Location: Forage and Range Research2011 Annual Report
1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this cooperative research project is to develop novel warm-season grass germplasm and associated management technologies for use in irrigated and non-irrigated growing environments.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Collaborative experiments will be designed and implemented either in the laboratory or the field depending upon the objective. Laboratory experiments will be conducted jointly in Logan, Utah, and the Institute of Botany, Jiangsu Province, China (IBJ) where research concerning the evaluation of germplasm for abiotic streess environments is being conducted. Where experiments involve the development of molecular technologies for the identification of unique grass genotypes, work will be performed in Logan, Utah, and by the IBJ. Germplasm evaluation of Chinese and U.S. grass accessions (cultivars and lines) will be conducted in the Great Basin Region of Utah and in Jiangsu Province, China, under irrigated and non-irrigated growing conditions as deemed appropriate. This research will attempt to: 1) develop plant materials with improved turf grass characteristics; 2) develop plant materials adapted to wet and dry temperate regions under reduced management inputs (e.g., irrigation and fertilizer); 3) develop improved breeding procedures; 4) develop new genomic resources for use in evaluation and breeding, and 5) elucidate the role of endophytes in abiotic stress (e.g., drought, salinity, and heat) environments.
3. Progress Report
The main objective of this project will be to: 1) evaluate the performance of cool-season grasses under abiotic stress conditions; 2) develop breeding methodologies for improved agronomic performance of turf grass species; 3) develop plant materials adapted to dry temperate regions and require reduced management inputs (e.g., irrigation and fertilizer); 4) develop new genomic resources for use in evaluation and breeding; and 5) elucidate the role of endophytes in abiotic stress (e.g., drought, salinity, and heat) environments. Scientists at the USDA, ARS Forage and Range Research Laboratory (FRRL) and Utah State University (USU), Logan UT, and Chinese institutions created formal relationships in 2009 to encourage scientific exchange and cooperation in the areas of genetics and ecologically-based management practices related to rangeland, turf, and pasture species (grasses and more recently forbs and legumes). This trip resulted in the creation of the Sino/US Grass Research Alliance (SUSGRA; 9 university, private and government institutions), which is supported by the China Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and ARS. Members of the SUSGRA planned and convened an international symposium and held a second alliance meeting under the ARS-MOST Protocol in 2010 to further improve scientific associations between Chinese institutions, the FRRL, USU, and the China MOST. The 2010 International Symposium on Forage, Turfgrass and Biofuel Germplasm Research and the second SUSGRA meeting were held at the Northwest A & F University in Yangling, China. Ten USDA-ARS scientists and three USU scientists participated in the symposium (9-13 October 2010), which had 188 attendees. Participants exchanged scientific and technical information in five separate sessions related to the collection, curation, and enhancement of germplasm for forage, turfgrass, and biofuels in both oral and poster presentations. It was determined that a second symposium will be held in the U.S. during 2012 at the VII International Molecular Biofuels, Forage, and Turf Conference to be held in Salt Lake City, UT. SUSGRA members, USU, and ARS scientists identified key research objectives that were later formalized in USDA Specific Cooperative Agreements (SCAs) with each Alliance member institution and the FRRL. These agreements allowed for the transport and planting of FRRL germplasm in replicated trials at six locations across northern China (on of which was in Harbin with two plantings), which is the beginning of extensive experimentation in genetics and physiology. Monitoring Methods: • Email correspondence for the planning and execution of a US/Sino Grass Alliance meeting was successfully completed. • In-country telephone conversations were made to finalize arrangements of attendees and coordinate their presentation of reports.