Seed Vulnerability to Pathogen Attack

The goal of this project is to understand how cheatgrass seeds become vulnerable to pathogen attack. We know that fast-germinating, nondormant seeds are more likely to escape death than dormant seeds, but how seeds interact with the pathogen under different environmental conditions is largely unknown.


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What we did

What we found out

What it's about

We are using laboratory experiments with inoculated seeds to examine the ability of the pathogen to infect and kill nondormant cheatgrass seeds under different temperature and water potential (moisture) scenarios.

We have learned that the pathogen is able to infect and kill seeds under temperature and water potential scenarios that slow or suppress the germination of nondormant seeds. Pathogen stromata appear on these seeds soon after they are returned to optimal germination conditions.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Susan Meyer
Co-PI's: Dr. Julie Beckstead, Dr. Phil Allen
Student:  Heather Finch

Beckstead, J.; Meyer, S.E.; Molder, C.; Smith, C. 2007. A race for survival: Can Bromus tectorum seeds escape Pyrenophora semeniperda-caused mortality by germinating quickly? Annalsof Botany 99:907-914.