Variation in plant life-history and functional traits at between- and within-species levels has key ecological consequences, in which environmental settings impose strong selective pressures and play a vital role throughout life cycles. Our general notion for plant life-history strategies may be that, relative to tall, long-lived plants, short-lived species have features of small stature, small-seededness, rapid growth, and low seedling survival (k- versus r-selection). Rate of evolution may be an important agent of selection and annals evolve more rapidly than perennial congeners. These empirical observations prompt a suite of enticing questions, such as how do life-history traits interplay with functional trait at late stages of regeneration? what are the primary trade-offs in a cohort of key life-history traits that may have undergone stabilizing selection? and how do environmental filters differently affect adaptive trait variation in annuals and perennials? In this chapter, we intend to address aforementioned questions via assembling our updated knowledge with emphasis on seed mass and temporal and spatial dimensions of seed dispersal. Through such synthesis, we wish to raise awareness about life-history trade-offs and provide a holistic understanding of the extent to which climate change is likely to impact plant adaptation and eco-evolutionary trajectories of life-history phenotypes.
Part of the book: Seed Biology