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Ecological effects of feral biofuel crops in constructed oak savannah communities
Watrud, L., Mike Bollman, EHenry Lee, J. Reichman, B. Smith, AND G. King. Ecological effects of feral biofuel crops in constructed oak savannah communities. Presented at 7th International Symposium on Molecular Breeding of Forage and Turf, Salt Lake City, UT, June 04 - 07, 2012.
Abstract for 7th International Symposium on Molecular Breeding of Forage and Turf, Salt lake City, UT June 4-7-2012
The effects of elevated temperatures and drought on constructed oak savannahs were studied to determine the interactive effects of potentially invasive feral biofuel species and climate change on native grassland communities. A total of 12 sunlit mesocosm were used. Each mesocosm held three tubs. One had six native plant species; one had five native species with the annual crop Sorghum bicolor and one had five native species along with the weedy perennial Sorghum halepense. The experimental treatments were ambient (control), elevated temperature, drought, or a combination of elevated temperature and drought. Total aboveground biomass of the community was greatest in the control and drought treatments, lowest with elevated temperature + drought, and intermediate in high temperature treatments (P<0.0001). Sorghum species produced significantly less biomass than the native grass species (P< 0.05). S. bicolor seed biomass was greatest under elevated temperature and lowest in the elevated temperature + drought treatment (P=0.0002). Neither of the Sorghum species significantly affected active soil bacterial biomass. Active bacterial biomass was lowest in the drought and elevated temperature and drought treatments (P<0.05). Active soil fungal biomass was highest in the tubs containing S. bicolor. Percent total carbon in the soil increased between 2010 and 2011 (P=0.0054); it was lowest in the elevated temperature and drought mesocosms (P<0.05). Longer term studies are needed to evaluate impacts of climate factors on potential invasiveness of feral biofuel crops, plant and microbial biomass, abundance and diversity in native plant communities.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY
WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION