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322 East Front Street
Boise, ID, 83702
United States

208-373-4344

Providing the knowledge and technology required to improve the availability of native plant materials for restoring diverse native plant communities across the Great Basin.

2015 Climate Change & Seed Zones

Impacts of Climate Change and Exotic Species to Native Plant-Microbial Interactions
Kevin Grady, Paul Dijkstra, Catherine Gehring, Egbert Schwartz, and Hillary Cooper

We propose to investigate the importance of maintaining community interactions for restoration using a common garden provenance approach. This research will build upon current research in which we are investigating the effectiveness of adding live and commercial soil microbial inoculum during revegetation of Artemisia tridentata, Elymus elymoides, and Achnatherum hymenoides with and without competition by Bromus tectorum at three common gardens (Mountain Home, Idaho; west Salt Lake, Nevada; Fredonia, Arizona). Our group includes experts in plant and microbial genomics and the application of genomic approaches for restoration.

We will expand one of the three common gardens that we have developed to include a plant genetic by community interaction experiment to test the following hypotheses:

  • Genetic variation across the thermal range of A. tridentata and A. hymenoides is correlated to past climate such that plants are locally adapted.
  • Competition with exotic species reduces plant fitness and exacerbates maladaptation due to climate change.
  • Inoculation with locally adapted soil microbes will decrease the negative impacts of competition with exotic species.
  • Both intra- and inter-specific plant interactions are less competitive when plants are grown with sympatric neighbors (i.e. sourced from the same location) compared to allopatric neighbors (i.e. sourced from different locations), especially in the presence of exotic species.
  • Sympatric benefits are greatest when inoculated with soil microbes, together reducing negative impacts from maladaptation and exotic species.

Taken together, this study will increase our knowledge of both abiotic and biotic adaptations and the importance of both to restoration.