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Provo Shrub Sciences Lab
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  • Provo Shrub Sciences Lab
  • 735 North 500 East
  • Provo, UT 84606-1856
  • (801) 356-5100
You are here: Provo Shrub Sciences Lab / People / Susan Meyer / Regeneration Biology

Regeneration Biology

Dr. Susan E. Meyer

Regeneration Biology of Native Intermountain Shrubs, Forbs, and Grasses

Related Publications

Collaborators:

Sagebrush and Rabbitbrush

Scott Walker, Utah DWR, Ephraim UT

Steve Monsen (retired), Shrub Sciences Lab, Provo UT

Stephanie Carlson, Shrub Sciences Lab, Provo UT

Antelope Bitterbrush

Dr. Rosemary Pendleton, RMRS, Albuquerque NM

Shadscale

Susan Garvin, Shrub Sciences Lab, Provo UT

Dr. David Nelson (retired), Shrub Sciences Lab, Provo UT

Stephanie Carlson, Shrub Sciences Lab, Provo UT

Blackbrush

Dr. Burton Pendleton, RMRS, Albuquerque NM

Janene Auger, University of Nevada-Reno, Reno NV

Penstemon

Stanley Kitchen, Shrub Sciences Laboratory, Provo UT

Dr. Phil Allen, Brigham Young University, Provo UT

We have spent much time and energy during the last fifteen years examining among-species and within-species differences in establishment strategy as a function of habitat at the site of seed origin, for a wide range of native species. As a byproduct of this process, we have learned how to propagate over 300 species of Utah native plants from seed. Some of this practical seed propagation information is available online at:

Woody Plant Seed Manual Website: wpsm.net

Utah Native Plant Society Website: www.unps.org

Studies on big sagebrush and rubber rabbitbrush over the years have been aimed primarily at learning how to direct-seed these species, especially on drastic disturbances such as mines. We have more recently worked on some more fundamental questions concerning the evolutionary ecology of rubber rabbitbrush.

Currently we are working on finishing up a long-term field study on blackbrush regeneration biology. It includes ten years of data on reproductive output at 15 sites as well detailed demographic data tracking the fate of the 1992 seedling cohort, the last cohort to successfully establish, at four contrasting study sites. This will be nicely complemented by the dissertation research of Janene Auger (with logistical support from the Shrub Sciences Laboratory), who is studying the ecology and behavior of the heteromyid rodents, primarily kangaroo rats, that are the principal blackbrush seed dispersers at Arches.

Our work with shadscale regeneration biology started over ten years ago with an effort to elucidate mechanisms of seed germination regulation in this reputedly hard-to-germinate species, as well as to follow its seed bank dynamics in the field. We have since shifted our attention to problems with seedling disease in shadscale. We now know how to get seedling emergence following direct seeding into disturbances on a regular basis, but the seedlings rarely if ever survive, especially in weed-infested sites. Preliminary evidence implicates facultatively saprophytic disease organisms, possibly of the genus Pythium, as the cause of this seedling death. Our working hypothesis is that the increase in organic matter in the surface soil that accompanies invasion by annual grass weeds such as cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) may act to increase the inoculum levels of these disease-causing organisms, thereby preventing shadscale recruitment from the persistent seed bank after stand loss.