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Urban domestic gardens (VII): a preliminary survey of soil seed banks

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 February 2007

Ken Thompson*
Affiliation:
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK
Stephen Colsell
Affiliation:
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK
Jennifer Carpenter
Affiliation:
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK
Richard M. Smith
Affiliation:
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK
Philip H. Warren
Affiliation:
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK
Kevin J. Gaston
Affiliation:
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK
*
*Correspondence: Fax: +44 0114 2220015, Email: ken.thompson@sheffield.ac.uk

Abstract

As part of a larger survey of biodiversity in private gardens in Sheffield, UK, we examined the composition and diversity of the soil seed banks in each of 56 gardens. Six soil cores from each garden revealed 2759 seedlings of 119 taxa, although the real species richness is likely to be much higher than this. By far the most abundant species were weedy natives, while the most common alien was Buddleja davidii. Seeds of perennial herbs were more abundant than hundreds of all other life forms combined. More frequent species were also more abundant, but the relationship was weak. Numbers of species in the seed bank and in the garden flora were positively but very weakly related. Seeds were quite evenly distributed between 0–5 cm and 5–10 cm soil layers, and most seeds were of species known to have persistent seed banks. Seeds of some species were largely confined to gardens in which the plant was growing, but others were not.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2005

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