Skip to Main Content
Spectrophotometry of Artemisia tridentata to quantitatively determine subspeciesAuthor(s): Bryce A. Richardson; Alicia A. Boyd; Tanner Tobiasson; Matthew J. Germino
Source: Rangeland Ecology and Management. 71: 87-90.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
Download Publication (278.0 KB)
DescriptionEcological restoration is predicated on our abilities to discern plant taxa. Taxonomic identification is a first step in ensuring that plants are appropriately adapted to the site. An example of the need to identify taxonomic differences comes from big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata). This species is composed of three predominant subspecies occupying distinct environmental niches, but overlap and hybridization are common in ecotones. Restoration of A. tridentata largely occurs using wildland collected seed, but there is uncertainty in the identification of subspecies or mix of subspecies from seed collections. Laboratory techniques that can determine subspecies composition would be desirable to ensure that subspecies match the restoration site environment. In this study, we use spectrophotometry to quantify chemical differences in the water-soluble compound, coumarin. Ultraviolet (UV) absorbance of A. tridentata subsp. vaseyana showed distinct differences among A.t. tridentata and wyomingensis. No UV absorbance differences were detected between A.t. tridentata and wyomingensis. Analyses of samples from N 600 plants growing in two common gardens showed that UV absorbance was unaffected by environment. Moreover, plant tissues (leaves and seed chaff) explained only a small amount of the variance. UV fluorescence of water-eluted plant tissue has been used for many years to indicate A.t. vaseyana; however, interpretation has been subjective. Use of spectrophotometry to acquire UV absorbance provides empirical results that can be used in seed testing laboratories using the seed chaff present with the seed to certify A. tridentata subspecies composition. On the basis of our methods, UV absorbance values b 2.7 would indicate A.t. vaseyana and values N 3.1 would indicate either A.t. tridentata or wyomingensis. UV absorbance values between 2.7 and 3.1 would indicate a mixture of A.t. vaseyana and the other two subspecies.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationRichardson, Bryce A.; Boyd, Alicia A.; Tobiasson, Tanner; Germino, Matthew J. 2018. Spectrophotometry of Artemisia tridentata to quantitatively determine subspecies. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 71: 87-90.
Keywordsmixed-effect model, sagebrush, seed certification, ultraviolet fluorescence
- Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) communities: Ecology, importance and restoration potential
- Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) in a shifting climate context: Assessment of seedling responses to climate
- Transcriptome characterization and polymorphism detection between subspecies of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)
XML: View XML