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Abstract Detail


Morrison, Glen R [1], Questad, Erin J [2].

The effects of elevated soil phosphorus and nitrogen on the health and reproduction of African fountain grass, Pennisetum setaceum.

Pennisetum setacuem (Forssk.) Chiov., commonly known as African fountain grass, is a perennial C4 bunchgrass native to Africa. The species is widely naturalized or invasive outside of its native range and is commonly found growing in habitats with characteristically high soil phosphorus availability. While fountain grass shows increased growth under nitrogen addition and increased flowering under mixed-nutrient fertilization, no previous research has directly tested the effects of elevated soil phosphorus on fountain grass. We used a nutrient addition greenhouse experiment to test the effects of elevated availability of both phosphorus and nitrogen independently and in combination. Plants treated with nitrogen grew faster and larger, had higher chlorophyll fluorescence, flowered earlier and produced more inflorescences than plants not treated with nitrogen, while plants treated with phosphorus showed no significant differences in the measured characteristics from plants not treated with phosphorus. Because we found no evidence that fountain grass strongly responds to phosphorus addition, we suggest that the affinity of fountain grass to habitats of characteristically high phosphorus availability may be coincidental or reflective of other similar characteristics between these habitats, Our results corroborate the increased growth of fountain grass under nitrogen addition found by other investigators and suggest that nitrogen may have mostly driven the effects of mixed-nutrient additions seen in previous investigations. This additional evidence that fountain grass strongly benefits from elevated nitrogen availability has possible implications for land managers seeking to prevent or mitigate the spread of fountain grass in wildlands, for whom it may prove a prudent strategy to prioritize management of fountain grass in habitats known to have high nitrogen availability.

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1 - California State Polytechnic University Pomona, 3801 W. Temple, Pomona, CA, 91768, USA
2 - California State Polytechnic University Pomona, 3801 W. Temple, Pomona, CA, 91768, United States

fountain grass
invasive species

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Ecology
Location: Exhibit Hall/Omni Hotel
Date: Monday, June 26th, 2017
Time: 5:30 PM This poster will be presented at 6:15 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: PEC014
Abstract ID:313
Candidate for Awards:Ecological Section Best Undergraduate Presentation Award

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