Date of Award:

2016

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Watershed Sciences

Advisor/Chair:

Karen M. Kettenring

Abstract

A primary goal of ecological restoration is to establish desirable plant species. This goal is particularly important following the removal of invasive plants. Understanding biological traits of plant species important to revegetation is crucial to plant establishment. In the globally important Great Salt Lake (GSL) wetlands, native habitat-forming bulrushes Bolboschoenus maritimus, Schoenoplectus acutus, and S. americanus are frequently displaced by the invasive grass Phragmites australis. Successful revegetation of bulrushes relies on improving our understanding of seed dormancy break, seed germination requirements, and the environmental factors affecting rhizome emergence and growth. We used a series of germination chamber and greenhouse experiments to examine effective seed dormancy break treatments and germination conditions for multiple collection sites of bulrushes B. maritimus, S. acutus, and S. americanus. We also performed a greenhouse experiment to investigate how water depth, nutrient, and salinity levels affect B. maritimus and S. acutus emergence and growth from rhizomes. Cold, moist stratification and bleach scarification were effective dormancy break treatments for all species, though magnitude of effect varied by species and source site. Soaking the seeds after application of dormancy break treatments improved germination for all species. Rhizome emergence of S. acutus was negatively affected by high water depth, likely due to oxygen limitation. Bolboschoenus maritimus was salinity tolerant relative to S. acutus. GSL wetland managers can use these findings to improve revegetation projects via seeding and planting.

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