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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Invasive Species and Pollinator Health » Research » Research Project #444400

Research Project: Plant-Soil Feedbacks Driving Cheatgrass Invasion

Location: Invasive Species and Pollinator Health

Project Number: 2030-22300-032-033-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2023
End Date: May 30, 2025

To develop collaborative research efforts to determine the role of long-term establishment of an invasive weed (cheatgrass) on plant-soil feedbacks under predicted climate change. Using greenhouse experiment with both native grasses and cheatgrass, we will measure plant physiology, root exudate production, and the taxonomic and functional responses of the rhizosphere microbiome over a time series. This research will guide future experiments to disentangle the interactions of soil microbes, plant inputs and precipitation patterns in driving the success of a widespread invasive grass, and will provide foundational knowledge for improved methods to identify native microbial biocontrol agents of cheatgrass.

The USDA Invasive Species and Pollinator Health Research Unit will conduct research with collaborators at Northern Arizona University, Department of Biology, on a project to determine how long-term plant invasion alters plant-soil feedbacks in native and invasive grasses under altered precipitation regimes. We will use previously established methods to characterize plant response (physiology, biomass allocation), root exudate production and microbiome taxonomic and functional responses to treatments using targeted sequencing of phylogenetic genes and metatranscriptomics, respectively.