The semi-arid West is characterized by low water, cold winters, and hot summers. The stresses these conditions cause to plants have limited the survival and production of species. Our research group is using genetic and genomic approaches to identify genetic mechanisms within rangeland plants that respond to, and tolerate these stresses.
My research goals fit under the broad category of improved establishment and survival of rangeland, pasture, and turf plants.
- Through DNA markers and common garden experiments we are characterizing population structures, population diversity, and agronomic potential of promising Dalea ornata, D. searlseae, and Astragalus filipeswildland collections.
- By developing EST libraries, DNA markers, and constructing mapping populations for perennial Triticeae grasses, we are dissecting the complex traits of interest for rangeland establishment and survival into selectable biomarkers.
- Identifying genetic mechanisms for winter-hardiness and other traits in orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata). Orchardgrass is a commonly grown pasture grass in the intermountain region, yet is susceptible to hard winters or dry summers. We are generating EST libraries, genetic association mapping populations, and trait evaluation field-plots to help overcome these issues.
- Finding Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis)germplasm with more tolerance to saline conditions, and identifying genes responsive to salt in those tolerant germplasms.