Fungus helps tall fescue choke out native plants

HOUSTON, Aug. 29, 2005 New research by biologists at Rice University, Indiana University and George Mason University reveals how some non-native fescue grass gets a leg up over competing native plants: it's passed over by plant-eating insects and animals because its leaves are laced with toxic alkaloids, thanks to a symbiotic fungus that has co-evolved with the grass.

In a 54-month study conducted at Indiana University, scientists showed that 'tall fescue,' a common variety that is infected with the symbiotic fungus Neotyphodium coenophialum, tended to choke out uninfected fescue and native plant species. Tall fescue took over test plots much more quickly when herbivores had full access.

The research appears in the Aug. 30 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

"The practical implications of our findings are that the more herbivores there are in an area, the more likely it will be that infected tall fescue grass will spread and suppress native plants," said co-author Jennifer Rudgers, now an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Rice.

Fescue, which is native to the Mediterranean, covers an estimated 37 million U.S. acres. It is cultivated for grazing and is often used as turf grass on lawns, golf courses and highway rights-of-way. Ranchers do not typically cultivate tall fescue because the symbiotic fungus it carries, known as an endophyte, produces alkaloids that have negative health effects for livestock. It is estimated that 80 percent of U.S. fescue is endophyte-infected, and in some applications, like turf grass, it's the preferred variety.

Prior research on hereditary plant symbionts like the fescue endophyte have tended to look at plant-fungal pairings in isolation. Rudgers said she, post-doc advisor Keith Clay of Indiana University, and co-author Jenny Holah of George Mason University sought to get a more realistic picture of the ecological effects of symbiosis. <

Contact: Jade Boyd
Rice University

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Fungus-farming termites descend from an African rain forest Eve
2. Fungus-friendly scientists meet in Tucson
3. Fungus knocks a frog down but not out, raising questions about amphibian declines
4. Genetic variation helps to understand predisposition to schizophrenia
5. Link between sunspots, rain helps predict disease in east Africa
6. Taking a supplement of glycine helps prevent degenerative diseases such as arthrosis or osteoporosis
7. Progesterone therapy and preterm birth: More evidence helps identify women who can benefit
8. Nanotechnology helps scientists make bendy sensors for hydrogen vehicles
9. Preconditioning helps protect brains blood vessels from stroke
10. Manchester University helps with pharaoh DNA analysis
11. A spoonful of sugar helps your waistline go down

Post Your Comments:
TAG: Fungus helps tall fescue choke out native plants

(Date:9/30/2015)... Calif. , Sept. 30, 2015  With nearly ... the number of new SCIs estimated to reach 12,500 ... Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living ... ILCs in California opening doors ... range of programs and services, notably assistive technology services ...
(Date:9/29/2015)... SUNNYVALE, Calif. , Sept. 29, 2015 ... technology improves employee productivity while also saving energy ... features such as Low Power Active Mode and embedded ... workplace transformation Fujitsu today shows that ... of new and refreshed models to its enterprise desktop ...
(Date:9/28/2015)... Sept. 28, 2015  The monitoring of vital ... body temperature, is an essential component of patient ... of deterioration in a patient,s condition. However, in ... are typically taken during routine observation rounds only ... patient deteriorates between these observation rounds, the warning ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/8/2015)... ... 08, 2015 , ... Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic ... and results in dysfunction of the lungs and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. In ... is very difficult to clear, blocks the airways and the glands, and creates ...
(Date:10/7/2015)... ... 07, 2015 , ... Neil Riordan, PhD to Discuss Medicinal Effects of Mesenchymal ... Mar-a-Lago from 3:50 pm to 4:30 pm. , Dr. Riordan is one of the ... He is the Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer of the Riordan-McKenna Institute ...
(Date:10/7/2015)... 2015  ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: CTRV ) ... the development and commercialization of targeted antiviral therapies, today ... 5,000,000 shares of its common stock and warrants to ... stock at a fixed combined price to the public ... will be issued separately.  The warrants will be exercisable ...
(Date:10/7/2015)... Pa. , Oct. 7, 2015   VWR ... independent provider of laboratory products, services and solutions, ... Inc. (PTI), a specialty solvent company that performs ... This acquisition will enhance VWR,s growing laboratory and ... laboratory and biopharmaceutical manufacturing customers. Manuel ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: