Five patterns of seed germination in the sedges of the genus Carex are presented, based on the literature data and the results of the authors' own research. They include the pattern of C. acutiformis, C. arenaria, C. remota, C. flava and C. communis. These patterns were constructed on the basis of seed specific requirements for development, such as stratification, temperature, dormancy and time of germination. Majority of sedges follow the pattern of C. acutiformis or C. remota. In both cases, stratification and either high or low temperature are essential for seed germination. Seeds that start to germinate early (C. remota pattern) are characterized by the absence of the distinct peaks of germination, as opposed to the C. acutiformis pattern with the germination peak in March. Our long-term investigations, conducted on the group of individuals in controlled conditions, revealed significant differences in seed size and the ability of seeds to germinate depending on the age of mother plants. We postulate that mother plant age is a new factor that should be considered in the construction of seed germination patterns.
Man-made habitats - hotspots of evolutionary game between grass, fungus and fly
The origin and effects of an evolutionary game between species from three different kingdoms (plants, fungi and animals) are presented. We provide scientific evidence that the interaction discovered in man-made habitats leads to an early stage of coevolution. The grass Puccinellia distans was observed to rapidly spread in new man-made habitats, while at the same time, it was colonised by the fungus Epichloë typhina. The invasion of infected grasses is accompanied by alterations in life histories of both species: P. distans developed features promoting long-distance spreading, whereas E. typhina changed its life cycle by forming sexual structures for the second time, later in the vegetative season. This enables the fungus to make use of the late shoots of the grass for sexual reproduction, even though it cannot be completed because the vector of spermatia necessary for fertilisation, female Botanophila flies, is not present at that time. This indicates that such uncoordinated evolutionary processes had taken place before interactions between organisms became so specialised that it is difficult to presume they were the result of natural selection. Moreover, these processes could have been initiated in man-made habitats that, in particular circumstances, can become coevolutionary hotspots.
Hyperspectral remote sensing of plants is widely used in agriculture and forestry. Fast, large-area monitoring is applied, among others, in detecting and diagnosing diseases, stress conditions or predicting the yields. Using available tools to increase the yields of most important crop plants (wheat, rice, corn) without posing threat to food security is essential in the situation of current climate changes.
Spectral plant indices are associated with biochemical and biophysical plant characteristics. Using the plant spectral properties (mainly chlorophyll red light absorption and near-infrared range light reflectance in leaf intercellular spaces), it is possible to estimate plant condition, water and carotenoid contents or detect disease. More and more often, based on commonly used hyperspectral vegetation indices, new, more sensitive indices are introduced. Furthermore, to facilitate data processing, artificial intelligence is employed, i.e., neural networks and deep convolutional neural networks.
It is important in ecological research to carry out long-term observations and measurements of organisms throughout their lifespan. A non-invasive, quick method ensures that it may be used many times and at each stage of plant development.