Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-6-2016

Abstract

When construction began on the Drescher Graduate Campus, the need to preserve a rare native California grass saw the creation of a transplant garden. A perennial bunchgrass, Nassella pulchra (purple needlegrass), was replanted. Based on a hypothesis that Avena fatua (wild oats), a competitor, would have a greater health than the native grass Nassella pulchra, we measured stomatal conductance, fluorescence, evident fitness, and water potential. In our second hypothesis, we proposed that the naturally occurring Nassella pulchra would have a higher stomatal conductance, a higher fluorescence, a higher water potential, and overall higher fitness than the transplanted Nassella pulchra. After measuring a variety of factors for each grouping of the plants, the data show a significant difference in the health and fitness of the transplanted Nassella pulchra and the Avena fatua. The comparison of the naturally occurring Nassella pulchra with the transplanted sample shows significant difference in stomatal conductance, water potential, height, and evident fitness. The Avena fatua proved to have success in proliferating causing the population of Nassella pulchra to decline, but did not have a significant greater health when compared to the transplanted Nassella pulchra. The wild Nassella pulchra data indicated a greater health than the transplanted Nassella pulchra, in addition to a greater fitness. We conclude that human impact on the environment, as well as severe drought and competition for resources have caused a transplanted species of purple needlegrass to suffer a decline in health and population.

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