Browsing Journal of Range Management, Volume 56, Number 5 (September 2003) by Subjects
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Characterization of diversity among 3 squirreltail taxaSquirreltail (Elymus elymoides, E. multisetus) is a complex of 5 taxa whose systematic interrelationships are uncertain. Our objectives were to determine whether the 3 taxa studied here, Elymus elymoides ssp. elymoides, E. elymoides ssp. brevifolius, and E. multisetus, can be distinguished by several ecological and physiological traits and whether geographical origin is correlated with these traits across accessions within taxa. A multivariate principal component analysis of materials collected in the 10 contiguous western states successfully distinguished taxa, but no pair of the 3 taxa appeared to be more ecologically similar than any other pair. Elymus elymoides ssp. elymoides, which prevails in the semi-arid cold desert, was shortest and exhibited the lowest total plant dry-matter, earliest phenology, and lowest seed mass. Elymus elymoides ssp. brevifolius, which prevails in the Rocky Mountains, exhibited slowest emergence, highest specific root length, lowest nitrate reductase activity, and lowest root-to-shoot ratio. Elymus multisetus, which is most common in areas with relatively warm springs, exhibited fastest emergence (particularly from deep seeding), greatest root length, and greatest root-to-shoot ratio. Elymus elymoides ssp. brevifolius accessions clustered into 3 groups: late-maturing high-seed mass accessions originating in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona (Group A), early-maturing low-seed mass accessions originating in Colorado and Utah (Group B), and intermediate-maturing low-seed mass accessions originating in the Snake River Plain of southern Idaho (Group C). The ecologically distinct subspecies and groups within ssp. brevifolius are indicative of the highly ecotypic nature of the squirreltails, suggesting that restoration practitioners should match site with genetically and ecologically appropriate plant material for these species.
Seed germination of willow species from a desert riparian ecosystemThe restoration of riverine riparian areas following mechanical, herbicidal, or biological control of the invasive species tamarisk (Tamarix ramosissima Ledeb.) is a major issue in the western United States. Recruitment of seedlings of native woody species is necessary in these restoration efforts. Species of willow (Salix) are often considered essential in these efforts. We studied the germination of seeds of tree willow (Salix lutea Nutt.) and coyote willow (S. exigua Nutt.) at a wide range of constant or alternating incubation temperatures. Seeds were collected from native stands in the delta of the Walker River in western Nevada over a 3 year period. Seed germination was very similar for both species. On 2 of the 3 years of testing the seeds had 100% germination at some incubation temperatures and some germination over almost all of the 55 temperature regimes used in the experiments. A late frost in May of 2000 markedly reduced total germination of both species, but did not greatly restrict the temperature regimes where some germination occurred. Optimum germination, defined as that not lower than the maximum observed minus one half the confidence interval at the 0.01 level of probability, occurred over a very wide range of temperatures, but for tree willow only the temperature regimes 15/25 (15 degrees C for 12 hours and 25 degrees C for 8 hours in each 24 hour period) and 15/30 degrees C always supported optimum germination. No temperature regime always supported optimum germination of coyote willow seeds, but the most frequent optima tended to be at lower temperatures than for tree willow. Because of the similarity in germination responses and overlapping phenology, seeds of these 2 species probably compete for germination safesites.