed bank) aspects. While we welcome contributions on different aspects of seed research, we are particularly interested in papers that go beyond the discussion of specific patterns (e.g. multispecies studies and experiments, meta-analyses) and address the following issues:

• Seed trait variation along ecological gradients
• The role of seed traits in controlling species geographic boundaries
• The importance of seed traits in community assembly processes (including seed ecological spectra of plant communities)
• Usage of seed traits to understand vegetation dynamics due to land-use and climate change


Keywords: Functional Seed Ecology, Seed Trait, ecological gradients, plant distribution patterns, seed ecology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 March 2021 Abstract
15 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 March 2021 Abstract
15 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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