Grass varieties developed for sustainable range, pasture, and turf management in the Western U.S. are needed. To achieve this goal, varieties must have high levels of abiotic stress resistance. Research objectives focus on the development of varieties with high drought and salinity tolerance with high agronomic performance.
The application of population and molecular genetics tools are used to develop improved cultivars of forage and turf grass species for the semi-arid regions of the Western U.S. Additionally, improved understanding of genetic underlying complex traits are determined allowing more efficient and effective solutions. Specific project objectives include the following:
- Improved agronomic performance and abiotic stress tolerance in orchard grass through the development of a feasible and efficient hybrid breeding program.
- Development and release of Kentucky bluegrass germplasm wit increased drought and salinity tolerance. These germplasms will provide high quality turfgrass options for reduced-input turf situations, including home lawns, parks, golf course roughs, etc.
- Development and release of native wheatgrass cultivars, with increased seedling vigor, establishment, seed production, and persistence. These cultivars will provide less expensive, yet effective, seed sources for rangeland re-vegetation and rehabilitation projects in the Western U.S.
- Increased understanding of genetics underlying key agronomic and ecological traits through their targeted dissection using population and molecular genetic expertise.