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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Ibrahim, Tahir [1], Miriti, Maria [2], snow, Allison [3], Heaton, Emily [4], Mutegi, Evans [5], Bonin, Catherine [6], Palik, Destiny [5], Chang, Hsiaochi [5].

Relative competitive abilities among feral and cultivated biotypes of Miscanthus spp.:  implications for new biofuel cultivars.

Miscanthus sinensis and M. sacchariflorus are perennial, ornamental grasses native to Asia that are being developed as biofuel crops. The long-term ecological success of cultivating perennial grasses for biofuels hinges on how to avoid and mitigate inadvertent production of invasive biotypes. M. sinensis has become naturalized (“feral”) in at least 27 states and is considered problematic in some areas, while feral M. sacchariflorus occurs in at least 12 northern states and Canada, but rarely produces seeds. A triploid hybrid between these taxa, M x giganetus, is sterile, but a non-sterile hybrid, ‘Powercane’, has been evaluated for biofuel production. We established parallel common garden experiments in 2013 in Columbus, Ohio, and Ames, Iowa, to gain insight into the competitive ability of these taxa. The experiments include three feral accessions of M. sinensis from Ohio and West Virginia (Marietta, Williamstown, and Dallison), a horticultural variety of M. sinensis,  ‘Powercane’, and an accession of feral M. sacchariflorus from Ames, Iowa. Competition treatments consist of surrounding focal Miscanthus plants with three individuals of either native switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), weedy brome grass (Bromus inermis), or no competitor, using a randomized, complete block factorial design. Plots will be monitored for two growing seasons. After one growing season, we found significant differences among biotypes in the number of shoots per plant in both states. M. sacchariflorus, which was propagated asexually via rhizomes, flowered in both states; this species produced significantly fewer shoots than all other biotypes in Ohio, but was more similar to other biotypes in Iowa, where it occurs naturally.  All other biotypes were started from seed and also flowered in their first year.  In Ohio, the response to competition was highly significant (p=0.0006), with switchgrass reducing growth of feral plants. However, the horticultural strain was less affected by competition and this biotype produced significantly more shoots per plant than two of the feral populations (Williamstown and Marietta). In Iowa, Powercane produced significantly more shoots than the feral population from Dallison. The response to competition was not as strong in Iowa (p=0.05), again with P. virgatum reducing growth compared to no competition. These preliminary results suggest variation among Miscanthus biotypes can influence competitive outcomes. We anticipate that competitive effects of brome grass will be stronger in the second growing season. We will evaluate second year results to further examine the effects of competition on clonal spread and seed production in these taxa.

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1 - The Ohio State University , Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, 318 w 12th ave room 300, Columbus, Oh, 43210, USA
2 - Ohio State University, Room 300 Aronoff Laboratory, 318 W. 12th Avenue, Columbus, OH, 43210, USA
3 - Ohio State University, EEOB DEPT, 318 W. 12th Ave., COLUMBUS, OH, 43210-1293, USA
4 - Iowa State University, Agronomy, 1521 Agronomy Hall, Ames, IA, 50011, USA
5 - The Ohio State University , Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, 318 w 12th ave room 300, Columbus, Oh, 43210, United States
6 - Iowa State University, Agronomy, 1521 Agronomy Hall, Ames, IA, 50011, United States

Competative ability.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Topics
Session: P
Location: Eyrie/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PCB007
Abstract ID:653
Candidate for Awards:None

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