Bromus tectorum population root and shoot trait responses to differing substrate types

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Soil texture has important ramifications on the shape and size of roots as well as impacting how much water is taken up and the distribution of nutrients in the soil. These factors lead to differences in growth characteristics and plant performance. However, what traits and how the plant responds to the differences in soil characteristics differ by species and populations. Here we tested the impact of three different soil types (loam, sand, and Turface – small clay pellets) on the root and shoot growth of two populations of the invasive grass, Bromus tectorum. Loam soil had the greatest soil moisture content and held the most water. Sand and Turface held similar amounts of water and 60% less water than the loam soil. The two populations responded similarly to all soil types and traits measured. Plants were taller in loam soil and sand, whereas they were shortest in the Turface. Additionally, plants produced most lateral roots in soil where lateral root production in loam and Turface was similar. These results reinforce that properties of the substrate other than water content explains trait outcomes.

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  • 03/27/2020
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