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•  Design of experiments to test hypotheses about factors affecting germination

Germination is the process by which a seed emerges from a period of dormancy and begins to sprout

For germination to occur, a seed requires a combination of:

  • Oxygen – for aerobic respiration (the seed requires large amounts of ATP in order to develop)
  • Water – to metabolically activate the seed (triggers the synthesis of gibberellin)
  • Temperature – seeds require certain temperature conditions in order to sprout (for optimal function of enzymes)
  • pH – seeds require a suitable soil pH in order to sprout (for optimal function of enzymes)

Additionally, certain plant species may require additional conditions for germination:

  • Fire – some seeds will only sprout after exposure to intense heat (e.g. after bushfires remove established flora)
  • Freezing – some seeds will only sprout after periods of intense cold (e.g. in spring, following the winter snows)
  • Digestion – some seeds require prior animal digestion to erode the seed coat before the seed will sprout
  • Washing – some seeds may be covered with inhibitors and will only sprout after being washed to remove the inhibitors
  • Scarification – seeds are more likely to germinate if the seed coat is weakened from physical damage

Experiments can be developed using any of these factors as an independent variable

  • Germination can be measured by the rate of seed growth over a set period of time

Factors Affecting Germination

germination factors