Pathogen Community Ecology Nontarget Host Impacts

Because our pathogen is a generalist that can potentially kill seeds of many different kinds of plants, especially other grasses, it is important to understand how it operates in a community context, and not just in terms of cheatgrass.

Keith and Suzette apply fungicide           Susan plants seeds              Stephanie inoculates

glossarySusan plants native seedsKeith and Suzette apply fungicide"water pillow" adds measured amount of waterStephanie adds inoculum
Katie and Heather lay out an experiment
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What it's about

What we did

What we found out

We have carried out a variety of experiments to examine how our pathogen affects seeds of many species, both at high inoculum loads in the laboratory and under more natural field conditions. We have also looked at how it interacts with other microorganisms.

We have confirmed that the pathogen has a wide host range in laboratory inoculation experiments at artificially high inoculum loads. In experiments under field inoculum loads, its impacts on native seed survival and seedling emergence are measurable but generally not large.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Julie Beckstead
Co-PI: Dr. Susan Meyer
Technical Support: Stephanie Carlson, Suzette Clement, Abbey Shuster, Bettina Schultz
Students:  Kelly Bergen, Trevor Davis, Sandra Dooley, Heather Finch, Katie Merrill

Beckstead J, Meyer SE, Connolly BM, Huck MB, and Street LE. 2010. Cheatgrass facilitates spillover of a seed bank pathogen onto native grass species. J. Ecology 98:168–177.

Dooley, SR and Beckstead, J. 2010. Characterizing the interaction between a fungal seed pathogen and a deleterious rhizobacteria for cheatgrass control. Biological Control 53: 197-203.

Katie and Heather
lay out an experiment

A "water pillow" applies a measured amount of water to the plot