Natural resources such as water will become much more limiting in semi-arid regions of the world. The FRRL is developing drought and heat resistant fine-leafed grasses for such growing environments. More specifically, the low maintenance turfgrass and legumes being developed for the Great Basin range are important components for sustainable agriculture. These plant materials will be used to decrease water use in urban and rangeland environments.
Our laboratory is developing low maintenance turfgrass and legumes for use in commercial agriculture and private gardens. The identification of low maintenance turfgrass genotypes in combination with appropriate endophytes has potential to decrease water use and resist pests in dry temperate environments. The focus is on developing such plant materials for home garden, golf course, roadside maintenance, and as fire resistant breaks around public and private dwellings. Likewise, native legumes are being collected domestically (Great Basin region) and internationally and identified for potential use as native and genetically enhanced plant materials in rangeland settings and as ornamentals in commercial and private landscapes. Molecular marker technologies are being applied to assess genetic diversity, determine best parental germplasm for breeding, and locating economically important genes. We are using both classical and biotechnological methodologies to accomplish our objectives which are to develop improved plant materials of use in sustainable agriculture.