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322 East Front Street
Boise, ID, 83702
United States


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

Relations of Climate Adaptation and Seed Zones in Native Perennials Needed for Restoration of Sage Grouse Habitat
Matt Germino

This research will quantify trait variation of native plants that are focal species for selection, increase, and development of seed zones in the Great Basin Native Plant Program.  Since 2011, USGS (PI and postdoc, Brynne Lazarus) have developed or customized the theory, high-throughput instrumentation, and interpretive context for a suite of ecophysiological traits that can provide unambiguous insight on how trait variation relates to climate in common gardens.  Our analyses focus on identifying threshold physiological responses to temperature and water status that relate directly to site microclimate or weather station data, and to seed zones.

We have developed this capacity in support of the GBNPSI’s efforts on big sagebrush (Artemesia tridentata), and here we propose to apply it to new common gardens of 1) bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoregnaria spicata), with F. Kilkenny, 2) low sagebrushes (Artemisia nova and we are encouraging Artemisia arbuscula), proposed for 2015 by B Richardson, and 3) wildrye (Leymus cinereus) with S. Jensen (preliminary screening).  Our ecophysiological assessment rubric planned for these species has been improved and refined beyond our original analyses done on big sagebrush, and we will also perform some follow-up analyses on big sagebrush so that a uniform set of measurements across species is available.  These species are all widespread, and have historically had mixed success in post-fire seedings.

The current proposal is part of our longer-term objectives to:

  • Provide quantitative and standardized analyses of climate adaptation, cost-effectively, for the increasing number and size of native plant common gardens being established by NPP PI’s throughout the Great Basin
  • Use the standardized analyses to enable comparisons of climate adaptation among species, in relationship to seed zones, ultimately contributing a “GBNPP community data set of ecophysiological variation in common gardens of native perennials”