The soil seed bank refers to a reservoir of viable seeds present on the soil surface or buried in the soil. It has the potential to augment or replace adult plants. Such reservoirs have regular inputs and outputs. Outputs are losses of seeds by germination, predation or other causes, while inputs include dispersal of fresh seeds from local sources and immigration from distant sources (Harper 1977). Since sand dunes are dynamic because of erosion, re-arrangement or burial by wind and wave action, efforts to find seed banks have largely been unsuccessful. Following dispersal, seeds accumulate in depressions, in the lee of plants, on sand surfaces, on the base of lee slopes and on the driftline. These seeds are often buried by varying amounts of sand. Buried seeds may subsequently be re-exposed or possibly lost over time. However, the existence of a seed bank can not be denied. Plant species may maintain a transient or a persistent seed bank depending on the longevity of seeds. In species with transient seed banks, all seeds germinate or are lost to other agencies and none is carried over to more than one year. In contrast, in species with a persistent seed bank at least some seeds live for more than one year. The four types of seed banks described by Thompson and Grime (1979) provide useful categories for discussion of coastal seed bank dynamics of different species. Type I species possess a transient seed bank after the maturation and dispersal of their seeds in spring that remain in the seed bank during summer until they germinate in autumn. Type II species possess a transient seed bank during winter but all seeds germinate and colonize vegetation gaps in early spring. Seeds of both types are often but not always dormant and dormancy is usually broken by high temperatures in type I and low temperature in type II. Type III species are annual and perennial herbs in which a certain proportion of seeds enters the persistent seed bank each year, while the remainder germinate soon after dispersal, and Type IV species are annual and perennial herbs and shrubs in which most seeds enter the persistent seed bank and very few germinate after dispersal.
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