• Statistical analyses of fluorometry data from chloroform filtrate of lamb feces

      Mukherjee, A.; Anderson, D. M.; Daniel, D. L.; Murray, L. W.; Tisone, G.; Fredrickson, E. L.; Estell, R. E.; Rayson, G. D.; Havstad, K. M. (Society for Range Management, 2001-07-01)
      Accurately identifying the botanical composition of free-ranging animal diets remains a challenge. Currently accepted procedures are time consuming, many requiring painstaking sample preparation while none produce data useful for real-time management. Automated procedures focusing on detection of chemical and/or physical plant properties using specific molecules called fluorophores offers possibilities for determining the species composition of herbivore diets. This study was designed to evaluate fluorometry techniques in herbivore diet determinations using fecal samples obtained from 13 lambs fed a basal diet of tobosa hay (Pleuraphis mutica Buckley), and containing 4 different levels (0, 10, 20, and 30%) of tarbush (Flourensia cernua D C.) leaf material. Chloroform (CHCl3) filtrate obtained from the lamb's feces was exposed to UV light from a xenon arc lamp. This caused fluorophore molecules in the filtrate to have their outer shell electrons move to a higher energy state as a result of UV light excitation. After excitation by UV light at 310, 320, 330, 340, 350, and 355 nm, the fluorophores returned to their ground state giving off light (fluorescence). This fluorescence intensity (counts) varied and when captured using appropriate electronics, produced 1,024 pairs of light intensities (counts) and fluorescent wavelengths between 175 and 818 nm in 0.63 nm increments. Previous research indicated differences among diets could be determined using distinct peaks in the red and blue regions of the visible light spectrum and a univariate (1 variable at a time) analysis. This research demonstrates the entire fluorescence data set can be used to determine differences among diets using multivariate statistics. Sequences of 5 increasingly complex statistical techniques were used to distinguish among diets: 2-dimensional plots, polynomial regression models, confidence interval plots, discriminant analysis, and 3-dimensional plots. Two-dimensional plots indicated 2 spectral fluorescence peaks, 1 in the blue-green (420-600 nm) and 1 in the red (640-720 nm) region of the visible spectrum. Because of the asymmetrical nature of these peaks, fifth-order polynomials were developed to differentiate among the 4 diets. Statistical reliability was high when discriminating between diets containing no tarbush leaf and the diets containing 30% tarbush leaf; however, it was not possible to statistically separate diets containing intermediate (10 and 20%) amounts of tarbush leaf material from each other or from the 2 extremes (0 and 30% tarbush leaf). These results suggest spectral signatures arising from fluorometry data may be useful for differentiating among botanical composition diets that differ in plant form, but that a multivariate approach may require large sample sizes.
    • Structural anti-quality characteristics of range and pasture plants

      Laca, E. A.; Shipley, L. A.; Reid, E. D. (Society for Range Management, 2001-07-01)
      Structural anti-quality characteristics are physical plant traits that reduce the performance and productivity of herbivores and quality of their agricultural products. Most structural anti-quality characteristics of plants affect the rate at which herbivores gather and ingest forages, reducing the total amount of food obtained or increasing the time necessary to obtain food. Structural anti-quality can substantially influence searching time (e.g., plant crypticity, distribution), cropping time (e.g., plant fibrousness, tensile and shear strength), and bite size (e.g., plant canopy structure, spinescence). Plant structural characteristics can also reduce digestion (e.g., silica), cause injury (e.g., spines, awns, burrs, calluses), or reduce the quality of animal products, such as wool (e.g., propagules). The effects of structural antiquality characteristics depend on the morphology of the herbivore, especially its size, the morphology of the focal plant, and their context within the habitat. Integrated grazing management plans should consider options to reduce the negative effects of structural anti-quality. Carefully selecting appropriate livestock species with previous experience, and the appropriate season of grazing can minimize anti-quality on rangelands. Because structural anti-quality may actually promote sustainability of grazing systems by preventing severe defoliation, or by providing refuges for highly desirable forages, it may not be desirable to completely counteract their effects.
    • Upland erosion under a simulated most damaging storm

      Linse, S. J.; Mergen, D. E.; Smith, J. L.; Trlica, M. J. (Society for Range Management, 2001-07-01)
      A 2 year study was conducted to determine the effects of surface cover and roughness on sediment yield from plots subjected to a simulated most damaging storm. This storm, based on long term sediment records from 3 Wyoming streams, produced approximately 18 mm of precipitation in 15 min with an intensity of 97 mm hour(-1). The rainfall simulator covered 2 plots; each 0.6 by 2 m. Plots were on 9% slopes with highly erosive soils (silt and fine sand texture) on native rangeland in 3 areas of Wyoming. Cover and surface roughness were measured with a point frame. Sediment production typically peaked approximately 120 sec after runoff started and reached steady state within 6 min. Plots with no cover (tilled) seldom produced runoff due to high infiltration and the short duration rainfall. Sediment yield was moderately correlated with total cover for total cover less than 30%, and sediment yield decreased to 0.1 tonnes ha(-1) (assumed allowable soil loss) or less for greater than 30% cover. There was a weak correlation between surface roughness and sediment yield, and surface roughness was slightly correlated with total cover. These results suggested that maintaining at least 30% total cover could control sediment yields from short duration-intense storms. Experimental results also indicated considerably higher sediment yields than those predicted by the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation or a modified version of that equation.