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Title: Advancing nursery production of big sagebrush seedlings: Cold storage and variation in subspecies growth

Author: Overton, Emily C.;

Date: 2012

Source: Moscow, ID: University of Idaho.33 p. Thesis.

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Big sagebrush is an essential component of shrub-steppe ecosystems that is rapidly disappearing from the landscape. Recognizing this, it has become a target of restoration; however, current efforts using direct seeding have shown variable success and planting seedlings may provide a better option. Nonetheless, limited information is available on the nursery production of big sagebrush seedlings. This thesis aims to 1) further refine the cold storage component of sagebrush seedling nursery culture, and 2) investigate seed source variation in Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis) seedlings. Chapter 1 was a two-part interdisciplinary study that 1) surveyed current cold storage practices in nurseries throughout the Western United States, and 2) compared freezer and cooler storage methods on seedling survival and growth after transplanting. Surveys revealed few nurseries use refrigerated storage, but those that did preferred cooler storage. In the comparison study, freezer storage reduced survival by 18%; however, growth results indicate using coolers and freezers were both effective methods of seedling storage. The survey and comparison studies both point to mold being problematic in cooler storage; therefore, freezer storage may be preferred when longer-term storage is needed. Chapter 2 investigated growth, total biomass, and net photosynthesis among Wyoming big sagebrush seedlings grown from 5 disparate seed sources in a common greenhouse environment. The objective was to determine if plasticity could be detected at the subspecies level. Evidence of phenotypic expression and genetic effects were detected in measurements of total growth and biomass allocation; yet, no consistent trend was observed among populations in measurements of net photosynthesis. These results suggest that there is a possibility of local adaptations in populations of Wyoming big sagebrush and this should be considered in restoration planning.

Keywords: Wyoming big sagebrush, Artemisia tridentata

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Overton, Emily C. 2012. Advancing nursery production of big sagebrush seedlings: Cold storage and variation in subspecies growth. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho.33 p. Thesis.


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