January 1, 2010.
Invasive species can disrupt or alter the natural ecosystem function, composition, and diversity of an area. Veldt grass, (Ehrharta calycina), is an exotic species causing plant diversity in areas to decline. The hypothesis tested was that the Veldt grass individuals would show a response to a host-specific pathogen, Tilletia ehrhartae. This study was conducted at two locations Los Osos and Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge (GNDNWR) in California. We established four quadrats in Los Osos and six within GNDNWR using the nearest- neighbor method to collect infected/uninfected individuals of Veldt grass. All results were analyzed with t-tests and chi-squared statistics. Our results indicated no significance for an increase in vigor associated with escape from infection. However, our results were significant for stem height relative to infection status. Future work includes the effect of local seed predators and efficiency of co-germination.
California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly SLO)