Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) is an invasive annual grass that has colonized large portions of the Intermountain west. Cheatgrass stand failures have been observed throughout the invaded region, the cause of which may be related to the presence of several species of pathogenic fungi in the soil or surface litter. In this study, metagenomics was used to better understand and compare the fungal communities between sites that have and have not experienced stand failure. Samples were taken from the soil and surface litter in Winnemucca, Nevada and Skull Valley, Utah. Results show distinct fungal communities between Winnemucca and Skull Valley, as well as between soil and surface litter. In both the Winnemucca and Skull Valley surface litter, there was an elevated abundance of the endophyte Ramimonilia apicalis in samples that had experienced a stand failure. Winnemucca surface litter stand failure samples had increased abundance of the potential pathogen in the genus Comoclathris while the soils had increased abundance of the known cheatgrass pathogen Epicoccum nigrum. Skull Valley surface litter stand failure samples had increased abundance of the known cheatgrass pathogen Clarireedia capillus-albis while the soils had increased abundance of potential pathogens in the genera Olpidium and Monosporascus.
College and Department
Life Sciences; Plant and Wildlife Sciences
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Ricks, Nathan Joseph, "A Metagenomic Approach to Understand Stand Failure in Bromus tectorum" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 8549.
Bromus tectorum, metagenomics, stand failure