Population size is not a reliable indicator of seed germination

Jerry M. Baskin, Carol C. Baskin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Small isolated plant populations are one of the consequences of fragmentation of natural habitats by humans. We asked what effect does the creation of smaller populations from larger ones has on the plant fitness-related trait seed germination. Using information on 119 species (142 species entries) in 50 families, we found that seeds in only 35.2% of the species entries from larger populations germinated to higher percentages than those from smaller populations. In the other entries, seeds from large and small populations germinated equally well (57.7% of total entries) or seeds from small populations germinated better (7.0% of total entries) than those from large populations. These results indicate that population size is not a reliable predictor of seed germinability. Furthermore, there was little relationship between seed germination and either seed mass, genetic diversity or degree of population isolation, or between population size and genetic diversity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSeed Science Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press.


  • habitat fragmentation
  • population genetic diversity
  • population isolation
  • population size
  • seed germination
  • seed mass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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