Size and characteristics of a natural seed bank in Antarctica

James B. McGraw, Thomas Day

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The seed banks of Colobanthus quitensis and Deschampsia antarctica, the only two vascular plants native to Antarctica, were assayed by collecting soils from two sites near Palmer Station. Antarctica, and germinating seeds in a laboratory germination facility. Both species were found to have a substantial seed bank (107-1648 seeds m-2), comparable in size to those of arctic and alpine species. The buried seed density was not correlated with the local aboveground abundance where both species were present, although at one site where a species was absent from the vegetation it was also not found in the seed community. Antarctic seed banks have important implications for both the decline and spread of plant populations in response to a changing climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-216
Number of pages4
JournalArctic and Alpine Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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