Fire, Seeds and Pathogen Persistence
Cheatgrass dominance is tightly tied to its ability to increase the frequency of fire. These studies are aimed at understanding the impact of fire on both the cheatgrass seed bank and the resident pathogen population.
What it's about
What we did
What we found out
We have used laboratory studies on thermal tolerance of seeds and pathogen
well as seed bank evaluation in connection with prescribed burns and
understand the impacts of fire on the relationship between this pathogen and
seeds of its
Most cheatgrass seeds are destroyed by fire, but a small fraction usually escapes death. Most pathogen propagules are also destroyed, but the pathogen is even more resistant to heat than seeds. It returns to pre-burn levels rapidly once cheatgrass reestablishes.
Beckstead, J., Street LE, Meyer SE, Allen PS. In press. The effect of fire on the cheatgrass seed pathogen Pyrenophora semeniperda. Rangeland Ecology and Management.