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    Author(s): Martha A. Brabec
    Date: 2014
    Source: Boise, ID: Boise State University. 131 p. Thesis.
    Publication Series: Theses
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (2.99 MB)


    The loss of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) throughout the Great Basin Desert has motivated efforts to restore it because of fire and other disturbance effects on sagebrush-dependent wildlife and ecosystem function. Initial establishment is the first challenge to restoration, and appropriateness of seeds, climate, and weather variability are factors that may explain success or difficulties in big sagebrush restoration efforts. This project provided several ways of assessing climate responses of big sagebrush seedlings during the critical establishment phase post-fire. We evaluated eleven different seed sources of big sagebrush from all three subspecies, dissimilar climates-of-origin, and different ploidy levels to assess how subspecies, cytotype, and climate-of-origin affect initial establishment of sagebrush in a common garden study. We assessed ecophysiological-climate adaptation as it relates to seedling performance using a suite of dependent variables, including: survival, growth, water balance, photosynthesis, and threshold freezing responses. Results indicate the importance of minimum temperatures to seedling establishment, and reveal a gradient of physiological responses to freezing that inform big sagebrush adaptation and functional diversity.

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    Brabec, Martha A. 2014. Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) in a shifting climate context: Assessment of seedling responses to climate. Boise, ID: Boise State University. 131 p. Thesis.


    sagebrush, restoration, ecophysiology

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