Submitted to: Research Insights in Semiarid Ecosystems Symposium
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/8/2006
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Both abiotic and biotic factors impact the plant populations of semiarid and arid ecosystems. As we learn more about how microbial populations within these ecological communities impact plant lifecycles, it becomes apparent that preservation and restoration of native plant communities might in part rely on establishing or reestablishing the microbial inhabitants of native plants. Fungi play a crucial role in many ecological processes. Despite this, fungal diversity and function within natural habitats are poorly defined. Within native grasses, fungal endophytes are ubiquitous, suggesting mutualistic or symbiotic relationships that might strengthen the ability of these grasses to survive under adverse conditions. We are interested in the plant-microbe(s) interactions that are present in the native grass Bouteloua eriopoda, (black grama), in a rangeland environment, and are using fungal specific oligonucleotide primers and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to help identify fungal endophytes that closely associate with this grass. Our interest is to characterize the extent of the plant-fungal interaction and to study the persistence of specific fungi across the B. eriopoda community.