Basic and applied research are conducted on the physiology and ecology of rangeland and pasture plants; the effects of environmental stress on seedling establishment, forage production, and persistence; forage legume nitrogen fixation; and plant germplasm collection. This research contributes to the development of improved cultivars and germplasms for conservation and animal production on semi-arid rangelands and pastures of the Western United States.
This project addresses the following objectives related to rangelands and pastures of the Western United States:
- Determine the basic physiological and ecological responses of important rangeland and pasture plants and quantify the effects of environmental stress on their establishment, production, water-use efficiency, and persistence.
- Develop practical selection techniques for screening grass and legume breeding populations for resistance to environmental stress, particularly drought.
- Conduct interdisciplinary research to develop improved cultivars and germplasms of grasses and legumes for use by land managers.
- Examine the symbiotic relationships of important legume-Rhizobiumcombinations for enhanced nitrogen fixation.
- Collect and evaluate seeds of important perennial forage species in the U.S. and overseas for use in breeding programs focused on resource conservation, animal production, and reduced-input turf applications.
This research will provide critical information concerning key selection criteria and methods for isolating superior grass and legume germplasm for use on rangelands and pastures in the Western United States. Seeds collected in the Western United States and overseas will provide important breeding materials that will lead to the release of improved cultivars and germplasms of important perennial grasses and legumes for enhancing productivity, conserving natural resources, and providing reduced-input turf grasses for the Western United States.