• A proposed method for determining shrub utilization using (LA/LS) imagery

      Quilter, M. C.; Anderson, V. J. (Society for Range Management, 2001-07-01)
      Utilization of plant above ground biomass has continued to be a critical yet difficult assessment in rangeland monitoring. Shrub size and woody structure further compound the measurement of shrub biomass utilization. This study was designed to determine the potential utility of low altitude/large scale (LA/LS) imagery in assessing shrub utilization. A near monoculture of Ceriotoides lanata (Pursh) J.T. Howell (winterfat) located in the western desert shrubland of Utah was used to evaluate this technique. Four, 3.1 by 3.1 m plots were identified and the shrubs within the plots were defoliated by hand-picking at about 10% intervals with imagery of the plots obtained between pickings. Imagery was obtained using a radio controlled airplane (drone) fitted with a 35 mm camera. Images were evaluated using image processing software and the resulting reflectance data correlated with defoliation percentages (weight basis) for each plot. Reflectance data from images correlated highly with defoliation percentages (r2 > 0.9). This technique of using LA/LS imagery shows promise for a quick and accurate tool in assessing utilization of shrubs.
    • Endophytic fungi in Canada wild rye in natural grasslands

      Vinton, M. A.; Kathol, E. S.; Vogel, K. P.; Hopkins, A. A. (Society for Range Management, 2001-07-01)
      Some grasses harbor endophytic fungi living in intercellular spaces in the leaves, stems and reproductive organs. The fungi can dramatically affect the physiology and ecology of plants. For example, fungi may produce toxins that deter herbivores and they may alter the water status of the plant to increase drought tolerance. The distribution of fungal infection in natural plant populations is unknown for many host species. We investigated the occurrence of endophytic fungi in Elymus canadensis L. (Canada wild rye) from 13 remnant prairie sites in the midwest and 23 sites in the southern Great Plains. Collections of plant tissue came from Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Texas. All midwest plants were grown in a common garden site in eastern Nebraska. Seeds collected from Oklahoma and Texas accessions were planted in the greenhouse. At least 3 tillers from 2 plants of each accession were screened for endophytes, using light microscopy. The endophytic fungus was found in seed of all accessions and in plants from all but 4 accessions. The functional significance of the fungus is unclear, but it may affect plants by enhancing productivity or deterring herbivores. The widespread occurrence of endophytic fungi in natural populations of E. canadensis suggests that the plant-fungal association may be long-standing and important in the evolution and success of this native prairie species.