Global seed dormancy patterns are driven by macroclimate but not fire regime

Sergey Rosbakh, Angelino Carta, Eduardo Fernández-Pascual, Shyam S. Phartyal, Roberta L.C. Dayrell, Efisio Mattana, Arne Saatkamp, Filip Vandelook, Jerry Baskin, Carol Baskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Seed dormancy maximizes plant recruitment in habitats with variation in environmental suitability for seedling establishment. Yet, we still lack a comprehensive synthesis of the macroecological drivers of nondormancy and the different classes of seed dormancy: physiological dormancy, morphophysiological dormancy and physical dormancy. We examined current geographic patterns and environmental correlates of global seed dormancy variation. Combining the most updated data set on seed dormancy classes for > 10 000 species with > 4 million georeferenced species occurrences covering all of the world's biomes, we test how this distribution is driven by climate and fire regime. Seed dormancy is prevalent in seasonally cold and dry climates. Physiological dormancy occurs in relatively dry climates with high temperature seasonality (e.g. temperate grasslands). Morphophysiological dormancy is more common in forest-dominated, cold biomes with comparatively high and evenly distributed precipitation. Physical dormancy is associated with dry climates with strong seasonal temperature and precipitation fluctuations (e.g. deserts and savannas). Nondormancy is associated with stable, warm and wetter climates (e.g. tropical rain forest). Pyroclimate had no significant effect on the distribution of seed dormancy. The environmental drivers considered in this study had a comparatively low predictive power, suggesting that macroclimate is just one of several global drivers of seed dormancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-564
Number of pages10
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors New Phytologist © 2023 New Phytologist Foundation.


  • environmental gradient
  • fire
  • macroclimate
  • seed dormancy
  • seed germination
  • seed trait

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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