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dc.contributor.advisorArnold, Anne E.en
dc.contributor.authorLehr, Gavin Charles
dc.creatorLehr, Gavin Charlesen
dc.date.accessioned2018-02-21T20:26:42Z
dc.date.available2018-02-21T20:26:42Z
dc.date.issued2018
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10150/626728
dc.description.abstractGrasslands in the western United States face severe environmental threats including those brought about by climate change, such as changes in precipitation regimes and altered fire cycles; land-use conversion and development; and the introduction, establishment, and spread of non-native species. Lehmann’s lovegrass (Eragrostis lehmanniana) was introduced to the southwestern United States in the early 1900s. Since its introduction, it has become the dominant grass in the mid-elevation grasslands of southern Arizona, including the Santa Rita Experimental Range (SRER), where it has displaced native grasses including Arizona cottontop, three awns, and gramas. Like all plants in terrestrial ecosystems, this grass harbors fungal symbionts that can be important for its establishment and persistence. This thesis focuses on fungal symbionts of Lehmann’s lovegrass and has two components. First, the diversity and distributions of endophytes in Lehmann’s lovegrass are evaluated in the context of biotic and abiotic factors in the SRER. Culturing from roots and shoots of Lehmann’s lovegrass at points beneath and outside the canopy of native mesquites, which are encroaching on grasslands over time, provides insight into how a single plant species can exhibit local variation in the composition of its symbionts. Second, the thesis is used as the basis for engagement of students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through the development and implementation of classroom- and field activities centered on endophytes, which help high school students address core learning aims while also gaining real research experience. Engaging students in important questions relevant to their local environment can catalyze interest in science and help students cross the threshold into research. The contributions of such approaches with respect to learning not only fulfills key next-generation science standards and common core objectives, but provides students with a meaningful introduction to the excitement, importance, and accessibility of science.
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en
dc.subjectAscomycotaen
dc.subjectdiversityen
dc.subjectendophytic fungien
dc.subjectEragrostis lehmannianaen
dc.subjectgrasslanden
dc.subjectinvasive speciesen
dc.titleSymbiosis in the Context of an Invasive, Non-Native Grass: Fungal Biodiversity and Student Engagementen_US
dc.typetexten
dc.typeElectronic Thesisen
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen
thesis.degree.levelmastersen
dc.contributor.committeememberArnold, Anne E.en
dc.contributor.committeememberU'Ren, Jana M.en
dc.contributor.committeememberRosenzweig, Michael L.en
dc.contributor.committeememberElfring, Lisa K.en
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen
thesis.degree.disciplineNatural Science for Teachersen
thesis.degree.nameM.S.en
refterms.dateFOA2018-05-21T23:05:33Z
html.description.abstractGrasslands in the western United States face severe environmental threats including those brought about by climate change, such as changes in precipitation regimes and altered fire cycles; land-use conversion and development; and the introduction, establishment, and spread of non-native species. Lehmann’s lovegrass (Eragrostis lehmanniana) was introduced to the southwestern United States in the early 1900s. Since its introduction, it has become the dominant grass in the mid-elevation grasslands of southern Arizona, including the Santa Rita Experimental Range (SRER), where it has displaced native grasses including Arizona cottontop, three awns, and gramas. Like all plants in terrestrial ecosystems, this grass harbors fungal symbionts that can be important for its establishment and persistence. This thesis focuses on fungal symbionts of Lehmann’s lovegrass and has two components. First, the diversity and distributions of endophytes in Lehmann’s lovegrass are evaluated in the context of biotic and abiotic factors in the SRER. Culturing from roots and shoots of Lehmann’s lovegrass at points beneath and outside the canopy of native mesquites, which are encroaching on grasslands over time, provides insight into how a single plant species can exhibit local variation in the composition of its symbionts. Second, the thesis is used as the basis for engagement of students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through the development and implementation of classroom- and field activities centered on endophytes, which help high school students address core learning aims while also gaining real research experience. Engaging students in important questions relevant to their local environment can catalyze interest in science and help students cross the threshold into research. The contributions of such approaches with respect to learning not only fulfills key next-generation science standards and common core objectives, but provides students with a meaningful introduction to the excitement, importance, and accessibility of science.


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