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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Washington, D.C. » National Arboretum » Floral and Nursery Plants Research » Research » Research Project #445766

Research Project: Improving Sustainability of Turfgrass Systems through Germplasm Development

Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research

Project Number: 8020-21500-002-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Feb 8, 2024
End Date: Feb 7, 2029

Objective 1: Characterize turf germplasm diversity to enhance breeding for biotic and abiotic stress resistance. (NP215 C1, PS1D) Sub-objective 1A: Develop a SNP-based genetic linkage map of a creeping bentgrass x colonial bentgrass interspecific hybrid mapping population. Sub-objective 1B: Identify unique SNP markers in bentgrass suitable for use in cultivar identification strategies. Sub-objective 1C: Identify effective methods to utilize unique SNP markers to monitor/quantify bentgrass population transitioning under field conditions. Objective 2: Determine genetic mechanisms influencing turfgrass properties that would allow reduced management inputs. (NP215 C1, PS1D) Sub-objective 2A: Identify new sources of germplasm and associated alleles that result in enhanced drought tolerance and post-drought recovery. Sub-objective 2B: Identify new sources of germplasm and associated alleles that enhance dollar spot resistance. Sub-objective 2C: Identify new sources of germplasm and associated alleles controlling yield potential. Objective 3: Evaluate the impact of diverse plant germplasm (improved turfgrasses and alternative species) on urban ecosystem services. (NP215 C1, PS1D) Sub-objective 3 A: Determine turfgrass species suitable for the mid-Atlantic transition zone under different mowing frequencies.

Our project plan explores Genetic (G) x Environment (E) x Management (M) interactions by leveraging high-throughput genotyping and phenotyping technologies, including the development of an AI-enabled graphical user interface to identify genes/SNPs associated with traits of interest (abiotic and biotic stress, yield potential) for developing low input turf germplasm (Objective 1 and 2); and determining the impact of existing and improved turf germplasm on urban ecosystem services (Objective 3).