Abstract Detail


Berner, Rachel [1].

Investigating the Impacts of Drought and Invasion on Biological Soil Crusts, Arbuscular Mycorrhizae, and Dark Septate Endophytic Fungi to Inform Restoration in a Semiarid Grassland.

Semiarid grassland ecosystems such as the endangered Palouse Prairie of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho are threatened by climate change as drought frequency is projected to increase. I am investigating whether drought and invasion by annual grass Ventenata dubia impact biocrusts, arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM), and dark septate endophyte (DSE) fungal community composition and function. My aims are to 1) quantify change in the cover and composition of biocrusts after V. dubia invasion using a field survey, 2) determine if AM fungi and DSE fungi community function persists under biocrusts compared to bare soil following invasion by V. dubia in a colonization potential assay, and 3) evaluate changes in fungal and bacterial community composition through molecular sequencing. I predict that with invasion, cover, and diversity of biocrusts decreases, AM fungi and DSE fungi communities decrease in diversity and function due to loss of native plant hosts, and that biocrusts stabilize AM and DSE communities in transitional and invaded communities compared to bare soil due to their influence on soil water and nutrient content. If soil community function is decreased by drought and V. dubia invasion, it may be necessary to develop methods to actively restore these communities and improve the success of native plant survival under drought and V. dubia invasion in the Palouse Prairie.

1 - Washington State University, 2710 Crimson Way, Richland, WA, 99354, United States

Ventenata dubia
Biological Soil Crust
arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
plant-soil interactions
Dark Septate Endophyte
Semiarid Grassland.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: 0003
Abstract ID:882
Candidate for Awards:Ecological Section Best Graduate Student Paper

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