Seed germination is a key stage in a plant’s life. Information on seed germination responses to abiotic cues is still underrepresented in many plant lineages, biogeographic regions and habitats, despite its high relevance for basic and applied plant science. When available, much information is scattered and disaggregated into a multitude of sources. The current research community widely acknowledges the need for a large-scale open-science infrastructure to archive and share seed data supporting macro eco-evolutionary analyses.

To close this gap and further stimulate seed research, we are creating a Global Archive of Primary Seed Germination Data (SeedArc) by mobilizing seed germination data from as many studies as possible. Similar projects in vegetation ecology (EVA, sPlot) and trait research (TRY) led to a surge of international, collaborative projects in plant science, which, we believe, could be replicated in seed ecology if an international seed germination database is achieved.

SeedArc is intended to be a step towards a global database of seed functional traits, itself integrated into general plant trait databases. It is not intended to be the final word, nor to achieve complete geographic or taxonomic coverage in a short period of time. In the first round of data mobilization, we will focus, preferably, on primary germination data from laboratory experiments conducted with wild populations of non-cultivated seed plants. The door is nonetheless open to include records of cultivated seed plants and non-seed plant spore germination if such data is available.

SeedArc will be used to explore macroevolutionary and ecological drivers of seed germination requirements in space and time. It will do so by capturing and modelling optimal species germination conditions, but also intra-specific variability, which has been regarded as a key component to measure phenotypic variability in an evolutionary context.

SeedArc will be a unique repository for collecting and archiving experimental data on seed germination, which is generally hidden or even lost after reporting or publishing. The ultimate result will be an easily accessible, interactive database on seed germination across a wide range of biomes and habitats.