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    Downy brome (cheatgrass) is a highly successful, exotic, winter annual invader in semi-arid western North America, forming near-monocultures across many landscapes. A frequent but poorly understood phenomenon in these heavily invaded areas is periodic 'die-off' or complete stand failure. The fungal pathogen Pyrenophora semeniperda is abundant in cheatgrass seed banks and causes high mortality. To determine whether this pathogen could be responsible for stand failure, we quantified late spring seed banks in die-off areas and adjacent cheatgrass stands at nine sites. Seed bank analysis showed that this pathogen was not a die-off causal agent at those sites. We determined that seed bank sampling and litter data could be used to estimate time since die-off. Seed bank patterns in our recent die-offs indicated that the die-off causal agent does not significantly impact seeds in the persistent seed bank.

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    Baughman, Owen W.; Meyer, Susan E. 2013. Is Pyrenophora semeniperda the cause of downy brome (Bromus tectorum) die-offs? Invasive Plant Science and Management. 6: 105-111.


    cheatgrass, Great Basin, seed bank, seed pathogen, stand failure

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