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Theor Popul Biol. 1985 Aug;28(1):50-79.

ESS germination strategies in randomly varying environments. I. Logistic-type models.


ESS germination strategies are studied in a model of annual plant population dynamics in a randomly varying environment. The possible strategies are different values of the annual germination fraction G, either constant over time or varying in response to a "cue" correlated with upcoming environmental conditions. The model generalizes D. Cohen's model (1966, J. Theor. Biol. 12, 119-129; 1968, J. Ecol. 56, 219-228) by allowing density-dependent per capita seed yields. ESSs are characterized in terms of the resulting harmonic mean growth rate of population density. The ESS criterion cannot be solved analytically, but qualitative relationships between the value of the ESS and other population parameters are obtained, and environments in which 100% germination is an ESS are identified. Some explicit predictions of the theory are summarized and compared with ideas of M. Westoby (1981, Amer. Nat. 118, 882-885). The results of this study are compared with those of Cohen (op. cit.) in a companion paper.

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