Regeneration by seed is a critical process in the life of plants, and germination traits determine the environments that a species can inhabit. Fernández-Pascual et al. study the germination of thirty species from the western European coastline.
They observe that cliff species germinate at low temperatures to prevent emergence during summer drought, while beach plants wait for warm temperatures and hence avoid winter gales. Shifting dune plants, which live in the harshest environment, need more specific germination cues than fixed dune plants. These results highlight the importance of germination traits to inform plant community assembly in coastal environments.