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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Develop Improved Plant Genetic Resources to Enhance Pasture and Rangeland Productivity in the Semiarid Regions of the Western U.S.

Location: Forage and Range Research

Title: Using common gardens and AFLP analyses to identify metapopulations of indigenous plant materials for rangeland revegetation in western USA

Authors
item Johnson, Douglas
item Bushman, Shaun
item Jones, Thomas
item Bhattarai, Kishor -

Submitted to: International Grasslands Congress
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 24, 2013
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Citation: Johnson, D.A., Bushman, B.S., Jones, T.A., Bhattarai, K. 2013. Using common gardens and AFLP analyses to identify metapopulations of indigenous plant materials for rangeland revegetation in western USA. International Grasslands Congress. p. 371-372. In: D.L. Michalk, G.D. Millar, W.B. Badgery, and K.M. Broadfoot (eds.). Revitalzing Grasslands to Sustain Our Communities. New South Wales Department of Primary Industry, Orange, Australia.

Interpretive Summary: Semiarid rangelands in the western U.S. are facing unprecedented challenges related to past mismanagement, invasive weedy species, wildfires, and climatic change. A diversity of plant species are needed to revegetate these rangelands. North American legumes are of particular interest for revegetation because they provide biologically fixed nitrogen, increase plant production, enhance forage quality, and provide food sources for grazing animals and pollinators. We conducted research with three North American legumes that grow naturally in the Great Basin Region of the western U.S., including basalt milkvetch, western prairie clover, and Searls' prairie clover. Seeds were collected at individual sites throughout the areas where these legumes are found. Seedlings of each species were grown in a greenhouse and transplanted to two sites in northern Utah. Plant growth characteristics were evaluated at the two sites. In the laboratory, DNA-fingerprinting methods were used to determine differences in genetic diversity among the collections. Results from these studies allowed us to group closely related collections that can be released to the commercial seed industry for eventual use in rangeland revegetation.

Technical Abstract: Semiarid rangelands in the western USA are facing unprecedented challenges related to past mismanagement, invasive weedy species, wildfires, and climatic change. A diversity of plant species are needed to effectively revegetate these rangelands. Legumes indigenous to western North America are of particular interest for revegetation because they provide biologically fixed nitrogen, increase plant production, enhance forage quality, and provide food sources for grazing animals and pollinators. We conducted research with three legume species native to rangelands in the Great Basin Region of the western USA, including Astragalus filipes Torr. ex A. Gray (basalt milkvetch), Dalea ornata (Douglas) Eaton & Wright (western prairie clover), and D. searlsiae (A. Gray) Barneby (Searls' prairie clover). We used common-garden studies and DNA-based analysis of genetic variation to assess genetic diversity in these three species. These studies identified metapopulations that form the basis for developing plant materials for commercial seed production and subsequent use in rangeland revegetation.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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