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:

(Date:11/18/2015)... York , November 18, 2015 ... Research has published a new market report titled  Gesture ... Trends, and Forecast, 2015 - 2021. According to the report, ... 2014 and is anticipated to reach US$29.1 bn by ... 2021. North America dominated ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... Paris , qui s,est tenu ... Paris , qui s,est tenu du 17 au ... l,innovation biométrique, a inventé le premier scanner couplé, qui ... même surface de balayage. Jusqu,ici, deux scanners étaient nécessaires, ... digitales. Désormais, un seul scanner est en mesure de ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... , Nov. 17, 2015 Pressure BioSciences, Inc. ... the development and sale of broadly enabling, pressure cycling ... sciences industry, today announced it has received gross proceeds ... million Private Placement (the "Offering"), increasing the total amount ... or more additional closings are expected in the near ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... , President and CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, will be ... in New York . ... the website approximately 5 minutes prior to the presentation ... of the presentation will be available on the website ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... A long-standing ... Aerospace Professionals (OPBAP) has been formalized with the signing of a Memorandum of ... with OPBAP leaders Capt. Karl Minter and Capt. Albert Glenn Tuesday, November 24, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 25, 2015 ... Report is a professional and in-depth study on ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20141014/710132 ) , ... the industry including definitions, classifications, applications and industry ... for the international markets including development trends, competitive ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia , Nov. 24, 2015 ... the global contract research organisation (CRO) market. The ... to result in lower margins but higher volume ... With increased capacity and scale, however, margins in ... Contract Research Organisation (CRO) Market ( http://www.frost.com/sublib/display-report.do?id=P86A-01-00-00-00&src=PR ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: