Undergraduate Student Work


The poster was presented at the 2019 SER [Society for Ecological Restoration] Midwest-Great Lakes Chapter Meeting at Central College in Pella, Iowa on April 12-14, 2019.


Open Access Undergraduate Student Work

Type of Work

Poster Presentation


This study explores the germination rates of Carex spp. seed that has been in storage for five to ten years. The genus Carex is a group of ecologically important grass-like species that constitute up to 25% of the aboveground biomass in tallgrass prairies. In the early 2000s, seed production plots of 18 Carex species were established from remnant prairie seed at the Tallgrass Prairie Center in Cedar Falls, IA. Seed harvested from the Carex plots from 2009 to 2014 was made available for release to the native seed industry for commercial production, with the remainder stored in an onsite seed bank at 4°C and 45% humidity. As the seed harvested from these original plots ages in storage, it is likely that viability will decrease. The rate of decline in seed viability of many Carex species in dry storage is not well known, and is important for determining when seed lots need to be regenerated. Species under examination are C. annectens, C. bebbii, C. brevior, C. cristatella, C. molesta, C. stricta, C. tribuloides, and C. vulpinoidea. After removal from storage, seeds were placed in cold-moist stratification for 28 days. Four replicates of 100 seeds from each species were arranged on moistened blotter paper in germination boxes. They were then placed in a growth chamber set to 30/15°C corresponding to a light regime of 12 hours light/12 hours dark. The cumulative count of germinated normal seedlings was used as an indicator for the viability of the seed. By determining the viability of seeds in storage, we can better inform the stewardship of foundation seed banks and improve the availability of genetically diverse and regionally adapted Carex seed for restorations.

Date of Work



Tallgrass Prairie Center

First Advisor

Laura Walter

Second Advisor

Laura Jackson


UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa


©2019 Kate Sinnott



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