Previous study of the fitness of California, perennial N. pulchra was conducted at the transplant garden on the Drescher campus of Pepperdine University in the spring of 2016. A follow up study was conducted to understand how the recent increase in rainfall has affected the comparative health of N. pulchra in the transplant garden and in the wild, as well as the health of the invasive, annual grass A. fatua. The height, water potential, photoprotection, and stomatal conductance were measured in transplant N. pulchra, wild N. pulchra, and the competing A. fatua. It was hypothesized that A. fatua would exhibit greater fitness, having higher measurements in all categories. As predicted, A. fatua had a higher relative fitness than both the transplant and wild N. pulchra, as indicated by significantly higher stomatal conductance. Comparison of research also revealed an overall increase in plant growth from the previous year’s drought. The findings demonstrate the impact of competitive invasive species on the growth of a struggling native species.
Palmer, Grace; Pandey, Yash; and Panos, Isabelle, "Comparative Fitness of Transplanted Nassella Pulchra: a Study of Native and Invasive Grasses" (2017). Pepperdine University, Featured Research. Paper 183.