Spotted knapweed seed viability after passing through sheep and mule deer
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CitationWallander, R. T., Olson, B. E., & Lacey, J. R. (1995). Spotted knapweed seed viability after passing through sheep and mule deer. Journal of Range Management, 48(2), 145-149.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractSpotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa Lam.), an introduced perennial plant, has invaded large areas of rangeland in the northwestern United States. Grazing animals may disseminate the weed by transporting seeds in their digestive system and depositing them in their feces. In this study percent viability and emergence of spotted knapweed seeds that passed through mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus hemionus) and sheep (Ovis aries) were determined. Percent viability included seeds that germinated and seeds that tested positive with tetrazolium. In the first trial, we pulse dosed 3 mule deer and 4 ewes with 5,000 spotted knapweed seeds each. Seed recovered from manure collected daily for 10 (days after dosing was tested for percent viability. We recovered 11% of the knapweed seeds from the 3 mule deer, and 4% from the sheep. Based on high variability in (0 to 26%) percent viability of recovered seed, we thought that our drying the manure at a 50 degrees C may have killed some of the spotted knapweed embryos. To determine if drying at 50 degrees C affected viability, we pulse dosed 41 rams with 5,000 spotted knapweed seeds each in a second trial. One subsample of manure was washed the same day to recover seeds and then dried at 35 degrees C, a second subsample was dried at d 50 degrees C, washed, and then dried at 35 degrees C. We recovered 17% of the spotted knapweed seeds from the 4 rams. No viable seeds were recovered from manure heated at 50 degrees C, and no viable seeds were recovered more than 2 days after dosing. Percent viability of seeds recovered from manure dried at 35 degrees C ranged from 0 to 22%. In both trials, percent viability of recovered seeds was lower compared with seeds that did not pass through animals. Sheep and mule deer can ingest, transport, and disseminate viable seeds of spotted knapweed in their feces.