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Monday, June 3 • 11:30am - 11:55am
Comparative Morphology of Competing Clonal Non-native Grass with Co-occurring Native Clonal Grass LIMITED

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Perennial grasslands often demonstrate very remarkable resilience to severe natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Such resilience prominently depends on successful clonal tiller recruitment and establishment from belowground vegetative propagules. In northern Great Plains, non-native perennial Bromus inermis (smooth brome) has been rapidly invading many native prairie remnants, replacing native perennial species Pascopyrum smithii (western wheatgrass), reducing biodiversity, and quality of habitats and ecosystem services.  A greenhouse experiment consisted of five treatments including single B. smithii, single P. smithii, pairwise mono of B. inermis, pairwise mono of P. smithii, and pairwise mixed of B. inermis and P. smithii with 30 replicates for each treatment was conducted to examine their performance in belowground bud production, bud outgrowth, tiller and rhizome recruitment, biomass, and growth strategy under intra- and interspecific competition.  Double-leaf stage seedlings of each species were transplanted into individual potting-soil filled pots based on designated treatments. Plants were harvested 12 weeks after the treatments had been initiated.  We found B. inermis outperformed when it competed with P. smithii than with itself in bud production, outgrowth, tiller recruitment and biomass.  Both species demonstrated the plasticity by altering growth strategy based upon whom they competed with. From intraspecific competition to interspecific competition, B. inermis changed from predominant phalanx to co-dominant phalanx and guerilla growth, while for P. smithii, switched from co-dominant phalanx and guerilla to phalanx predominant growth. The results suggest B. inermis has a competitive advantage to suppress P. smithii under interspecific competition could contribute to investment in aggressive foraging growth strategy. 


Lan Xu

University of South Dakota

Monday June 3, 2019 11:30am - 11:55am CDT
Room 1218